Over the past 20 years, the Revelstoke Community Foundation handed out more than $684,000 in the community through scholarships and charitable donations.
The foundation builds an endowment fund and grants the interest it generates to students and not-for-profit societies.
At its anniversary celebration April 5, foundation officials announced the endowment fund has now reached $2.5 million.
“Every dollar that is given to the community foundation gives back over and over and over again, and I think that is a little bit of magic,” said Tracy Spannier, chair of the foundation.
The RCF was established in 1998 after a letter from a fifth-generation Revelstokian put the idea in city council’s head.
“Council decided it would be a good centennial project,” said Geoff Battersby, former mayor and one of the first board members of the foundation, in his remarks at the anniversary celebration.
It began with directors appointed from city council, the Revelstoke Credit Union, Community Futures, the Chamber of Commerce, as well as several community members.
Deb Wozniak ran the foundation’s affairs out of the Community Futures office.
“We wouldn’t have ended up where we are without you,” Battersby said in thanking Wozniak, who retired last fall.
The foundation dove into fundraising and with matching money from the Columbia Basin Trust and the Vancouver Community Foundation, quickly grew the endowment fund.
“Right off the start, well we knew we’d get that $60,000 raised, so we knew we were at $160,000 already. That was a pretty nice way to start,” Battersby said.
Some of their ways of raising money were a “little devious” Battersby said, with a laugh, and officials were able to get a hold of a list of registrants from a recent Revelstoke Secondary School reunion.
After writing what Battersby called a “tear drop letter,” the foundation received a tremendous response. “Some of those older scholarships that were going to die got built back up,” he said.
In the beginning the foundation had several goals, one of which was to get a seven per cent return on investment and give five per cent of that back to the community. Battersby said he is sure it has succeeded in that goal.
“Our initial goal was that no Revelstoke Secondary School student seeking post-secondary education should leave Revelstoke without a $1,000 scholarship award in their pockets,” he said.
“We aren’t there yet but we didn’t intent that we would be the only source. It’s coming along nicely and we will make that goal some day.”
In the end, Battersby recognized not the foundation for its tireless dedication, but the community for its generous hearts.
“It’s not foundation scholarships, it’s not foundation grants, it’s grants to people by the foundation on behalf of people who donated funds for those purposes,” he said.