Last month the Comox Valley Community Foundation distributed almost $50,000 to local charities which maintain “agency endowment funds” with the CVCF including Abbeyfield House Society, Filberg Heritage Lodge and Park Association, Hornby Island Educational Society, Sid Williams Theatre Society and several others. An endowment fund is an investment set aside for the long-term support of a charity. The Comox Valley Community Foundation works with several organizations to manage their endowment funds which are held in perpetuity. The income earned is paid out to the charity annually and can be used for that year’s priorities.

An “agency endowment fund” is a great option for charities that wish to create a steady flow of income. “This can be a really useful method for creating long term stability,” says CVCF President Norm Carruthers. “Charities can encourage their donors to consider this as a lasting gift – a gift that will keep giving for generations to come.”

Sometimes endowments are created because “matching” funds are available from large arts or heritage groups. “These larger organizations have an interest in ensuring the long term viability of smaller, local groups and see an endowment fund as a way of helping,” continues Carruthers.

For example, the Sid Williams Theatre Society created an endowment fund with the CVCF in 2008 and received matching grants from the BC Arts Renaissance Program and the City of Courtenay. “Some people want to help us with current needs and so they make donations directly to the SWTS,” says SWTS President Wayne Anderson. “Others want to make a longer lasting contribution and in those cases, it’s great to have our CVC Foundation endowment.”

Many charities with small endowments find that it makes good financial sense to create an endowment with the CVCF. “There are economies of scale to be enjoyed when you are part of a much larger fund,” says Carruthers. “Pooling all of our investments into one large fund gives us greater leverage and often means paying much lower fees as a result.”

To learn more about the Comox Valley Community Foundation and agency endowment funds, please visit the CVCF website at