Last year, Bulkley Valley Credit Union’s (BVCU) Burns Lake branch made several major donations within the community, lending a helping hand during the tumultuous year.
Nathan Way, the BVCU branch manager told Lakes District News that the organization makes such donations every year and the pool for their community support donations is created annually during their budget preparation for the upcoming year.
“Each branch is given a set amount of dollars to distribute to their communities through their community support committee. Each committee’s representatives are appointed by the chair of BVCU’s board of directors. The Lakes District branch currently has seven members,” he said.
The committee takes requests and has meetings to discuss those requests and approve or decline funding based on their purpose and mandate to support local groups and organizations, which directly or indirectly benefit the community. Pines Family Council, Burns Lake Public Library, Burns Lake & District Chamber of Commerce, Lakes Literacy, Canadian Parents for French, First Responders Café Society, dog park ceremony, chamber Canada Day celebrations, fireman’s bonspiel, dry grad, Ashurst Daycare, Snowmobile Club, Fall Fair Association, arts council, track project (through SD 91) and LDSS ski/snowboard team were some of the organizations and projects that were selected for receiving donations or sponsorship in 2020.
A total of $28, 414 was given out by the BVCU Burns Lake branch in donations in 2020.
“In 2020, we saw fewer events, which meant we were able to support some larger projects that focused on outdoor activities and improving those spaces. One that comes to mind is the support of Lakes Literacy and their story walks. We were also able to offer some support to those organizations that had to cancel events that would normally have been large fundraisers for them,” said Way.
In 2019, BVCU’s local branch gave out roughly $30,000 and the largest donation they made was of $10,000 to the Southside Fire department to support funding for their new fire truck. On top of the donations, the branch also gives a $1,000 bursary annually. The bursary is granted to a student who is graduating, has demonstrated community involvement and has balanced academic achievement. The 2020 recipient for the bursary was Marlee Wilson.
BVCU also makes several in-branch donations that go beyond the community support donations.
“The in-branch donations are typically $100-500 and in the past we have supported silent auction fundraisers, Terry Fox partnerships, etc. These are basically smaller requests that may not necessarily meet what community support would look for, but are still worthwhile causes supporting,” said Way.
BVCU Burns Lake branch doesn’t plan out donations in advance and in fact rely on community members and group representatives to submit requests or call to discuss an idea they have to decide if they want to submit a request, according to Way.