This is a full-circle year for the Quesnel Community Foundation (QCF).
The organization is about to embrace, as most in the city will, the coming of the 2024 Lhtako Quesnel BC Winter Games. It was the 2000 edition of these same Games that provided the legacy fund that started the foundation in the first place.
Today it is one of northern B.C.’s premier endowment fund organizations. It collects and holds money in perpetuity, spinning off annual contributions to worthy local causes. As eggs are added to their nest, the more the benefits flow to the community. Some of the grants they give are dedicated to specific topics, a lot of the giving they do is in the form of scholarships and bursuries to students, and they do a number of fundraisers which are themselves community builders, but all of their giving stays in Quesnel.
A new board has been established for the coming year. After the pandemic jolt that masked the now all too apparent babyboomer retirement jolt, it is a board facing into some winds no past board ever has, and president Bob Salmons is excited by who he sees around the table.
“Two of our long-time board members had timed out. You can only be on the board for six years, and Mary Sjostrom and Doug Service had reached that limit, and both of those were big loses to the board. I had some concerns. But I’m very pleased with the people we’ve brought on,” Salmons said.
The QCF lost those two, but brought in five.
“I think it is a very diverse group,” said Sjostrom, a former QCF president. “We were looking for some with experience, some without experience, that could meld and help move the organization forward. It is a very gender-balanced group. I think they will be quite successful.”
She and Salmons agreed that one of the foundation’s priorities had to be uncovering new ways to attract donors, to complement the core base of funders who were already on board with the foundation.
“Everything is changing, the world is changing, Quesnel is changing, and we have to make sure that our plans fit with the way things are going,” Salmons said.
One of the suggestions made by experienced board members was the need for a QCF on-boarding effort, to orient any new board members quickly, so their skills and networks could be put to use more quickly than before. That advice was heeded for these new five.
After that it is a matter of embracing and encouraging the giving that lives in the hearts of Quesnel community members, businesses, and organizations.
“I thought I knew Quesnel, the first year I joined the board,” said Salmons. “I was surprised at the great work going on by the organizations applying for grants that I wasn’t even aware of. It’s pretty exciting to support those initiatives, with what they are doing for the community, and it isn’t always big money. Just a couple of thousand dollars for some organizations can make a huge difference, and that really impacts Quesnel.”
The new board consists of Salmons, Sandra Lewis, Kathy Summerville, Candace Gibbs, Mike Hayman, treasurer Laurie Rice, Vanessa Salmons, Jim Gorsline, vice-president Graeme Armstrong, Bruce Broughton, secretary Bob Lebeck and Bob Norman.