The Clayoquot Biosphere Trust's executive director Rebecca Hurwitz and board co-chairs Tammy Dorward and Cathy Thicke are excited about this year's Call for Projects.

The Clayoquot Biosphere Trust's executive director Rebecca Hurwitz and board co-chairs Tammy Dorward and Cathy Thicke are excited about this year's Call for Projects.

Clayoquot Biosphere Trust calling out for community projects

“It’s the CBT’s main mechanism for supporting public organizations in our region."

It’s the time of the season for funding.

The Clayoquot Biosphere Trust is accepting applications for its largest annual granting cycle.

The CBT’s Call for Projects will see roughly $60,000 infused into local projects that boost community development, culture, events, education, research and the environment.

“The CBT is looking for projects that address issues at our community and regional scale. We have identified a lot of trends and challenges in the vital signs report that communities are organizations and the CBT can work together to address,” she said. “We also want to support community celebrations and community events and youth programs. We want to increase the quality of life on the West Coast.  sometimes thats through addressing issues and, sometimes, that’s through creating opportunities to bring people together.”

This is the CBT’s 15th annual Call for Projects event that has been a key resource for financing strategies that address local issues at a grassroots level.

“It’s the CBT’s main mechanism for supporting public organizations in our region,” said CBT Executive Director Rebecca Hurwitz.

“We know our own needs best and we know our own resources best and so our organizations and communities are best able to work at the local level.”

Grants are available to local charities, educational institutions and governments and are capped at a maximum of $8,000.

“It’s always exciting to see what new partnerships and solutions are presented in response to our local challenges and opportunities,” Hurwitz said adding projects should be close to shelf-ready.

“We want to see projects that are set to succeed…We require that projects are clear on their objectives and the partners that their working with and the resources that they need to carry out the project, but we also understand that sometimes there are other pieces that are still coming into position.”

Last year’s Call for Projects dished out grants to 23 local initiatives and Hurwitz said a similar number is expected to be dispersed this year though she noted whittling the list of applications down is a perennial challenge.

“The CBT has heard from some organizations that it’s difficult to carry out projects if they don’t receive full funding, so we’re hoping to support projects to the greatest extent based on realistic budgets,” she said. “It’s hard work to prioritize which projects will receive funding and it’s important to provide enough funding for programs to be effective and achieve their outcomes.”

Applications are selected by volunteer advisory committees who make recommendations to the CBT.

“They are totally switched on to living in our communities. What are our realities? What are our issues? What does it cost to run some of these events and programs? So, we feel like we’ve got the right people reviewing the projects and the budgets,” Hurwitz said.

The annual Call for Projects gives the CBT a solid view of the issues local organizations and governments are working to address, as well as their strategies to address them, and Hurwitz said local leaders are getting stronger at identifying and articulating regional needs and are collaborating well on mutual issues and projects.

“Each year we receive a large number of projects that hit our issue areas and local needs,” she said.

“I definitely feel like there’s a great response, undoubtedly. There’s new projects that come forward and then there are projects that are learning and growing each year and changing.

“We’re seeing more partnerships, especially between charitable organizations, local governments and First Nations, which is exciting to me.”

The deadline for applications to the Call for projects program is February 20. Anyone seeking additional information on how to apply is encouraged to visit www.clayoquotbiosphere.org.

The CBT’s granting efforts stem from a $12 million endowment fund gifted to it by the federal government in 2000.

Despite entering its 17th year of lifting local initiatives through various funding opportunities, Hurwitz assured there is no fear of the CBT’s community-building coffers running dry.

“That is not a fear because we only spend the interest. We don’t spend that principal of the grant and, in fact, we’re making sure that the original contribution is keeping up with the rate of inflation,” she said.

“The current value of the endowment fund is over $17 million.”