Viola van de Ruyt, President of the Saanich Peninsula Community Foundation, speaks about charitable giving to a select audience at their annual update and community mixer. Steven Heywood/News staff

Viola van de Ruyt, President of the Saanich Peninsula Community Foundation, speaks about charitable giving to a select audience at their annual update and community mixer. Steven Heywood/News staff

Saanich Peninsula Community Foundation reaches $20,000 in grants this year

Peninsula charity hoping to increase donations for permanent fund

Tapping into the charitable giving of people is always a challenge, yet the Saanich Peninsula Community Foundation continues to grow.

It’s a slower pace than they’d like, but they’ve still seen an increase in the amount of money the Foundation is able to give away in each of the last two years.

The Foundation recently held a meet and greet with select community members at the Victoria Distillery on Sidney’s waterfront. It was a chance for the people behind the Foundation to make connections in the community, to explain what it is the Foundation does, and to announce their annual grant contributions for 2017.

Foundation Chairperson Viola van de Ruyt says they were able to allocate $20,000 to their grant program this year. That’s a $3,000 increase over their donations in 2016.This year’s grants have already been applied for and the Foundation will announce the recipients later this year. Groups can apply for the 2018 grant period.

Examples of last year’s grants include $2,500 to the Stelly’s Secondary School’s Vital Youth Program.

Another 2016 recipient was the Sidney Museum. Executive Director Peter Garnham said they are very thankful for the contribution by the Foundation.

“The challenge of making ends meet,” Garnham said, “is always that something is in need for extra money.”

He said both the Town of Sidney and District of North Saanich support the museum’s basic operating costs. As they continue to look at new exhibits and expansion plans, more money is always needed to reach those goals. When groups like the Community Foundation step up, Garnham continued, “everybody benefits.”

The Saanich Peninsula Community Foundation’s own permanent endowment fund currently sits at around $580,000, said van de Ruyt. It’s from this pool of money that they are able to use for the annual grant program.

Their goal is to get their endowment fund up to $2 million by 2020. Van de Ruyt said to reach that level, people have to be willing to donate — which is the challenge.

She said people can choose to give to the Foundation because the money stays on the Saanich Peninsula. Donations made to their endowment fund stay there in perpetuity — as only the interest gained on the fund is used for grants. And for anyone to qualify for the grants, she said they must be located on the Peninsula and offering something that benefits people here.

For more about the Foundation, and how to apply for their grants, visit sp-cf.ca.