Foundation targets Vital Signs

With over $2.2 million in vested funds working for the Boundary region, the Foundation directors have set their sights on continuing to grow their funds to build on the grants distributed since 1997. Director and incoming chair of the Grants Committee, George Longden, announced the Foundation's aim to raise $1.8 million by 2018, or 1.8 x 18 as the campaign is named.

Hand in hand with their goals to build the Foundation came the announcement that they will be undertaking the second review of the region's Vital signs. Originally done in 2009, the Vital Signs project gathers the insight about key areas of socio-economic factors in the Boundary region from the people who live here. Blending people's input with data gathered from a variety of sources, the Foundation will publish a report on the "vital signs" of the Boundary next year. This report helps guide their granting decisions and gives community organizations important information to access funding to help address community needs. Doug Lacey, vice-president of the Foundation, will be chairing the committee of community representatives as this moves forward.

After hosting their annual social this month during National Philathropy week, the Phoenix Foundation of the Boundary Communities also released their annual report available electronically on request or by mail.

Celebrate the heart, strength and vision of the Foundation!

Board secretary Leda Leander presents an agency endowment cheque to the Boundary Women's Coalition

Launching a new Vital Signs project in the next few months, the Phoenix Foundation of the Boundary Communities invites you to join us at our annual community social. The evening of networking, refreshments and sharing demonstrates the Foundation's ties to their community and the organizations who do so much to help so many.

Along with presentations from the founding directors, the evening will explore the current strengths and strategic vision of the Foundation along with launching two new initiatives: Boundary Vital Signs and the 1.8 x 18 campaign.

Vital Signs is a community check-up conducted by community foundations across Canada. Each Vital Signs report measures the vitality of its community in key areas, providing the community with critical information that can help set priorities and identify opportunities for action.

Vital Signs was first started by the Toronto Community Foundation in 2001, after a group of civic leaders came up with a new way to engage their community in understanding and monitoring the health and vitality of Toronto on an ongoing basis. In 2006, Vital Signs became a national program and it continues to grow every year, both across Canada and internationally.

Local Reports

Community foundations develop a broad picture of their community using relevant national data and identifying local research on a wide range of subject areas. The Vital Signs report allows foundations to involve their community at every level, from determining the report’s indicators, exploring research sources, and assigning grades.

These reports help communities make connections between issues and trends in different areas. The findings are presented in a reader-friendly format that provides a snapshot of quality of life and community vitality.

Come on out to enjoy the evening with friends and learn more about the ways the Phoenix Foundation of the Boundary Communities is building a better Boundary!

Thursday, Nov. 14 at gallery 2 in Grand Forks; 6:00 p.m. Admission is by donation, hors d'oeuvres and beverages available along with a cash bar.

Foundation receives grant from Newman's Own to help community

Article by Karl Yu, Grand Forks Gazette

Thanks to a nomination from Buy-Low Foods’ manager Fred Boyd, the Phoenix Foundation of the Boundary Communities has received $10,000 from the charitable organization of late-actor Paul Newman.

Newman’s Own Foundation provided the grant to the local Phoenix Foundation, which will use the money to update the Vital Signs report, a checkup conducted by community foundations to measure the viability of Canadian communities.

Boyd said he was proud because the winning grant went to the local community and he got the inspiration from seeing that certain areas of the community were in need of an assist.

Honorary Phoenix Foundation board member Maxine Ruzicka shops frequently at the local Buy-Low and assisted Boyd.

“I know Maxine Ruzicka, she shops in our store all the time, and you know, I thought, ‘We need to do something for Grand Forks,’” Boyd said.

Foundation chair Christine Thompson said the foundation was thrilled that Buy-Low nominated it and to find that it was named one of the recipients. Re-doing the Vital Signs report was one of the foundation’s goals.

“The Vital Signs report was last done in 2009 and it’s basically a discussion and workshops that we have with members of the community to see what the community needs for things like health, youth, sports and it helps the foundation in determining where the grants that it provides are going to be most beneficial to the community as a whole,” Thompson explained.

Phoenix Foundation director Leda Leander is also executive director of the Boundary Family and Individual Services Society (BFISS) and the Vital Signs report is a valuable source of information to BFISS.

“The Boundary Family and Individual Services Society has used the information and priorities gained from Vital Signs to direct our society’s community work as it relates to children, youth and families,” Leander said. “The Vital Signs information and process is invaluable in assisting our community to learn and grow.”

Boyd said he knows the money will be put to good use and is glad to contribute to the community.

“I’m really happy that Buy-Low has been able to be part of the community because we’re very, very community-minded,” Boyd said. “We are a big part of this community, we support whatever we can.”

Boyd was also grateful to a pair of Buy-Low executives.

“We’d like to thank Albert Lum (director of merchandising and advertising), who has helped us make the decision for this particular award and we’d like to also thank Jimmy Pattison (owner), who is so community-minded and has given so much back to the community,” he explained.

Family Friendly Business Initiative Launched in the Boundary

In honour and celebration of the first BC Family Day, the Boundary Success By 6 Family Friendly Business initiative launched with the first window decal placed at Grand Forks Credit Union. Phoenix Foundation of the Boundary Communities is a partner in the Success by 6 program and is pleased to support this new initiative.

Local businesses – from Christina Lake to Beaverdell -- now have the opportunity to self-identify as “Family Friendly” using criteria specified by parents and grandparents of young children. The business then obtains a window decal to help shoppers know that they are so designated and the Boundary Country Regional Chamber of Commerce (BCRCC) website will place a map marker on the

“Interestingly, many of the things that families with young children want from businesses are the same things that our seniors require,” noted Christine Thompson, Chair of the Phoenix Foundation and a lead partner of the Boundary Success By 6 initiative. “It can be as simple as providing a chair for a brief resting or nursing place or a clean and accessible washroom.” Later this year, consumers (local and visitors) will have the privilege of nominating and voting online for a family friendly business in each community across the Boundary. Businesses will receive recognition and awards will be presented for those with the top number of votes at the annual Small Business Week event in October.

“It’s to all of our benefit to encourage more local shopping, as well as to find innovative ways to entice visitors to our area,” explained Todd Benson, President of the Regional Chamber. “The Chamber sees this as a helpful marketing tool for the Boundary.”

“We encourage all of our communities across the Boundary to get on board,” said Gary Smith, Grand Forks City Council liaison to the Phoenix Foundation. “The more momentum we build together, the more benefit there will be to our local business communities.”

The initiative is not new in the province as several communities across BC have declared themselves as being “Family Friendly”. Considering the needs of families is a great way to gain a reputation as someone who wants local people to shop in your business. With a minimal investment of time and resources, even the smallest business can offer an accessible washroom or make a chair available when a mother needs to breastfeed her baby, or acknowledge children and greet them. Return on investment includes but is not limited to: increased level of customer service, word of mouth referrals, enhanced reputation, and overall great community relations. By supporting local families, businesses help today’s children and families become tomorrow’s well educated, highly skilled and motivated workforce.

The top two requirements for Boundary area businesses to be designated as Family Friendly are an accessible washroom with a change table and a chair made available if a mom needs to breastfeed while in your business. Other criteria that create a safe and comfortable environment include having an inviting atmosphere, providing small giveaways for children, stroller parking, and building community partnerships (for example, donations to our Boundary Family Centres, volunteering or co-sponsoring events).

The City of Grand Forks, the local Rotary Club, and Boundary Country Regional Chamber of Commerce have endorsed the initiative and have become champions in moving it forward together with the Boundary Success By 6 partners: the Phoenix Foundation of the Boundary Communities, Ministry for Children and Families, and Grand Forks Credit Union. The Family Friendly Business working group has been reaching out to various potential partners across the Boundary and has been invited to meet with the Christina Lake Chamber of Commerce.

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