Pacific Rim Foundation and Clayoquot Biosphere Trust announce Community Foundation Partnership

(L to R) Rebecca Hurwitz, executive director of the CBT, Cathy Thicke, co-chair of the CBT, Gary Marks, President of the PRF, and Aaron Rodgers, Director of the PRF.

The Pacific Rim Foundation (PRF) and the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust (CBT) are excited to announce a new partnership through which the PRF has transferred their scholarship endowment fund to the CBT, the regional community foundation.

Since 2009, the PRF has provided an annual scholarship to a graduating Ucluelet Secondary School student. The PRF will continue to deliver the scholarship annually based on their established criteria; meanwhile CBT will manage the endowment fund and provide the PRF with an annual dividend to support local students.

“The intent the partnership is to reduce duplication while achieving our shared philanthropic goals,” says Rebecca Hurwitz, Executive Director of the CBT. “We are excited to manage the fund investment and administration so that the PRF can focus on delivering the annual scholarship.”

The CBT was established in 2000 when Clayoquot Sound was designated a UNESCO Biosphere. At that time, the Government of Canada entrusted a $12M endowment to the organization to support sustainable development initiatives. Nearly two decades later, the CBT has grown the Canada Fund to more than $17M while supporting research, education, granting for local projects including its own annual post-secondary scholarships. Since becoming a community foundation in 2012, the CBT manages six other funds established by local donors. The generous gift from PRF marks a significant milestone in CBT’s development as a community foundation.

“I am impressed with what the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust has become and look forward to this partnership over many years,” says David Close, a director of the PRF. The foundation was established anonymously by David’s brother, Richard “Dick” Close with the purpose of motivating local students and families to reach their post-secondary education goals. Dick believed in the importance of volunteerism and the PRF scholarship celebrates the contributions of young people to the well-being of the world. While he was highly respected for his support of our communities, Dick Close’s identity as the award’s benefactor remained anonymous until his death in 2016. In 2018, Close’s estate bequeathed $1.4 million to the Pacific Rim Foundation and the Tofino Hospital Foundation. “We now embark on this next phase in the life of the PRF as partners with the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust,” says David.

The CBT has been recognized as a leader in ethical investing in the community foundations sector, and all of its endowed funds have been fossil fuel free since 2012. By prioritizing social and environmental values in its investments, the CBT ensures returns are not generated by activities that contribute to the global issues it seeks to resolve locally. The CBT can provide the benefits of a diverse investment portfolio and low investment fees by pooling the PRF funds with its other endowments.

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