By Steve Hubrecht

The Columbia Valley Community Foundation (CVCF) has some extra money to offer this year, and is encouraging local residents heading off for postsecondary education or postsecondary training to apply for its scholarships and bursaries.

“The past couple of years we actually haven’t had that many applicants,” CVCF Executive Director Thiloma Hofer told the Pioneer.

Hofer couldn’t say with 100 per cent certainty why there have not been many applicants, but hazarded a guess that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic may have played a role, as it may have resulted in some people putting their education or training plans temporarily on hold.

The foundation has almost $125,000 worth of scholarships and bursaries on offer.

“We really want people to be aware of that and to apply,” said Hofer.

The scholarships are open to any Columbia Valley residents between the ages of 17 and 35 looking to do most kinds of accredited training, academic study, or trade schools.

 “It’s not just for high school graduates heading off to college or university, as many people seem to think,” explained Hofer. “You may be somebody who has already had a career, worked for a while, but now you’ve found a different calling. You are welcome to apply.”

Although there are some scholarships — such as the Greg Constable Toyota Corolla Fund — that come with very specific criteria, most have very broad criteria, and as such, are open to almost everybody, outlined Hofer.

The scholarships are a bit larger than normal this year partly because the investment income generated from the trust funds on which they are based has grown.

“There are a lot of people living here who are involved in training courses and are eligible for the scholarships, but who haven’t applied,” said Hofer. “And it’s not just about an applicant’s academic achievement. That’s part of it, obviously, but an applicant’s community involvement is very important.”

Specific awards and scholarships include the Arnold Ellis Scholarship Fund, the Bidder Bursary, the Erwin Kloos Memorial Fund,  the Alan J. Witherspoon Memorial Fine Arts Fund, the Greg Constable Toyota Corolla Fund, and the Tom Sanders Memorial Fund. The application form is the same for all the awards, except the Alan J. Witherspoon Memorial Fine Arts Fund, which requires applicants to submit samples of work as well as fill out the application form.

The applications are reviewed by a committee comprised of community members as well as CVCF board members.

The deadline for applications is May 15 at noon.

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