Success Stories


Our grants and funds tackle poverty and health issues, affordable housing, seniors’ programs, children and youth, environment, the arts and much more.

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Cortes Literacy/FolkU

In collaboration with Cortes Literacy and Folk University, the Cortes Island Community Foundation has been working to support island-wide community literacy programming. We have supported weekly neighbour-led learning sessions (FolkU Fridays), the Cortes Book Club, a writing workshop series in partnership with Vancouver Island Regional Library, and exciting one-off workshops on journalism, cooking, and more! Stay tuned for more learning opportunities to come.


Live Music

In partnership with FolkU and Cortes Community Radio (CKTZ), the Cortes Island Community Foundation supported a weekly live music series at our island’s Friday farmer’s market. Performed to a live audience and simultaneously broadcast on CKTZ from the Village Commons tent, this event series ran for 9 weeks and hosted 17 local musicians.

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. In 2023, with the help of our amazing community cultivators, the CICF was able to give out over $180,000 to community memeber on Cortes who are in acute financial need!

Cortes Island Academy

The Cortes Island Academy (CIA) is a program of School District 72 in collaboration with Cortes Island Community Foundation, Folk University, and the people of Cortes Island. The program began in 2022 and offers two quarters (10 weeks each) of immersive, experiential, project-based learning on Cortes Island. These offerings will be overseen by SD72 teachers and staff with local facilitators, mentors, and knowledge holders to ensure that the program truly represents the unique talents, opportunities, and natural offerings of Cortes Island.  The CIA pilot program demonstrates SD72’s commitment to improving student achievement, building a culture of learning and wellness, and honouring Indigenous world views and perspectives.

2023 MicroGrants

The MicroGrants 4 Neighbours program gets small amounts of money (usually $50 to $500) directly into the hands of neighbours doing important things for the community. This program developed out of Cortes Literacy’s seed grant program in partnership with Folk University. In 2023 we were able to fund 13 different projects surrounding the theme of youth empowerment, which means prioritizing projects that are youth-led or youth serving. Our 2023 MicroGrants for Neighbours was supported by The Campbell River Foundation, Decoda Literacy, Neighbourhood Small Grants and The Cortes Island School. 

Please consider a tax-deductible donation to the MicroGrants 4 Neighbours Fund.

Learn more and get inspired by watching the video below made by Immanuel McKenty.

Grants, Grants and More Grants!

Over the past 2 years our small community foundation has granted over $160,000 into our community. We participated in the Canada Emergency Recovery Fund grant and the Gender Equity grant. Each year we hope to grow our community granting program to help financially support our communities organizations.

The Launch of our Social Profit Network

The Cortes Island Community Foundation has been working over the past few years to create a network to provide support to our islands many Social Profit organizations (which is over 30!). With this network we hope to provide support by helping to compile useful resources, develop funds & provide philanthropic tools. In 2023 we hosted our 2nd in-person gathering. Watch the video to learn more about the network and click here to read about past gatherings. 

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 or if you would like to get involved or offer insight. 

Presentation by Bruce Haden

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