December 7th, 2021:
When the Pandemic hit in March 2020, the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation (WBF) made the decision to pivot their funding process from the set application deadline of April 1, to an on-going COVID relief grant program focusing on non-profit organizations in the Corridor with the most pressing needs. Food banks, emergency shelters, mental health outreach programs and many others were of the utmost importance during this time to keep the community healthy, fed and supported. With the pandemic slowly making its way into our rearview mirrors, October 1, 2021 saw the return of an official application process whereby Sea to Sky non-profit organizations were welcome to submit an application for funding towards their next project or program that will benefit the S2S Community. Despite fundraising efforts being extremely challenging over the last year and a half, this latest application process awarded over $400,000 in charitable grants to some incredible organizations.
“The Foundation is committed to helping organizations that benefit residents of the Sea to Sky Corridor with an emphasis on children, youth and families. It is so rewarding to disburse these funds to some amazing local non-profits, especially after a long wait while we put the needs of pandemic-relief at the forefront. There were some projects put on hold and we are so thrilled for these organizations to be able to move forward,” said Mei Madden, Executive Director of the WBF.
The Spearhead Huts Society (SHS) and Squamish Search and Rescue (SSAR) were both awarded grants of $75,000. The Spearheads Huts Society will use the grant to provide on-demand water to the Kees and Claire Memorial Hut. The SHS is very close to completion of this Hut located within Garibaldi Park, and funds provided by the WBF will be put directly towards getting a well installed as soon as possible.
Squamish Search and Rescue (SSAR) like many other Search and Rescue organizations are experiencing a significant increase in call volume which has necessitated an increase in the number of Search and Rescue volunteer members, equipment, and vehicles. This has resulted in an immediate need to increase onsite storage for vehicles and equipment, as well as a space for training their members. This increase in space will help safeguard, protect, and ensure the longevity of the SSAR investment in equipment, and it will help ensure that SSAR equipment is ready and available to support the delivery of their mandate which is to protect and promote public safety. This grant will pay for the materials and installation of the new building.
Almost $68,000 was given to Pemberton Fire Rescue (PFR) to purchase new wildfire equipment. After a number of record-breaking wildfire seasons, PFR needs to enhance their wildfire fighting capabilities. As a result of the PFR sending crews and equipment to assist with wildfires across the province this summer, the majority of the necessary funds have already been secured from the province. But the grant from the WBF will fulfill the budget to help purchase items such as a Structure Protection Unit (to hold the cache of equipment used by trained specialists to define structures threatened by wildfires), a truck and trailer, and emergency equipment for the truck.
$50,000 was granted to Zero Ceiling to fund their Work 2 Live Mental Health Program. Work 2 Live is a supportive housing and supportive employment program based in Whistler. It provides life-changing opportunities and supports to vulnerable youth, aged 19-24, who are, or at risk of, experiencing homelessness.
Just over $20,000 was donated to Pemberton Search and Rescue (PSAR) to purchase a Zoll AutoPulse and Automatic External Defibrillator (AED). Zoll Auto Pulse will increase first responder safety during a backcountry cardiac arrest. Mechanical CPR allows for high quality resuscitation in austere environments. PSAR currently has members who are trained by Zoll to lead the training for other members, which will increase their ability to save lives.
Whistler Waldorf School was also awarded just over $20,000, to purchase new equipment for Science, Math and Applied Design Skills Technology (ADST). The school uses an experiential learning methodology that prepares learners to reason analytically and quantitatively. This equipment will create a makerspace - an innovative environment for students to work on projects and learn more collaboratively.
The Garibaldi Volunteer Fire Department received $20,000 to purchase a used rapid response wildland fire truck. This particular vehicle has water and pumping capabilities and will exponentially improve their ability to quickly access incidents in the backcountry, obtain the necessary information to file an accurate situation-report, and respond appropriately.
Just over $15,000 was granted to the Squamish Hospital Foundation to purchase six holter monitors. These devices allow a patient’s heart rhythm to be monitored, usually for 48hrs in their home environment, while continuing with their daily activities. 4-8 patients a week are referred to the Squamish General Hospital to be fitted to a holter and monitor system. With this, the cardiologist will have a better understanding more quickly of the patient’s condition and can begin initial treatments and medications.
The Whistler Museum will receive over $12,000 to purchase the equipment required to digitize existing and future 16mm film holdings in the Museum’s collection. This collection comprises 80+ reels related to the Whistler area with subjects ranging from avalanche control, resort development, skiing and snowboarding, and Whistler marketing materials. With this equipment, the museum hopes to be able to offer digitization services to locals within the Sea to Sky area that may have family films in need of digitization, and also hopes to offer this service to other museums and archives in British Columbia.
Another grant of just over $7,000 was granted to the Pemberton Secondary School Outdoor Program to purchase equipment such as snowshoes, boots & poles, skis & bindings, stoves, tents and dry/water bags. The Outdoor Program has previously had a maximum of 24 students, but as more students see the importance of responsible backcountry and outdoor recreation, the program has been growing in popularity. This new equipment will allow them to increase the capacity to 30 students.
Also included among the successful recipients within this fall funding period was the Point Artists Run Society, Pickleball Squamish, the Whistler Sea Wolves, Junior Achievement of BC, the Pemberton Off Road Cycling Association, the Pemberton Youth Soccer Association, and the Cheakamus Foundation for Environmental Learning.
The Foundation also matched all Whistler Blackcomb employee donations to the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation Environmental Fund which supports environmental projects in the Sea to Sky Corridor.
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