BVCF accepting applications for learning awards

Community foundation to out hand out $15,000 in grants for students

The Bulkley Valley Community Foundation (BVCF) is now accepting applications for their learning awards.

This year, the plan is to hand out $15,000 in funding support for local students planning post-secondary studies. There will be funding available for grade 12 graduates and adults entering any year of their post-secondary programs.

BVCF started giving out learning awards in 2012 and six graduates from Smithers, Houston and Hazelton were given a total of $3,000.

The pot since then has risen to five times that amount.

“We were able to increase total funding because of good investment performance in 2019,” said BVCF president Jill Dunbar. “However, we are expecting a higher number of applications this year and are pleased to accept donations of any amount towards our learning awards program on behalf of local students.”

She added the goal is to support Bulkley Valley students in pursuing their educational goals.

“We want to help students become active participants, involved citizens and leaders in their communities. Therefore our awards are based on volunteer work, achievements, community and leadership activities. Financial need and academic accomplishments are secondary to these criteria,” she said.

This will be the second year BVCF is offering the Fritz Pfeiffer adult learning awards. They are for adults who are planning to begin or continue post-secondary studies. Dunbar said areas of study related to forestry, banking and trades are preferred, but all areas of study will be considered.

“Last year’s recipients were Madison Beblow, Molly Brawdy and Emma Cuell,” she said. “We awarded $4,500 total to these three students. This year, we plan to award $5,000, divided between two to four recipients. Up to $2,000 each.

“The foundation is also offering Grade 12 learning awards for students from across the Bulkley Valley. For 2020 these awards have been increased to $1,000 each and we will give seven of them.”

And on behalf of the Wetzin’kwa Community Forest Corporation, three Grade 12 learning awards of $1,000 each are up for grabs.

Dunbar added that with the COVID-19 pandemic the directors recognize there will be a greater need for student funding assistance this year and that student plans will be more volatile.

“We decided to proceed with offering our learning awards without delay,” she said. “We are aware that some students may have difficulties applying online so we created an application package that can be filled in by hand and submitted by mail. Students have 18 months to claim their awards so there is built-in flexibility if plans to go to school need to be postponed.”

The application deadline for all awards is May 15.

Smithers

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