Whistler Community Foundation
Founded in 1999
We invest in a thriving community where charities have a long term source of stable funding to support their full range of programs and services. As the only local option for creating a permanent personal legacy for your community, we help you to support the causes that you care about.
Our Mission and Vision
Whistler Community Foundation is the steward of money gifted to the community and provides grants in the areas of environment, arts & culture, social service and education.
Our vision is to be impactful in supporting the charities and organizations that address evolving community needs.
Whistler Community Foundation
PO Box 1184 Whistler, BC V0N 1B0
Ackhurst Rotary Club of Whistler Fund
In 2013 the Whistler Community Foundation received a bequest from Mr. Gordon Bishop in memory of his daughter, Jill Ackhurst. Jill Ackhurst, who passed away in 2003, was an active community volunteer. She was a dedicated member of the Rotary Club and not only served her local community, but also took on projects internationally, including a home for street youth in Tanzania. Mr. Bishop wished for a portion of his bequest to support the Rotary Club of Whistler in memory of Jill and this fund was created to honour his request. All the earnings from the fund support the Rotary Club of Whistler’s international work. www.whistler-rotary.org
Arts & Culture Legacy Fund
Arts Whistler is a registered charity established in 1982 with the goal of weaving arts and culture into the fabric of the Whistler community. We advocate for the arts, local artists, and the local community, providing opportunities for people to have access to bold, inspiring, and engaging experiences in the arts community. Arts Whistler is the community’s umbrella arts organization, playing a significant leadership role in arts advocacy and cultural development. www.artswhistler.com
Established by the Board of Directors of the Whistler Community Foundation, this is a flexible fund that provides the foundation with the ability to support the current needs of the community as well as needs that may emerge in the future.
Deborah Smythe Family Fund
Debbie, a long time Whistler Community Foundation Board Member and community supporter decided to take her involvement to the next level and start an endowment fund that will provide grants to local charities each year.
The purpose of this fund is to provide emergency assistance to individuals living in Whistler or Pemberton who have experienced loss due to an emergency. The Whistler Community Foundation is proud to work with Whistler Community Services Society to distribute funds to those going through a difficult time.
Jill Ackhurst Social Action Fund
Jill Ackhurst was a leader in the Whistler Community. She dedicated herself to community development and embodied a hands-on approach to resolving social issues in the Sea to Sky Corridor.
She was chair of Whistler Community Services and an active Rotarian. Jill worked on tobacco reduction programs, aboriginal health care, and issues affecting youth. For Jill, the entire globe was her community. Together with her husband Peter, she planned a home for street children in Tanzania.
In 2003 Jill died of cancer at the age of 57 years.
The Jill Ackhurst Social Action Fund was created in her memory with donations from Jill’s family, Whistler Community Services Society, Mountain Law Corporation, the Whistler Village Church, and the Rotary Club of Whistler Millennium.
This endowment fund supports projects that identify and resolve community health and social issues. Donations to this endowment fund are invested and the income generates annual grants that support initiatives in the community.
Since the fund was created it has supported programs for at-risk youth, brought First Nations culture to youth, supported women’s health education, provided emergency housing, funded a suicide awareness and prevention program, funded mental health awareness programs, and anti-bullying programs.
Literary Arts Legacy Fund
The Whistler Writing Society (TWWS) is a charitable organization providing inclusive, equitable access to the literary arts in the Sea to Sky Corridor. TWWS creates connections between readers and writers to diverse, Canadian storytellers and their ideas, and provides opportunities for local writers to develop their craft within the community. Donations to this fund support the operations of the Society’s programs, including the Whistler Writers Festival, Authors in the Schools program, Whistler Writer in Residence program, Spring Reading Series and more.
Marlene Siemens Callanish Society Fund
This fund was created in 2010 by Marlene Siemens to support the Callanish Society. The Callanish Society is a small, grassroots non-profit organization dedicated to improving the emotional and spiritual health of our communities by assisting families with cancer, and their health care providers, to explore illness and/or death openly and consciously. Weeklong retreats and ongoing support programs are offered by a team of health care professionals and volunteers who believe that communities can develop resilience in the face of illness and healing, loss and death, by coming together in a process of authentic dialogue and in an in-depth exploration of what it means to heal emotionally and spiritually while living with, or dying from, cancer. www.callanish.org
Mischa Arnott Fund
The Mischa Arnott Fund provides support to the Spearhead Huts Society. It was Mischa’s wish to one day return to these very mountains to climb and ski and watch pikas scramble through the boulders. As such, there is a dedicated youth bunk room and mountain education project established in her name by her parents Doug and Renata, sister Esme, and many generous donors at the Kees and Claire Memorial Hut. This legacy project welcomes youth to participate in the hut and surrounding environment, introducing and educating young people to the beauty of these mountains, and how these experiences can change lives forever. Mountain travel and safety, art, music, and naturalist camps, and even short respite stays for other youth on difficult life journeys are also envisioned.
Moving Mountains for Children Fund
The purposes of this fund are to support charitable organizations whose activities help children and youth, ages 0-18 and their families in Whistler. Funds can go towards Early Childhood Educators learning opportunities, capital assets for childcare centres/programs, or seed funding for new child development programs to become established.
Operating Endowment Fund
In 2002, an Operating Endowment Fund was created with a gift from Past President Nancy Wilhelm-Morden and her husband Ted Morden. The purpose of the fund is for the Whistler Community Foundation to use income generated for operating support or other charitable purposes as the current Board of Directors deems necessary. These funds are used to further the Foundation’s objective and purpose.
Pemberton Community Fund
The Pemberton Community Fund was created in 2003 by residents of the Community of Pemberton who wished to see a sustainable source of funding for charitable organizations to meet the needs of the communities of Pemberton, Mt. Currie, Birken and D’Arcy. The Pemberton residents who created the fund identified immediate and long range needs in the communities. Some specific examples of community needs include local youth programs, helping to reduce the fundraising load on parents, recreation programs, services for women, and amenities for seniors.
Pemberton Community Endowment Fund
The Pemberton Community Endowment Fund was created in 2011 by the Pemberton Chamber of Commerce, with contributions from Pemberton Valley Supermarket, RONA (Pemberton Valley Hardware), Pemberton Pharmacy, Pemberton Rotary Club, and Pemberton Lions Club. This fund assists donors in realizing their philanthropic goals and supports project and programs that leave a long term legacy for the community. Some specific examples include funding for the Pemberton Skate Park, Mt Currie soccer tournament, Xit’olacw Community School Fish Camp, and Sea to Sky Community Services Society Pemberton Parent Tot program.
Terry and Barb Deutscher Fund
The purposes of the Fund are to support charitable activities in the Sea to Sky Area with a focus on children, immigrants and new Canadians.
Barb and Terry Deutscher have been active volunteers in the Whistler community since their recent retirement. While getting to know the community by being part of the library board and mayor’s task forces they set up the Barb and Terry Deutscher Fund to make a contribution to the betterment of the Whistler community. In doing so, they also wanted to set a good example for their two grandchildren young grandchildren about the impact that giving has on their community.
The Deutscher family strongly believes in the importance of supporting young children. Terry says, “Most of my career was in education, and I believe that’s always a good investment.” And a second area that the Deutscher family wanted to focus their support on is newcomers to Canada, and specifically the Sea to Sky. “This isn’t an easy area to move into, so we’re pleased to be able to offer a bit of help to people just getting started here.”
Sea to Sky Hospice Society Fund
The Sea to Sky Hospice Society provides support to improve the quality of life for people of all cultures with life limiting illness, their loved ones and the bereaved throughout the Sea to Sky Corridor. www.seatoskyhospicesociety.ca
Whistler Adaptive Sports Endowment
Whistler Adaptive is committed to introducing individuals with a disability to sport, recreation and therapeutic sport programming. Whistler Adaptive supports sport for life by breaking down the financial, physical and social barriers as well as creating skills that will lead to future employment within sport and beyond. Programs are accessible to both children and adults with cognitive and physical disabilities. Whistler Adaptive serves locals in its community and visitors from across Canada and around the globe. www.whistleradaptive.com
Whistler Animals Galore Fund
Whistler Animals Galore (WAG) is a not for profit animal shelter and rehabilitation center. Our mission is to provide a safe and nurturing environment to homeless and lost dogs and cats in our community and to be advocates in finding their forever homes. WAG places a strong emphasis on rehabilitation, critical, and compassionate care. www.whistlerwag.com
Whistler Blackcomb Foundation Fund
This fund was created in 2001 by the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation. The purpose of the fund is to support projects and activities for the benefit of children, youth and families in the local community. The Whistler Blackcomb Foundation Fund supports the Community Grants Program.
Whistler Film Festival Society Fund
The Whistler Film Festival Society (WFFS) is a charitable, not-for-profit cultural and educational organization committed to celebrating, promoting, and developing a strong film industry in Western Canada, and to showcase the best films from Canada and around the world. WFFS produces one of Canada’s leading film festivals and plays a leadership role in offering professional development programs and opportunities for film makers. Donations to this fund help support the operations of the WFFS. whistlerfilmfestival.com
Whistler and Pemberton Big Brothers Big Sisters Fund
This registered charity fund was created by Ted Morden a long serving director of the Whistler and Pemberton Big Brothers and Sisters Society. The purpose of the fund is to support the operations of Big Brothers and Big Sisters programming in the Sea to Sky Corridor.
Whistler Public Library Fund
The Whistler Public Library, also known as Whistler’s Living Room, is housed in an environmentally efficient, award-winning building in the heart of Whistler Village. The library provides access to a collection of over 49,000 items. The library also offers audiobooks, video games, magazines and online databases. The library hosts weekly programming for patrons from birth to adulthood and provides 24-hour wireless access both inside and out of the library, computer access, printing, copying and scanning to email, and rental space for individuals and organizations. This fund helps support the Library’s operations.
Whistler Museum Building Fund
The Whistler Museum and Archives Society is fundraising for a new facility to replace its current temporary structure. The new facility will cover 10,000 to 14,200 square feet and provide more space for exhibits and better storage of artefacts and archival material. The total cost is estimated at $7.1 million, and the organization hopes to raise $9 million.
A 60-year lease agreement for an expanded site in Florence Petersen Park was signed with the Resort Municipality of Whistler in January 2023. The new facility will enable WMAS to better serve the community and preserve Whistler’s history for future generations.
Whistler Museum and Archives Society Fund
The mission of the Whistler Museum is to collect, preserve, document and interpret the natural and human history of mountain life – with an emphasis on Whistler – and to provide a forum in which to present an innovative range of exhibitions and education programs to enrich the lives of residents and guests. The Whistler Museum will be a leading centre for the collection, preservation, documentation, interpretation and celebration of Whistler’s mountain life. This fund supports the Museum’s operations.
Whistler Search and Rescue Fund
The Whistler Search and Rescue (WSAR) Society is a registered non-profit organization in the province of British Columbia. Its primary function is that of a community resource to assist the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and other agencies in a variety of search and rescue functions including civil emergencies, and promotes public education in mountain and wilderness safety. This fund helps support the operations of WSAR.
Whistler Youth Foundation Fund
The Whistler Youth Foundation Fund is dedicated to supporting youth-oriented programs through grants and volunteerism. The Whistler Youth Foundation Fund Committee is composed of local youth who provide input into the grants awarded from the fund. Grants generated by the Whistler Youth Foundation Fund support projects by youth and projects that benefit youth.
Zero Ceiling Society Fund
Zero Ceiling Society’s purpose is to provide at-risk and homeless youth with housing, employment, professional support and adventure-based learning that empowers them to live healthy and independent lives. Zero Ceiling believes that mountain experiences are powerful agents for change. All young people should get the chance to breathe mountain air, hear the scrape of a board on snow, feel earth below feet, and wind whooshing past their ears. They should also be given the chance to learn the value of working hard and to feel the pride that comes from building a self-supportive life. Our purpose is to give our youth fresh perspective: a glimpse of the vast and impressive natural world that exists out there, and the confidence and skills to know life has zero ceiling. www.zeroceiling.org
Bob and Sue Adams Leadership Fund
Since making Whistler their home in 1988, Bob and Sue Adams have immersed themselves in community life. Here is where they built their businesses and became fixtures on nearly every board and volunteer community organization in Whistler and Pemberton. They have mentored dozens of individuals into becoming business and community leaders.
The Bob and Sue Adams Leadership Fund provides grants to support the professional development of those in the community who work or volunteer for local charities. The fund also supports scholarships to graduating students in the Whistler and Pemberton. The focus for scholarships will be to support students pursuing community development, social work, psychology, or business studies.
Chili Thom Memorial Scholarship
Chili Thom was a community volunteer and a strong advocate for the arts and culture community. He made a connection between sport, nature, and fine art and captured the spirit of the Sea to Sky with his dreamy imagery and wild at heart perspective. After a courageous and spirited fight, Chili lost his battle with cancer on November 30, 2016.
The Chili Thom Memorial Scholarship Fund was created after a month long Whistler community celebration of the artist, held in June of 2017. Arts Whistler Presents: The Chili Thom Experience lit up 5 of Whistler’s cultural buildings with Chili’s art and soul: The Audain Art Museum, Maury Young Arts Centre, Whistler Museum, The Whistler Public Library and the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre.
The Chili Thom Memorial Scholarship supports students and/or community members in the Sea to Sky Community who are pursuing the brave, expressive and divine calling of being a professional artist. Funds may be used toward post-secondary formal education in the arts, to purchase arts supplies, attend workshops, or for other activities that support the applicant’s development in the arts.
Doug and Mary Forseth Scholarship
Created by long term Whistler residents Doug and Mary Forseth, this scholarship supports graduating students in the Sea to Sky region who are pursuing post-secondary education in field related to tourism and hospitality.
Grad Legacy Scholarship
The Grad Legacy Scholarship was established in 2015 by the 2014 Graduation Organizing Committee at Whistler Secondary School. The committee and graduating students worked hard to raise money for their graduation ceremonies. By the end of the school year, they raised approximately $30,000. After expenses, the students have $12,000 remaining. One student, Lauren Doak, came up with the idea of creating a scholarship for someone in the school district in financial need. The group decided to use $9,500 to set up the scholarship fund. In 2019, the graduating class decided to add $6789 from their fundraising efforts and plan to challenge future classes to keep the endowment growing. The scholarships will be awarded based on financial need and the desire to go to school, rather than grades.
Kathy Barnett Memorial Fund
This fund was established in 2008 by Bob Barnett in memory of Kathy Barnett. The fund was also created with significant support from the Whistler Community Foundation, Kathy’s family, friends and colleagues. Kathy was a strong, community oriented woman who gave of herself for the betterment of others. Together with her husband, Kathy founded Pique Newsmagazine. She was a founding director of the Whistler Community Foundation, past Chair of the Whistler Chamber of Commerce and, among other accomplishments, an appointee to the provincial Ministry of Small Business and Revenue’s roundtable on small business.
The fund provides leadership grants to women living in the Sea to Sky Corridor. The grants are intended to support women who work with local charities and who wish to pursue professional development opportunities that will be used to give back to their charity and improve the quality of life in the Sea to Sky Corridor.
Kelty & Riley Dennehy Scholarship Fund
The Kelty & Riley Dennehy Scholarship Fund was created by Ginny & Kerry Dennehy and the Kelty Patrick Dennehy Foundation in honour of their two children Kelty and Riley. On March 2, 2001 they lost their 17-year-old son Kelty after a short battle with depression. That same year, the Dennehy family created the Kelty Patrick Dennehy Foundation to help those that suffer from depression as well as their friends and family.
Tragedy hit the Dennehy family again in 2009 when Riley died of a heart attack from strong medication prescribed to manage the pain for a separated shoulder. The scholarships generated by the Kelty & Riley Dennehy Scholarship Fund are intended to support students graduating from secondary schools in Whistler. The scholarships will be awarded to students who stand out in unique ways, beyond academics.
Sarah McSeveney Scholarship Fund
Sarah McSeveney was a beloved teacher at the Whistler Children’s Centre. With her warm and positive demeanor, Sarah touched the lives of many families. Sara was a lifelong learner, a fervent advocate for high quality early childhood education, and had a thirst for knowledge. Sarah died suddenly and tragically in a car crash in October 2005. Her family, friends and coworkers created a scholarship fund for Early Childhood Educators at the Whistler Community Foundation to honour her memory.
Walter Zebrowski Memorial Rotary Scholarship
Wladyslaw (Walter) Zebrowski was a man with a vision and moved to Whistler in the late sixties. Whistler barely existed. There was no highway, no electricity, no running water. There was only a beautiful mountain waiting to be discovered. He loved his community and wanted to make a difference. He was hard working and expressed his opinions openly.
Walter Zebrowski is considered to be one of the founding fathers of Whistler. He exemplified outstanding citizenship, resourcefulness and determination. Walter founded several Whistler institutions including the Garibaldi Whistler Development Company, Whistler Water Works Company, Whistler Television Society, was a charter member of the Rotary Club of Whistler and co-founder of the Chamber of Commerce and Whistler Volunteer Fire Department. He was an active member of the community.
The Walter Zebrowski Rotary Scholarship Fund will be awarded to one male and one female graduate who demonstrates Walter’s values of community, leadership, responsibility, initiative, entrepreneurship and perseverance.
It is the hope of Walter’s friends and family that through this scholarship the history of Wladyslaw (Walter) Zebrowski and Whistler Mountain will live on.
Wendy Thompson Scholarship
Wendy Thompson was a strong, outdoor-oriented young woman who served as a ski patroller in Whistler, a paramedic with the BC Ambulance Service in Whistler and Vancouver, and as a volunteer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. She was an active mountain biker and hiker. Ms. Thompson died when a British Columbia Ambulance Service flight crashed into the ocean at the north end of the Queen Charlotte Islands. At the time of her death, she was on the ambulance service’s Infant Transport Team, since she loved children and young people. This scholarship fund for students pursuing an education in Outdoor Education/Leadership was established in her memory by her parents Michael and Shirley Thompson.
Bursaries for Sea to Sky Corridor students taking Outdoor Education classes in high school are also available through this fund.
Whistler Scholarship Society Fund
The Whistler Scholarship Fund was created in 1989 by volunteers in the community. In the early 1980s community members got together to raise money for scholarships for graduating students.
AWARE Environmental Fund
AWARE is a member driven charity that works to protect the natural environment in Whistler and the Sea to Sky through advocacy and speaking up about key environmental issues, while empowering others to do the same through science-based research and education. We work towards a vision of a knowledgeable community that is engaged and empowered to preserve and enhance the environment on which it depends. www.awarewhistler.org
Environmental Legacy Fund
Established in 2001, ELF was the Foundation’s first, largest and fastest growing fund. The fund was created through annual grants from the Resort Municipality of Whistler’s collected landfill tipping fees. Its goal is to finance charitable organizations whose programs and projects provide environmental benefits to the Community of Whistler.