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Abbotsford Community Foundation celebrates 40th anniversary

Organization started with substantial donation from Alan and Vivian Trethewey
Vivan Trethewey is a dedicated supporter of the Abbotsford Community Foundation, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. (Submitted photo)

The Abbotsford Community Foundation (ACF) is celebrating 40 years of giving in Abbotsford this year.

Since 1979, the ACF has been committed to inspiring philanthropy and developing partnerships in Abbotsford by investing in people, projects and programs to strengthen the community.

Executive director Wendy Neufeld said the ACF provides a unique opportunity for local businesses and individuals to support and encourage positive change in the community they love.

She said donors generally view giving as a way to give back in recognition of how much they have received in life. Many give to ensure their community is supported with greater opportunities.

Neufeld said some have a deep personal connection to a cause or an issue needing solutions, and most donate simply to make a difference.

She said the foundation offers inspiring and impactful giving options for local investment so that donors’ values, interests and intentions are supported and carried out for years to come.

“I love the diversity and generosity of Abbotsford’s citizens. It is our honour to partner with individuals and local organizations to help them invest in our community to make it even stronger,” Neufeld said.

The ACF was conceived by a series of events that started with a substantial donation from Alan and Vivian Trethewey to the Matsqui Parks and Recreation Commission in 1978.

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The directors of the commission at that time felt that the donation could have a much longer effect on the community if it was invested in perpetuity and revenues from the investment spent annually.

This resulted in the formation of the Matsqui-Abbotsford Parks and Recreation Foundation Society in December 1979.

Following three years of operation, the new directors determined that the organization would be more accepted and have a greater growth potential if it was independent of council.

As a result, a special resolution was adopted that changed the foundation to the Matsqui-Abbotsford Foundation Society.

When Matsqui and Abbotsford amalgamated in 1994, a further amendment was made to the constitution that changed the name of the Foundation to the Abbotsford Foundation.

In 2002, the name was revised to Abbotsford Community Foundation.

Neufeld said the ACF has experienced steady asset growth over the years, substantially increasing the scope and number of granting opportunities.

Since inception, the foundation has distributed more than. $10.5 million in grants and student awards.

These grants have been made to many charitable organizations for programs and projects in Abbotsford related to education, arts and culture, sports, agriculture, animal welfare, and social issues such as homelessness and poverty.

In recent years, some of the granting focus has especially been on programs that benefit Abbotsford children and families at risk.

More than 5,000 graduating Abbotsford students have received scholarships from the ACF’s Student Awards program to help fulfil their post-secondary education dreams.

Neufeld said the foundation’s long history, expertise and community connections ensure that they are a reliable, transparent and accountable steward of the funds in their care.

When asked about why she continues to support the foundation more than 40 years after her and her husband’s initial gift, Vivian Trethewey said: “I continue to give to the foundation because I believe in what they do, and they do it well.”

Contact the ACF at 604-850-3755 or for more information.