Rotary supporting YWCA Banff emergency shelter project

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It has been over a year since the Canmore Rotary Club decided to sell its half ownership in a Spring Creek Mountain Village condo property known as Rotary House, and the local community organization has now decided where it would like to invest the proceeds of that sale – in the Banff YWCA’s women’s emergency shelter project.

Rotary member Hans Helder spoke about the process the organization went through to decide what project in the Bow Valley would benefit most from the funding during a recent Canmore council meeting.

Helder was in front of local elected officials because when it originally engaged in fundraising for Rotary House, council of the day provided $40,000, but if the unit was sold, the money was to be returned.

Council decided to put the $40,000 in a restricted reserve fund to allow the Rotary Club to return with a recommended alternate use.

“As a Rotary Club we have been working diligently for the last 15 months to identify a project,” Helder said.

The process to find a new project didn’t just involve the $40,000 in municipal funding, but $200,000 Canmore Rotary received when it sold its half ownership stake in the condo to the Calgary Scope Society, a non-profit group that shared use of the unit. Scope provides supports for individuals with development disabilities and their families, including the opportunity to take a break and come to Canmore for a weekend.

Helder said the club was impressed with the work, research and preparation that has gone into the YWCA Banff’s project.

“Our club membership voted unanimously to support the YWCA initiative to establish a women’s shelter and transitional housing facility in the Bow Valley,” Helder said. “We are proud of the decision and very proud to partner with the YWCA on their initiative to support the most vulnerable women and children in the Bow Valley.”

Helder requested council consider contributing the $40,000 in the restricted reserve toward the YWCA project as well, as it is consistent with the original intent and purpose for which the grant was provided. Council voted in support at its most recent January meeting.

As a result, with matching funds, it means Canmore Rotary would help the YWCA raise $482,000 towards its goal.

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Rocky Mountain Outlook