What is the Giving Well?

The Cortes Island Community Foundation has been chosen to participate in a one-time experiment in low-barrier, direct giving to our Cortes community. This Giving Well program provides one-time, cash “gifts” to individuals. They never have to be paid back. We do not need receipts of how the cash was spent. There are no strings attached. The amount, typically between $5,000 to $10,000, isn’t taxable and is considered a gift

Please see our FAQ’s

Why is the CICF doing this?

We believe that listening into the deep needs of our community creates a healthier more vibrant ecosystem of care. Care that is the fabric that creates resilience, understanding and more connection. In this case, that may mean an infusion of a little extra cash at just the right time. This program is looking to support individuals and families in acute financial need; namely those who are:  

  • from a vulnerable community such as: 
    • youth 
    • elderly 
    • single-parent 
    • indigenous, visible minority, female, or other under-represented, vulnerable sector; 
  • OR
  • individuals for whom this gift can give a leg-up in some way to provide essential value to the community at large 

    When is this program occurring?

    The deadline to apply for receiving a gift in Spring 2024 will be late Winter.   

    How do I apply?

    If your application is chosen, you will be contacted and arrangements will be made to send the gift directly to your bank account. Should you not have a bank account we will look at other pathways to grant your gift. We have a team of highly trusted community cultivators engaged to help with this process and the Community Foundation EA, Bella, is available to support both you and them. 

    What do I need to do in return?

    The nature of a gift is that nothing is required in return. If you are inspired to tell your story about how a Giving Well gift helped you, your family, or a loved one, we’d love to hear about it. This could be in the form of a letter, a written story, or sharing orally with a cultivator or Bella. You can do this anonymously or personally. The stories that emerge from experience such as this may illuminate insights or learnings about this community of ours that could assist in how we focus various efforts at the Cortes Community Foundation. The power of story also helps us to show our supporters the impact their generous donations make in the lives of our community. If you prefer to stay quiet, that is absolutely okay too. 

    The Role of the Community Cultivator 

    At the Cortes Island Community Foundation, we believe that granting and gifting works best when it’s relational and trust-based. That means having a direct and personal relationship with the person or organization receiving the money and that whenever we are giving, whether a grant or a gift, that it is done in a way that reflects that we trust the group or individual to know what is best for them, to do with the resources what they say they will, and that if changes are made, we trust that it is because those changes were for the best. 

    The community cultivators are the face of these relationships for the Giving Well pilot project. These individuals will help represent individual and wider community needs, work as a group to make decisions on who will receive the gifts, facilitate successful giving to those individuals with support from CICF staff, and will help with follow-up. 

    The 2023 Giving Well Project Community Cultivators are: 

    Dana Solomon

    Dana Bass Solomon has lived on Cortes Island for 23 years. She has served on several non profit boards and cares about supporting people and community.

    Contact here. 

    Brenda Hanson

    Brenda was born & raised in Powell River BC. She spent multiple years in Vancouver until she relocated to Vancouver Island. She loves animals, music & singing. She is from the Klahoose First Nation

    Email here

    or call at 778-585-5259

    Ester Strijbos

    Ester Strijbos is passionate about supporting our community so everyone has equal access to services that they need in order to thrive.

    Email here

    or call 250-204-2116

    Desta Beattie

    It takes a village! Desta is a local mama who helps to cultivate concentric circles of support around island children and families. She believes resilient families are the beating heart of a vibrant community.

    Contact here.

    Several big announcements were made and a robust list of collaborators were present on February 1st, for an update on the development of the land that is known as the ‘Village Commons’ in Mansons Landing. The meeting had about 36 attendants, including 6 people that virtually attended via zoom. The evening of presentations had a strong theme of collaboration and neighborhood togetherness.

    Cora Monet introduced the night and warmly welcomed all attendees. Manda Aufochs Gillespie then spoke on behalf of the Cortes Island Community Foundation (CICF) by announcing that in January of 2023, the Foundation was offered to take over the stewardship of the Village Commons, from the Cortes Community Economic Development Association (CCEDA). The land came with an established trail system, hydro, and the possibility of $907k worth of grants to continue into ‘Phase One’ of development. These grants came from Destination Development Fund (DDF), Rural Economic Diversification & Infrastructure Program (REDIP) and Island Costal Economic Trust (ICET).

    CICF has hired architect Bruce Haden, who offered a thorough presentation on the South island scene and simple design for the Village Commons. He broke down the region into the 5 ‘L’s; The Loop, the Lake, the Lane, the Lagoon, and the Landing.

    Richard Andrews has lived on Cortes for 23 years and is the general contractor for Phase One Development of the Village Commons. He also just completed the Mansons Hall deck renovations, which were funded by the Healthier Communities Grant. The development is slated to begin now until October 31st, 2024.  

     Phase one of the Village Commons development will include a Welcome Pole, carved by local indigenous artist, Ernie Puglas, a covered outdoor pavilion, containers for storage/commercial vending, and a shared social profit work space. The CICF is also supporting the SCCA to make the Manson's Hall parking lot more effective and functional.

    Cora Moret spoke on behalf of the Southern Cortes Community Association to discuss the enhancements completed and eminently planned for the exterior of Mansons Hall. The new deck for the hall is now complete. Further fireproofing is planned and already funded for the exterior of the Hall. 

    Sadhu Johnston also spoke at the event to announce plans for the Cortes Housing Society (CHS) and the Fire Department. He is the Executive Director of CHS, and confirmed that the society has submitted a more robust, third application to BC Housing in hopes to fund the Rainbow Ridge project. Johnston is also the President of the Fire Department, and was enthusiastic to share plans to improve the island’s ability to fight fires and prepare for emergencies. 

    Several community members were acknowledged for their contributions thus far to a multifaceted journey in growing the usefulness of this downtown area. Kate Maddigan, Tammy Collingwood, Matt Cuscianna, Isabella McKnight, Andrea Fisher, and Sandra Wood were all thanked for their work on these efforts.  

    Project designs blur the property lines between several community owned plots, creating more flow and capacity to support popular events like the Friday Market. An extra parking near the skatepark was recently completed to help facilitate this community flow. Ideas for future phases were also discussed such as a bathhouse with showers and laundry, as well as a youth center.

    Neighbours were encouraged to sign up for updates and to engage in future conversations. Please reach out to outreach@cortesfoundation.ca or manda@cortesfoundation.ca if you would like to get involved or offer insight. 

    Presentation by Bruce Haden

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