Recipients of grants from the Fort St. James Community Society include (from l) Greg Kovacs and Sandi Taylor (Healthy Minds Community Garden); Leiha Constantine; Judy Greenaway (Stuart Lake Seniors’ Association); Pauline Friesen (Fort St. James Music Makers); Karrie Sparling (Stuart Lake Outreach Group Society); Maurine Barzantni (Our Lady of the Snows Parish).

Eight Community Foundation grants awarded

Local groups, including the Healthy Minds Community Garden and the Stuart Lake Seniors Association, benefit from grants.

The Fort St. James Community Foundation has recently presented grants totalling more than $10,000 to several local people and organizations. The funds come from interest earned by the Foundation’s endowment fund. This year’s recipients are:

Leiha Constantine ($1,000), to assist her as she enters her second year of studies towards a Respiratory Therapy Diploma at NAIT in Edmonton.

Tl’azt’en First Nation ($1,500), for the Tl’azt’en Youth Project. The aim is to provide young people in the Tl’azt’en community with skills which will enable them to build a wooden boat.

Music Makers ($2,000), to be used for the purchase of headsets to enable stage crews to communicate. The equipment will support the Youth Theatre Project—Collective Creations Theatre in September 2015, and will be used in future productions.

Our Lady of the Snows Parish ($1,000), which will support their Social Outreach Program. The funds will be used to help with transportation costs for community members who want to take part in wellness activities, and for personnel to be present for people who need support while in prison, hospital, or remote communities.

Stuart Lake Outreach Society ($1,000), to support the society’s mandate to provide free, nutritious food for the homeless, needy, or lonely. The goal is to temporarily alleviate poverty, promote empowerment, and build self-esteem.

Stuart Lake Seniors Association ($2,000), to support the Seniors Helping Seniors program. This program tries to address the isolation and barriers that many seniors in the north can face, by providing transportation to seniors to meet their social and healthcare needs.

Stuart Lake Golf Club ($600); the funds will be used to purchase a new vacuum cleaner, which will improve cleanliness and reduce the workload at this community recreational facility.

Healthy Minds Community Garden ($1,200), which will support the creation and maintenance of an organic community garden. The aim is to provide a safe space for all community members, build community, and reduce isolation while providing fresh organic produce for participants and local charities.

The Community Foundation’s endowment fund—which recently received a $25,000 grant from Northern Development Initiative Trust—generates interest which provides support for the community by going towards initiatives that strengthen the local economy, society, culture, and ecology. Since it started in 2011 the Foundation has raised more than $200,000.

The Foundation’s Executive Director, Joyce Helweg, says that there is one intake a year for applications for grants, with the next one in spring 2016. In the meantime, Helweg would like to let people know about the Employee Deduction Challenge, which starts in September. Employees of Conifex have challenged all other workers in the area, with participants signing up to have their employer deduct a certain sum from their paycheques. All of the money raised goes to the endowment fund. “If 773 people took part and had $5 deducted from each paycheque, we’d raise $1 million in 10 years,” says Helweg.

The award for the Challenge will be presented at the official opening of the new Community Hall on Oct. 3. For more information about the Employee Deduction Challenge, call Joyce Helweg at (250) 996-7293, and to find out more about applying for a grant in spring 2016 visit the Foundations’s website at

Barbara Roden


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