The Burns Lake and District Community Foundation donates $3,000 to the Lakes District Arts Council in 2017. (Lakes District News file photo)

Helping the Burns Lake community for 13 years

In its 13 years of existence, the Burns Lake and District Community Foundation Society (BLDCFS) has distributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to local group projects.

Foundation president Bernice Magee spoke with Lakes District News on Sept. 10 on the occasion of September being declared Community Foundations Month by the province of British Columbia.

Magee launched and registered the foundation in 2006, during her tenure as mayor of Burns Lake from 2002-2011.

“I was really interested in the whole idea of a community foundation. When I met with representatives from the Prince George Community Foundation, the Northern Development Initiative Trust (NDIT) came out with a program of matching initial contributions,” she said.

The group started out with $25,000 from the Burns Lake Community Forest, which was matched by the NDIT and also by the Vancouver Community Foundation.

“Now we’re under the umbrella of the Prince George Community Foundation. That makes it easier for building capacity.”

Since 2006 the BLDCFS has distributed more than $225,000 to various community projects.

“It grows through donations. It can’t grow through interest because we spend the interest and it is put back into the community,” she said.

The foundation accepts applications from organized groups for projects related to youth, health, education, arts and culture, and others. its contributions have gone to children or youth-focused projects. Magee estimates that the organization helps fund 10-15 projects per year, depending on how many applications are received.

Some of the many groups it has helped include the Lakes District Fall Fair, Lakes Literacy, the Burns Lake Mountain Biking Association and the Burns Lake Public Library.

Last year it received $100,000 from RioTinto Alcan for the purpose of helping out members of the community negatively affected by the 2018 wildfires. Some of the recipients of that funding were the Ootsa Lake Bible Camp, Lakes District Family Enhancement Society, and Southside Health and Wellness.

The BLDCFS also funds on an annual basis two scholarships at Lakes District Secondary School, which are awarded to well-rounded students who plan to enroll in post-secondary schooling.

All donations to the foundation are charitable gifts and qualify for tax receipts.

While Magee is proud of what the BLDCFS has accomplished for the community, she remembers the global financial crisis of 2008 as a challenging year for the foundation.

“We rely on interest being earned on the principal. In 2008 when everything went down we didn’t have money to spend.”

Looking ahead, Magee hopes the foundation’s current principal of $750,000 can grow to around $1 million.

“The fact that we’ve been able to put over $225,000 back into community projects is a pretty big feat in itself. We are 11 volunteers that give freely of our time to administer this fund.”

For more information on the foundation, visit its website at

Blair McBride
Multimedia reporter
Send Blair an email
Like Lakes District News on Facebook

Just Posted

Judge reserves sentencing until Dec. 9 in Giesbrecht trial

Crown asks for 12-15 years of parole ineligibility

Voter turnout in elections rising, data shows

If Canadians keep up their voting patterns seen since 2008, more people… Continue reading

Metlakatla, Lax Kw’alaams, Nisga’a and Haisla commit to fight climate change internationally

First Nations launch Northwest Coast First Nations Collaborative Climate Initiative

Lakes Literacy expands to Granisle

The Lakes Literacy program in September expanded its book mail-out program for… Continue reading

Breaking ground for new water plant

A ground breaking ceremony was held on Oct. 3 to mark the… Continue reading

VIDEO: #MeToo leader launches new hashtag to mobilize voters

Tarana Burke hopes to prompt moderators to ask about sexual violence at next debate

Cheating husband sues mistress for gifted ring after wife learns about affair

The husband gave his mistress $1,000 to buy herself a ring in December 2017

British couple vacationing in Vancouver detained in US after ‘accidentally’ crossing border

Parents travelling with three-month-old reportedly being held in Pennsylvania

After losing two baby boys, B.C. parents hope to cut through the taboo of infant death

Oct. 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day in B.C.

Alberta to join B.C.’s class-action lawsuit against opioid manufacturers, distributors

B.C. government claims opioids were falsely marketed as less addictive than other pain meds

VIDEO: Trudeau, Singh posture for ‘progressive’ votes while Scheer fights in Quebec

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, whose party has been on the rise in recent polls, is campaigning in Toronto

Advance voter turnout up 25% for first two days: Elections Canada

Two million people voted Friday and Saturday

Okanagan principals told to confiscate vaping products from students

Vaping is up 74 per cent in youth over the last two years, according to one Canadian study

‘Rather mild’ winter expected in B.C. this year

Northwestern B.C. will be the worst hit

Most Read