The Community Foundation of Southeastern Alberta is a unique non-profit charity that focuses on building community and supporting projects through donor contributions. The charitable organization has three pillars: to grow, to give and to inspire. Niki Gray, acting executive director of CFSEA, spoke to the news to explain more. “We grow by building an endowment, we accept donors contributions to the endowment. What makes us different from other organizations is that we never spend the donations that are made to the community foundation, we invest them, and it's just the investment revenue that we then grant back out to the community, which is our grow pillar,” explained Gray. “Our third pillar is we inspire, so that is based on community engagement. We run a vital event each year through our community leadership committee and through these different events we research the community's greatest needs ... and that helps us determine what the community foundations granting priorities are from year to year.” CFSEA was established in 1992 with a $25,000 donation and made by founder John Igantius. When he passed away in 2000, over $2.4 million was donated from his estate. Recently, two other large bequests came in, both over $2 million . CFSEA has two different granting streams. “The Community Impact Award is a $25,000 grant awarded to non-profit organizations and registered charities who are working to build up a community,” said Gray. “Whether it's through a specific project or innovative idea that they are working towards in supporting the demographic that they deal with.” “The Smart and Caring Community Grant is a maximum of $25,000 dollar grant and it is mainly for new innovative projects, ongoing projects that organizations are wanting to enhance,” Gray said. “Our granting priorities for 2020-21 were mental health, vulnerable populations, particularly youth and substance abuse as well as working economy.” Gray says they are different from other organizations because they don't do fundraising, but rather strive to support organizations that do. “Through our Legacy Giving Program which is actually called the Heritage Club, individuals have that opportunity to include CFSEA in their estate plans and leave a legacy that will last forever,” said Gray. “Their donations will continue to support the community today, tomorrow, forever.” You can find out more at www.cfsea.ca.
, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News