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CFOW announces 2015 grant recipients

Sea to sky INvasive species council one of 30 recipients this year
in the field The Sea to Sky Invasive Species Council will receive nearly $30,000 in grant funding from the Community Foundation of Whistler for its work this year. photo submitted

For the Sea to Sky Invasive Species Council (SSISC), keeping the weeds at bay is a never-ending battle.

"It really is, but we are making headway at some sites," said Clare Greenberg, executive director of the SSISC.

"I was just out last week with two of our field crew and we were monitoring some of our sites that we've been treating for the last three years, and we're starting to see sites where nothing is coming back now, so we're finally seeing some successes."

While you have to use the word successes sparingly when talking invasive species — "you can have no regress one year but then next year you have two shoots come back up," Greenberg said — having proper funding helps ensure those successes are more frequent.

That's where the Community Foundation of Whistler (CFOW) comes in.

This year, the SSISC was the recipient of three CFOW grants totalling nearly $30,000.

The money will be used for everything from on-the-ground fieldwork to training and education.

"The really key thing is that most of our other funding is tied to particular properties or particular jurisdictions," Greenberg said.

For example, funding from the provincial Ministry of Transportation would only apply to areas along the highway, Greenberg said.

"Whereas the money from the Community Foundation, we can use it at our discretion according to what we think is the highest priority site," she said. "So we can be a lot more strategic with what we're doing."

All told, there were 30 grants given out this year for a total of over $150,000.

Other recipients include Zero Ceiling, Whistler Adaptive Sports Program, the Rotary Club of Whistler and the Get Bear Smart Society, to name just a few.

The grants are divided up into different categories and dispersed through an application process.

"What really makes us unique is the fact that these grants are all generated from endowment funds, so it's a permanent resource for the community," said Carol Coffey, executive director of the CFOW.

"Every year those endowment funds are invested, and every year they generate interest and that interest goes back to the community, so it's like a sustainable source of funding. It's benefiting the community this year and next year and forever."

And the different categories allow for some diverse funding options.

The CFOW funds everything from community and environmental programs to social initiatives.

There's also flexibility to ensure the funds go where they're needed most.

"We did a community needs assessment about two years ago and identified mental health as a priority need in the community," Coffey said.

"The youth suicide prevention program is an example of one of the grants that was selected this year."