Foundation open for grant applications

Local non-profit organizations and charities can now apply for grants from the Cranbrook and District Community Foundation.

Students from Kootenay Christian Academy stopped by the Community Connections Society of Southeast B.C. to help prepare lunch for seniors as part of a program with Better at Home. Pictured above

Students from Kootenay Christian Academy stopped by the Community Connections Society of Southeast B.C. to help prepare lunch for seniors as part of a program with Better at Home. Pictured above

Four high school students took over the kitchen at the Community Connections Society of Southeast B.C. on Wednesday to prepare and serve lunch to local senior citizens.

Under parental supervision, the Kootenay Christian Academy students prepared their meal, which featured colourful fruit kebabs, and also organized some games for post-lunch entertainment on Wednesday afternoon.

They were there as part of Better at Home, which is just one of a myriad of programs available through the Community Connections Society.

Better at Home, administered by Laurie Harris, is a program designed to help provide some of the more mundane, but important services, for senior citizens who are still living at home.

Services typically include things like lawn-mowing, snow-shovelling and house-keeping.

However, a new aspect of the program is starting to have a big impact.

Last year, Better at Home organized a social connections service, where a group of visually impaired people met once a month to hear guest speakers and talk share tips and advice of day-to-day living with visual impairment.

That social connections service has branched into further opportunities to formulate connections with Better at Home clients with the Cranbrook community.

“A lot of our clients are home, alone, their spouses passed on, so they are alone,” said Harris. “Some are in town because of medical service needs and have had to leave family behind in their home towns, so they are in Cranbrook alone with out a lot of friend support.

“So that’s part of what we’re doing, to reach out and find those people to get them a little more connected to their community, give them something fun to do and somebody to do it with…”

While Better at Home does have provincial funding support, the social connections aspect of their program wouldn’t be able to happen without funding support from the Cranbrook and District Community Foundation.

The CDCF is a locally-run public foundations that build and manage endowment funds to support charitable activities in the area.

As of now, the organization is open to receive applications for grant funding until the deadline of March. 2, 2015, with the successful grants being handed out in April or May.

Riley Wilcox, the executive director with the CDCF, said there are six specific fields with a broad range for granting opportunities.

Those fields include arts, culture and heritage, education, physical activity and sport, social and health services, environment and programs for seniors.

“The nature of what gets granted out every year really relies on what comes our way for applications,” said Wilcox.

As examples in the past, funding has gone out towards the Trans-Canada Trail Society, which is building a trail to connect Cranbrook and Wardner, while other grants have gone towards the Friends of Fort Steele Society and the BCSPCA East Kootenay branch. In total, 16 causes were funded last year from CDCF grants.

“Because we have such a broad area, we tend to receive a lot of great applications from all sorts of different organizations,” added Wilcox. “It really helps us keep an eye on what’s happening in the community as well.”

Established in 2004 as a registered charity and a member of the Community Foundations of Canada, the organization has multiple endowment funds that collects annual interest, which is then distributed in the form of grants.

For Harris and the Better at Home program, the social connections services would not be able to happen without support from the CDCF.

“The program wouldn’t be happening without that grant,” Harris said. “The money that we do get from the provincial government is limited. It’s a great chunk of money, but it’s not enough to meet the entire need of Cranbrook.”

Grant applications are available on the CDCF website and people are also welcome to stop by the office if they need any assistance with the application submission.