Sunset on Smelt Beach

Cortes Island Community Foundation obtained charitable status

CKTZ News, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

On Thursday, June 28th, 2021, the Cortes Island Community Foundation obtained charitable status.

This has been a goal since the organization’s beginnings. 

Photo credit: Mark Spevakow , Vice President and Treasurer of the Cortes Island Community Foundation – photo courtesy Mark Spevakow

Hub of the wheel

As they did not have charitable status, in 2018 the Foundation had to partner with the Cortes Island Senior’s Society (CISS) to raise the funds needed to purchase the 51 acre parcel now known as Rainbow Ridge.

According to Vice President/Treasurer Mark Spevakow, the Cortes Island Foundation’s role ended when the Cortes Community Housing was formed. 

“A regular charity has one main focus – dealing, for example,  with hunger, education or the lake – their whole reason to be is usually one specific cause. It can be a broad cause, but it is one specific cause. Community foundations are the exact opposite. We cannot focus on one cause, we have to focus on the entire community in general,” he said. 

He used the analogy of a wheel. Community foundations are the hub, which channels funding, assistance and personal help to the charities around it. 

The foundation recently purchased a grants database, that enables all of the island’s other charities to locate information about funders throughout Canada. 

They have also provided funding for microgrant programs on the island.

A new computer and some funds were donated to the  Cortes Island Women’s Centre.

Artwork provided by Cortes Island Foundation
Stones set in log – photo courtesy Cortes Island Foundation

The next level

Now that they have charitable status, Spevakow says the foundation wants to move to the next level.   

“The Cortes Island Community Foundation wants to be a place that bequests can be left to. There is a sense of comfort, that money can be left to the entire island community,” he explained. “Someone can leave a bequest to the community as a whole and that was not an option before.”   

Now that they have charitable status, the foundation can flesh out all of its governance and committees. 

Sisken Trail on Cortes Island – photo courtesy Cortes Island Foundation

Origins of the Cortes Island Community Foundation

The Cortes Island community Foundation incorporated as a BC Society in 2017. 

The real push came with the Rainbow Ridge project, the following year. 

“There wasn’t a vehicle set up that funds could be put into with charitable status. So that’s when a partnership with the Senior’s Society was set up, because they were a full charity. If funds were donated to them, a tax receipt could be issued. Rainbow Ridge moved down the road that way,” explained Spevakow.  

This also provided the push for the foundation to seek charitable status. There was a call to arms. Some of the original members returned and new recruits, like Spevakow, joined them. 

They were in the midst of this process when COVID slowed everything down, but they persisted and finally obtained charitable status a little more than a week ago.

Spevakow added, “When other opportunities come down the road, we will have the right vehicle in place.  

Artwork provided by Cortes Island Foundation
Moon Snail on Cortes Island – photo courtesy Cortes Island Foundation

Links of Interest:

Top photo credit: Sunset on Smelt Beach – photo courtesy the Cortes Island Foundation

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