As a way to continue to make Cochrane a better place to live and help support local non-profit groups, the Cochrane Foundation hosted their 30th annual award ceremony on March 16.
The ceremony took place at 5:30 p.m. at the Seniors on the Bow inside the SLS Centre. The celebration hosted 18 non-profit organizations to support a variety of projects.
Cochrane Foundation board chair, Tim Harvie, said the foundation was founded in 1993. It is funded by an endowment fund of $1.7 million, which generates around $90,000 a year in income for the foundation.
“It’s that income that we distribute to a variety of Cochrane charities in non-profits,” Harvie explained. “Once a year, we have a granting cycle, where various groups apply to the Cochrane Foundation for funding their projects.
“We sort through them, compare them to our granting criteria, and grant them on that basis.”
At the ceremony on Thursday, the selected groups were awarded with their cheques and given the opportunity to share who they are and how they intend to use the grant.
The event also gives them the chance to connect with other non-profits in the community.
“In that way we create more awareness of the Cochrane Foundation, but also all these different groups in Cochrane with what the other groups are doing,” Harvie said. “It’s quite inspiring, because there’s such a wide variety of need and groups who do good work in Cochrane.”
In addition to the grants they dole out to non-profits, the foundation also has a sub-fund called the McQuitty Fund, which is dedicated to medical causes or students pursuing post-graduate studies in the medical field.
“This year, we gave three grants to three outstanding people who are working in either pharmacy, doctors, or they’re in post-graduate studies,” Harvie said.
This year, the Cochrane Foundation provided $87,000 through both of its programs. Since 1997, when the foundation handed out their first grants, the Cochrane Foundation has provided $1.1 million to over 100 different groups in Cochrane.
“It’s unbelievable, the list we have,” Harvie said. “Many are repeat [recipients] – they come back year after year – like the Ag Society [and] the rec centre, but some are one-time or new groups.
Harvie said the annual ceremonies provide more than just a way to help fund different groups in Cochrane. They also help inform the community about the Cochrane Foundation itself.
“It’s generally been the best kept secret in Cochrane for close to 30 years,” Harvie said. “I think a lot of people are still unaware that it exists.”
As it operates via an endowment fund, Harvie said the more donations that get contributed to it, the greater an impact the Cochrane Foundation can have for the non-profits in town. He asks people in Cochrane and area to consider donating to the Cochrane Foundation.
“If it goes into the endowment, it generates income forever, for the benefit of the town that we all love,” Harvie said.
As the chair of the foundation, Harvie said he loves being part of the ceremonies like the one on March 16, adding they are always fun for everyone involved.
“It’s like Christmas every year,” Harvie said. “We’re all volunteers on a 10-member board that make these decisions and grant money out to the community.”
For more information, visit cochranefoundation.ca.