Charitable Impact Stories is a series of tales, sharing how donations from the Chimp community help charities who receive them. To date, Chimp has sent more than $8.4 million to over 2000 Canadian charities.
Our office is headquartered in beautiful Vancouver, BC, nestled in breathtaking Coal Harbour. We're fortunate enough to look over Stanley Park, as well as the glistening waters of the Pacific Ocean, ever dotted with boats, seaplanes and kayaks. Sometimes we forget that under the very waters we gaze out at every day are also home to an underwater universe of seals, whales, crabs and of course, salmon.
I sat down with Cory Matheson, Business Development Officer of the Pacific Salmon Foundation (PSF) which is also headquartered in Vancouver and learned a bit about what the PSF does, why its work is so important, and what it would take to get him donning a full sized Pacific Salmon suit (spoiler alert: not much) to raise money for the Foundation. You generous Chimpers have been readily and steadily donating to the PSF and we wanted to let you know just how your Chimp dollars are helping!
Kim: What does the Pacific Salmon Foundation do?
Cory: We have three main streams where we focus most of our efforts. The PSF:
- Raises money and makes grants to volunteer organizations that work on behalf of salmon across the province – over $10 million invested in volunteer-driven salmon projects that have engaged more than 35,000 volunteers.
- Advances scientific and evidence-based solutions to challenges facing wild Pacific Salmon.
- Serves as a voice for conservation and restoration of wild Pacific Salmon and the ecosystems that depend on them for survival.
Kim: How did you get involved with the PSF?
Cory: I grew up just outside Vancouver and was lucky enough to spend a lot of my childhood on the water fishing and boating in the Gulf Islands. At an early age I developed an appreciation for the wildlife and ecosystems in our backyard that are the envy of many around the world. I’ve always appreciated the people and organizations who work to ensure the wildlife and ecosystems will be around for future generations. When an opportunity to work at the Pacific Salmon Foundation presented itself, I set the hook.
Kim: Haha well done, glad they took your bait. Why should people donate to and support the PSF?
Cory: Supporting the Foundation makes a difference not only for salmon but for the environment at large. Salmon are a “keystone species” in British Columbia supporting 130 different plants and animals with their nutrients. There are hundreds of volunteer groups province-wide that rely on the support of the Foundation (both financially and in terms of expertise) and without the support of our donors we wouldn't be able to fund all of the qualified applications we receive each year.
Kim: What is the difference between the PSF and the Pacific Salmon Endowment Fund?
Cory: The Pacific Salmon Foundation receives an annual distribution from the Pacific Salmon Endowment Fund in order to cover the vast majority of its core operating costs, ensuring that every donation the Foundation receives goes almost entirely into projects to help Pacific salmon and their habitat.
Kim: How do funds raised get spent? I.e. what sort of programs/projects are you funding?
Cory: The Foundation supports community-based projects that address wild Pacific salmon conservation, enhancement and habitat renewal. Through our flagship Community Salmon Program we require that funds be matched and on average, for every $1 we grant, the recipient raises an additional $7 in cash and in-kind contributions. Since 1987, the Foundation has granted over $10 million with a total project value of over $74 million.
Kim: What are some challenges you've faced and/or are facing with attracting donations and sponsorships for the PSF?
Cory: With so many worthwhile causes to support, environmental charities receive a very small percentage of total charitable giving. The Foundation must continue to raise awareness and the importance of healthy salmon and ecosystems for the social, cultural and economic well-being of all British Columbians for generations to come.
Kim: Are you willing to be a salmon for hire to fundraise?
Cory: There isn’t much I wouldn’t do to help fundraise for a cause I am passionate about. Try me. (if that's not an enticing challenge, I don't know what is.)
Kim: What are the biggest dangers/challenges facing Pacific salmon, and what are some non-donation based steps that every day people can take to help?
Cory: Salmon face challenges at every step of their life cycle, including: predation; disease; polluted waterways; warming rivers and oceans; among others. There are hundreds of volunteer groups across B.C. that work on behalf of wild Pacific salmon. If you are looking for a volunteer opportunity in your local community contact your local DFO Community Advisor to find a volunteer group near you!
Kim: What are your largest fundraising initiatives? Are they events based?
Cory: We have several events based fundraising initiatives throughout the year and across the province. Our annual fundraising dinners and auctions are large contributors to our annual revenue. A calendar of events can be found on our website at www.psf.ca
Kim: Any current projects or events on the horizon you'd like to share with us?
Cory: Our next annual Vancouver gala and auction is scheduled for Wednesday, April 30th, 2014. Attending is a great way for individuals and companies to learn about the Foundation and the many ways to get involved.
Kim: I'll just assume you'll be there, auctioning off yourself as Steve the Sockeye for hire.
Big thanks to Cory! If you'd like to learn more about the Pacific Salmon Foundation and/or how to get your very own Sockeye Steve personal appearance, please visit the PSF website.