While the holiday season is over, it’s feeling like “Christmas in January” for directors of the Comox Valley Community Foundation. This month the CVCF will announce annual grants to local charitable groups at its Community Enrichment Awards event.

In 2015 grants of more than $118,000 were made to 20 local groups. Awards were made for many diverse projects: from furnishing one of the four new rooms at the Hospice at The Views to providing upgrades to the local Red Cross equipment loan facility and the CV Food Bank.

The grant announcement next week represents the culmination of a process that begins each fall. In September, charitable groups are encouraged to apply online for grants in seven major areas (Arts and Culture, Environment and Parks, Health and Welfare, Education and Youth, Seniors, helping those with Disabilities and helping to end Homelessness). In October, the CVCF board reviews its audited financial statements and determines how much money is available for community grants. In November, members of the Foundation’s distribution committee review all applications — this year there were more than 50 — and make recommendations to the board. “This is a huge responsibility for us,” says CVCF President Norman Carruthers. “We consider many, many factors and hope that our donors will be pleased and proud of our selections.” In December, applicants learn if their projects will be funded.

Still, it’s in January that the real excitement unfolds at the annual Community Enrichment Awards event. “We are always so pleased to be able to make these grants,” continues President Carruthers. “We feel privileged to be able to assist the many groups working tirelessly to improve our community. Our Community Enrichment Awards event gives grant recipients an opportunity to showcase their projects and CVCF donors can hear first-hand how their investment is working to enrich lives in the Comox Valley.”