The Gift that Keeps on Giving

Takeaways from the 2024 BCF Community Grants Program

Each spring, as the ground turns green and the days stretch long, projects from across the Bow Valley receive funding through the BCF Community Grants Program. While the snow may be gone, the energy and excitement around giving and receiving such significant gifts makes this feel like a special time of year.

“It’s like Christmas!” says Sandy Last, who has spent six years on the Board of Banff Canmore Foundation both as a Director and Program Committee Member. Sandy has been part of the adjudication process for the Community Grants program every year since 2019, a process that gives the Review Committee as much joy as the grant recipients themselves.

“It's pretty exciting to see what comes in,” she says. “It gives us real insight into what the Bow Valley’s needs are as a community. And being able to support those needs by making decisions about funding and investing money in great projects is a satisfying process.”

The annual cycle starts in the Fall when the call for applications goes out and organizations begin pulling their ideas into tangible proposals. In Late Winter, the Review Committee gets to work, dutifully evaluating every application against a scoring matrix that includes impact on the community, project readiness, and connection to the community priorities identified by BCF.

“The applicants give a lot of thoughtful consideration to the projects that they propose, and we spend a lot of time evaluating what they have told us,” says Sandy. “It’s a big commitment, and we’re grateful for everyone involved—donors, applicants, and volunteers alike!”

This year, 24 local organizations received a total of more than $180,000. BCF works with these grant recipients to build impact, drive system-level change and to enhance the lives of all who live in this spectacular place.



Our sincere thanks to the Wim & Nancy Pauw Foundation for their continued support of the BCF Community Grants Program. Their partnership ensures donor contributions have the greatest impact possible.”

— Laurie Edward, Executive Director

Truth and Reconciliation

This year saw a significant increase in the number of applications in support of Truth and Reconciliation, a testament to the work being done to advance equity and inclusion, strengthen relationships between Indigenous people and settlers, and create opportunities to increase Indigenous cultural awareness and learning throughout the Bow Valley.

  • Alpine Club of Canada: Funding to support training for staff to build better understanding of Indigenous rights and Truth and Reconciliation.
  • artsPlace, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, and Canmore Folk Music Festival: Support for artistic programs and events that amplify Indigenous voices and perspectives.
  • Bowstrings Heritage Foundation and Canmore Museum: Support for programs that empower Indigenous peoples to reclaim and tell the stories of this land.
Nahanni tepee
Mental Health BCF

Mental Health and Wellness

While applications related to food security have decreased since the pandemic, BCF saw an increase in the number of applications in support of mental health initiatives this year, showing the need for more resources and meaningful relationship-building in the Bow Valley.

  • Îyârhe Nakoda Food Bank Society: Funding to provide food hamper assistance and nutrition education in Stoney Nakoda communities.
  • Banff Meals on Wheels, Banff Food & Friends Program, and Daycare Society of Banff: Funding for programs that fight food insecurity and isolation by providing nutritious meals to share with friends and neighbours.
  • Canmore Young Adult Network (CYAN): Support for programs that connect young adults to each other and to mental health resources in the Bow Valley.


Climate Action

Big shifts require big investment, and that’s true when it comes to supporting the protection and restoration of the natural environment. While BCF didn’t receive many applications for energy and climate-related initiatives, the few they did receive are big. Really big.

  • Biosphere Institute of the Bow Valley: Funding for programs and events that support the building and development industry in reducing emissions from buildings.

The quality of projects receiving funding this year is promising but it’s clear there is much work to be done to enhance quality of life and create belonging for all. You can get involved by subscribing to BCF’s monthly newsletter and by contributing to the BCF Community Fund.


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