Our History

History of the Nanaimo Foundation

The Nanaimo Community Foundation (operating now as the Nanaimo Foundation) was formed in 1982 to provide funds for charitable causes on Vancouver Island.

The Nanaimo Foundation (originally the Nanaimo Community Foundation) was established and funded by members of the board for the Associated Canadian Travelers Nanaimo Club (ACT). In a meeting with the Vancouver Foundation, ACT Directors Stan Dyde, Jim Bonner, Nels Horth and Lloyd Sproule were advised that the best way to handle a capital fund balance of $200,000 and a piece of property worth $235,000 was to make a founding contribution to a new foundation in Nanaimo. Their original intention had been to donate this to the Vancouver Foundation. Thus, at a special meeting on Dec. 4, 1981 the ACT members voted unanimously to form the Nanaimo Community Foundation and at a meeting on Jan 8, 1982 the Nanaimo Community Foundation was incorporated with a founding contribution of $435,000 in cash and property.

The donated property was sold in the mid 1990’s for approximately $500,000 and in 2007, on the 25th Anniversary of the Foundation, the Estate of Nels and Cleta Horth made a bequest of approximately $900,000 to the Foundation. This bequest plus the founding contribution formed the core of Nanaimo Foundation assets.

During the ensuring years, monies earned on investments have been used to help fund worthy endeavours of charitable organizations throughout Central Vancouver Island.

In 2013, the board of directors recognized the need to identify the geographic area of the Foundation’s service as School District 68 (Communities of Ladysmith, Gabriola Island, Cedar, Lantzville and Nanaimo) so as to increase the effectiveness of Nanaimo Foundation grants.

The original vision of the organization, to increase principal assets so as to affect positive change by increasing annual charitable contributions to the community, is, and will continue to be, the singular objective of the Nanaimo Foundation.

The Nanaimo Community Foundation is a non-government, non-profit registered charity.

History of Board of Directors

The first board of directors consisted of two members of the Associated Canadian Travellers plus three members from the community at large.

While the Associated Canadian Travellers (ACT) did not control the Nanaimo Community Foundation, a close relationship based in shared directors continued through its early years to help steward initial funding of $435,000 which was donated by the ACT Club to establish the Nanaimo Foundation.

Members of the first board of directors included Stan Dyde and Jim Bonner who represented the ACT, and Chuck Madill, Doug Robinson and Dr. Don McKerricher representing Community Members. Oliver Neaves, retired Bursar from Malaspina College became the first Administrator. Lloyd Sproule, Legal Advisor to the foundation was instrumental in drafting the first Constitution of the Nanaimo Community Foundation. Other long time board members included Gordon Hussey, Scott Currie, Howard Johnson, Jane Gregory and David Hart. Additionally, Peter Guest, Lorne Hildebrand, Bob Rowledge and Sandra Thomson served on the board.

Presently, the board of directors includes Ted Carson, Tom Harris, George Hanson, Daniel Martinez, Jocelyn Matwe, Tim Mawdsley, Joyce Smith and Michael Wasserman.

Foundation Growth

During the first 30 years, the assets of the Nanaimo Foundation gradually increased to approximately $1.7 million through donations from numerous sources along with another $1 million in endowments, which the Nanaimo Foundation manages to benefit the Port Theatre and the Nanaimo & District Museum societies.

A percentage of monies earned by the Nanaimo Foundation on its investments is awarded in grants each year. Thus, in addition to helping to fund worthy projects in the community, the capital assets of the Foundation are managed to ensure modest growth for continuing capacity to provide grants to local charities. Substantial growth of Nanaimo Foundation capacity to positively influence charitable activity in greater Nanaimo depends on bequests and donations from organizations, businesses, and individuals.

In 2012, the Nanaimo Foundation board of directors recognized that the time was right for significant further development of the Foundation’s resources to meet the increased needs of the greater Nanaimo community, which has grown substantially since the inception of the Nanaimo Foundation. With renewed vigor and commitment to asset growth commensurate with the needs and opportunities of this growing community, the Foundation’s directors developed and implemented a plan to attract and manage the resources necessary to help grow a healthy, vibrant, livable, and sustainable Greater Nanaimo community.