The RDCK says it won't channel money from the Osprey Foundation to community groups.

The RDCK says it won't channel money from the Osprey Foundation to community groups.

RDCK declines to be Osprey ‘conduit’

Nelson’s Osprey Community Foundation won’t be able to rely on the regional district to help distribute funds to community organizations.

Nelson’s Osprey Community Foundation won’t be able to rely on the Regional District of Central Kootenay to help distribute funds to community organizations.

The board last month refused to get involved, saying its staff had enough on their plates and shouldn’t be a “conduit” to flow money for foundations.

Canada Revenue Agency insists foundation grants go to “qualified donees,” which includes registered charities, municipalities, and other local governments.

Groups that don’t have charitable status can partner with ones that do — and for that reason, the Osprey foundation approached the regional district, which operates in rural areas that don’t have many qualified donees.

However, directors doubted they had the capacity to handle the requests, even if they charged an administration fee.

“It’s too cumbersome,” said Nelson mayor John Dooley. “It would be an additional burden to our staff.”

Although chair John Kettle was willing to entertain further discussion following a presentation by foundation chair Tom Murray, the board rejected the idea.

Kettle said an additional concern was liability associated with the actual projects receiving funds.

“The foundations are probably going to have to develop a template where none of the contingent liabilities travel through,” he said. “If we write a cheque, we’re part of it, yet we have no say over how the program is administered.”

He noted the foundation can still approach individual municipalities, and believes other alternatives exist to ensure the funds reach their intended recipients.

Slocan Valley director Walter Popoff and alternate rural Nelson director Pegasis McGauley voted against the motion to deny the request.

The Osprey foundation estimated ten grants or less would require the RDCK’s participation each year, but directors worried once the precedent was set, the number would take off.

The Opsrey foundation has an endowment fund of over $6 million, and in 2010 granted more than $160,000. A decade after its birth, it’s the sixth largest community foundation in BC.

Three affiliate community funds operating under its wing, serving North Kootenay Lake, and the Salmo and Slocan valleys.