The Clayoquot Biosphere Trust has dished out much-needed funding to the local organizations that keep our Coast’s communities and ecosystems thriving
The trust recently awarded $71,525 to 23 local initiatives as part of its 14th annual Call for Projects granting program.
“We have a lot of excellent organizations who are focused on working together to make this a great place to live,” CBT executive director Rebecca Hurwitz told the Westerly News.
“I’m excited about the Call for Projects because it gives us an opportunity to partner with local organizations and communities to meet our shared mandates and, I think, we’re seeing the improvement in the health of individuals, communities and ecosystems as a result of the projects being delivered.”
A full run down of recipients can be found at the trust’s website: www.clayoquotbiosphere.org.
The annual Call for Projects is the CBT’s largest granting event of the year and this year’s program saw over $145,000 worth of grant applications come in. Applications are separated into four categories—research and environment, culture and events, community development, and youth and education—and volunteer advisory committees review each one before making recommendations to the CBT’s board, which makes the final decisions.
“It is always heartwarming to see the applications. It’s as close as it gets to Christmas at the CBT,” Hurwitz said. “It’s exciting because it’s all folks from the communities coming forward with ideas on how they would like to make our region a better place to live and work.”
The CBT began with a $12 million endowment from the federal government in 2000 and, thanks to savvy investing, the fund has grown to $16 million despite roughly $175,000 being dished out each year to local programs and projects, according to Hurwitz.
“It’s definitely a healthy fund,” she said. “We have a conservative investment portfolio and, especially because we’re a fossil fuel free, we just don’t see high fluctuations in the value of the fund. It’s more of a slow steady climb. It’s important for us to not only be keeping up with the cost of inflation but exceeding it so we can use that income to support local grants.”
She said the trust has been free of fossil fuel investments for the past four years.
“Being a biosphere reserve is about sustainable development so we want to meet that mandate locally, but it’s also important that we’re good global citizens so we want to make sure we’re using the funds in a way that’s appropriate around the world,” she said.
She said keeping the fund healthy allows the CBT to continue supporting important local initiatives.
“There’s so much good work going on in our region and so many people who are invested in having sustainable thriving lives out here, so it’s important to support all our community organizations to see that through,” she said.
“We know that we have a lot of non-profits and charities in our region and not only are they really driving the social, cultural and environmental health of the region, they’re also contributing to the economic health.”
Hurwitz has been particularly impressed to see local organizations teaming up and tackling initiatives together.
“It’s really great to see that organizations are working together across communities,” she said.
“That partnership piece is something we’ve seen evolve over recent years. Organizations are doing an excellent job of working together, working with our local knowledge holders and working with our schools to tackle important issues.”
She said the West Coast’s biosphere reserve designation is locally significant and valued.
“It’s just a given on the West Coast that we all look at the world through a lens of sustainability…it’s the way we approach life as West Coasters,” she said. “Everyone of us steps outside of our door and is in the environment everyday…we really get to enjoy nature as a big part of our life so we have a real vested interest and we care.”