woman in the woods, looking up at a tall tree

Quadra ICAN obtains charitable status

The Quadra Island Action Network (Quadra ICAN) was given charitable status on January 20th, 2022. 

image taken from Quadra ICAN Do it yourself team page

“We  became a non-profit in May 25th, 2020. After that happened, the steering committee had always wanted to be a charitable society because a lot of the grants required some type of financial umbrella. As a nonprofit, you would have to rely on another charitable society  to manage the money and give tax receipts and things like that,” explained Jude McCormick.

Leona Skovgaard, Chair of Quadra ICAN’s steering committee, added, “Jude was the one who maintained the optimism throughout this process and took the time to really understand the process. The other steering committee members offered support but it was Jude who really got into the details.”

To which McCormick responded, “I kind of knew the ‘government speak,’ so I wasn’t quite as put off by their seemingly negative approach to the application.” 

While she focused on the documents, Skovgaard mobilized Quadra ICAN’s membership and the teams working on 14 different projects.

“Leona got it out to everybody and said, ‘do this, we need to do this.’ So getting things done was definitely a joint effort,’” said McCormick. 

The first step was learning to use the terminology that was acceptable to the Canada Revenue Agency. It turned out that everything Quadra ICAN was doing either ‘kind of fit under the environmental protection’ or had an educational component. 

“It wasn’t the wording that we had used, but we came to the conclusion that yes, indeed,  everything that we wanted to do as the Quadra Island Climate Action Network could fit under these purposes,” said Skovgaard.

Then, added McCormick. “I was told by all the advisors that you just put down everything that you have done, you’re planning to do, or even dream of doing.”

As they had to put a price tag on everything, Quadra ICAN stated it had about $8,000 in their bank account and intended to spend $800,000. 

“The question that they sent back was ‘how are you going to pay for this?’ We didn’t have an answer for that,” said McCormick.

It took five months to compile all of the information CRA wanted: 

  • the answers to all of CRAs questions
  • all of the documents associated with becoming a non-profit
  • descriptions of all 14 current projects
  • minutes from meetings, especially those between the steering committee and the team leads where we would meet and talk about the projects.
  • all of the articles mentioning Quadra ICAN or its activities (for example: every item in the Bird’s Eye or Discovery Islander that mentioned them) 

McCormick loaded everything up to the CRA website in November 2020.

Then in April 2021, Quadra ICAN received a letter stating that CRA ‘didn’t get hardly any of our application, we needed to submit everything again!’ The CRA specialist said not to use the upload, this was not the only occasion when it had failed. Fax everything to them.

She faxed the essential documents that very day and sent the rest within the next week or two. 

McCormick talked with her advisor at CRA “several times about things going on and he kept me updated on what was going on and said, send me anything new. And there was a change of a steering committee members. So I sent that in and then he finally said, stop sending me stuff. So we had enough.  Then he said, it’s going to be awhile before we get the actual assessor.”

In September Quadra ICAN was notified that they had not sent CRA enough information and had 60 days to redo their projects.

Skovgaard said most of the steering committee gave up after receiving that letter.  “We wandered around for a little while, looking to other organizations on Quadra that we could partner with and thought, well, maybe we don’t need charity status.” 

They partnered with the Quadra Island Foundation and the school board to raise funds for the solar panels on the Quadra Elementary School.

McCormick told the steering committee to read the letter carefully.  CRA didn’t say there were out of the loop forever.  If they did A, B, and C, their application would be reconsidered.

This initiated a period of refining the input from every project.  They finished and submitted the revised application two days ahead of schedule.

“On December 3rd, 2021, we got a letter saying that you guys did a great job. You’re in, as far as your projects, now you have to redo your constitution. The original constitution we did took a long time to put together, so I was a little concerned  – but we had 90 days,” said McCormick. 

So Quadra ICAN’s constitution was rewritten, to more closely realign with what they were doing, and the changes were ratified at a General Meeting. Their new constitution was then sent into the provincial registrar where it was approved. This document was sent to the CRA.

A week and a half after they did this, CRA sent Quadra ICAN notification they had been approved. 

“So after all that, it was ‘yay, that was done!’ So now we’re a charitable society and now the work begins as far as getting things together so that we can do all the reports and things we need to do,” said McCormick.

List of Quadra ICAN’s 14 current projects:

  1. building wicking beds for gardening,
  2. a solar demonstration project on Quadra Island Elementary school,
  3. Quadra ICAN held a couple of glass jar recycling days
  4. using solar energy to heat water from the sun
  5. providing food security workshops
  6. Quadra ICAN’s water security team is is conducting a geological survey of Quadra Island’s aquifer and also selling water storage tanks in the community.
  7. recycling of razor blades and oral care pro products through the Kolbe pharmacy.
  8. growing squash and distributing it on Quadra Island
  9. working with the Comox Strathcona waste management and the SRD to bring in a recycle BC facility to Quadro (hopefully in 2022).
  10. a virtual free store that has operated on Facebook since the Spring of 2020.
  11. a garden tool repair workshop that was held in the summer of 2021. People brought in their broken hoes, rakes and other items that needed sharpening. (free to the public, or by donation)
  12. A website that tells people where they can buy local food on Quadra Island
  13. A food survey: part one of which has been carried out and part two will be conducted in the summer of 2022. (How much food are people growing? And what the obstacles are there to growing more food?)
  14. A Free store/ restore type facility to go in on the recycled BC property. Promote Strathcona waste management have indicated that they will allow space for a second building on the recycle BC site and ICAN will be responsible for gathering the funds to put up that building and volunteers to run it.

Top photo credit: Leona Skovgaard during one of her walks through the forest – submitted photo

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