September is designated by the B.C. government as Public Awareness Month for Community Foundations — and on Aug. 25, Prince Rupert volunteers Linda Lutz and her husband Richard Lutz are calling on more local residents to join the regional foundations.
Prince Rupert Regional Community Foundation (PRRCF), founded just over 20 years ago, facilitates philanthropy in the B.C. North West community by investing donated money into a fund that accumulates interest over time. The accrued interest is then used as a continual source of money to invest in countless community projects. The foundation is volunteer-run.
“The most important thing about foundations is that the money you put in never gets spent,” Richard Lutz said. “[It] goes there and stays there forever.”
Since its founding in 2001, people and businesses in the city have donated over $600,000 to the PRRCF.
People’s donations are never used. They are only added to an investment portfolio, increasing the total amount of endowment, and thus the total amount of dollars returned to the community, in interest, each year.
“Lots of people don’t understand the foundation movement and the opportunities it provides to return [money] to your community,” Richard said.
“It provides a vehicle for leaving a legacy to the community that helped you get through your life,” Linda said.
This year, the PRRCF donated grants of over $41,000 to seven different registered non-profits for community projects in the Prince Rupert region.
The foundation donates 80 per cent of its return back to the community and only to registered societies. Societies are not-for-profit corporations formed for lawful, artistic, recreational, scientific, political, charitable, or social purposes. Specific B.C. government regulations dictate how societies are created and run.
For Linda, the fact that the government has declared September for community foundation awareness gives all foundations in the province more validity to what they are. She said it tells people to recognize what foundations do and have done in their communities.
However, each year both Linda and Richard never notice an uptick in donations or participation during the month of awareness.
“I don’t know why. Whether the word is not there or people don’t realize the benefit to the community,” Linda said. “As far as anybody being more involved, I would say no. But not in a bad way. If we ask for help, the community comes through.”
The couple said foundations leave a legacy that other charitable endeavours can’t. Since the foundation is regionally designated, money invested in them will keep working for the communities they serve, even after you’re gone.
“It’s not about us. It’s way bigger than that,” Linda said.
Norman Galimski | Journalist
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