When a small group of Nelson citizens established Osprey Community Foundation in 2000, it became the 100th member of Community Foundations of Canada, a national network of community foundations from coast to coast. The movement has since grown to encompass 191 community foundations.
This week, some 15 years later, Osprey is co-hosting a two-day gathering of regional, provincial and national members of this network. Last week sessions participants shared ideas, learned from each other, and explored possibilities for collaboration.
“It’s an incredible opportunity for us here in Nelson to rub shoulders and swap ideas with colleagues and leaders of the community foundation movement,” says Osprey executive director Vivien Bowers. “This is a network of people who care passionately about building strong, healthy and resilient local communities.”
The event was being organized by the Vancouver Foundation with Osprey providing local support. The Vancouver Foundation, the largest in Canada with assets of over $1 billion, supports the community foundation movement across the province. Vancouver Foundation president and CEO Kevin McCort will chair the conference.
Community Foundations of Canada also had a major presence. President Ian Bird, a two-time Olympian in field hockey who grew up in North Vancouver, flew in. Columbia Basin Trust was also invited to take part in one of the sessions.
While primarily designed to boost community foundations in the Kootenay, the conference attracted delegates from as far away as the coast.
“I think a lot of people wanted to come to Nelson,” says Bowers. “It was by far the first choice for a Kootenay location.”
To give visitors a taste of local culture, Osprey has arranged an evening reception at Touchstones Nelson featuring local musicians, museum exhibits and a sneak preview of the upcoming local opera Jorinda. Osprey grants have supported these and many other local arts and heritage projects.