With the declaration of a COVID-19 pandemic, The Gwaii Trust Society staff and Board of Directors want to assure its grantees, community partners and all residents of Haida Gwaii that we will do our best to provide appropriate support throughout this period of heightened risk and uncertainty. We will continue to make grants and process payments with as little disruption as possible. Our Board of Directors and staff will adjust priorities as necessary to step up where we can. Below are some of the updates from the Trust.
Office & Events
Effective March 17, 2020, the Gwaii Trust offices will be closed until further notice and most staff will be working remotely. All staff can be contacted via email or phone, though we ask for your patience as there may be delays in responding. Contact information can be found on our website at gwaiitrust.com/contact.
All in person meetings and events organized by the Trust will be postponed, cancelled, or reorganized as virtual meetings. We will not be accepting any in person meeting requests or performing site visits while social distancing measures are in effect.
For those of you who are in the process of applying for a grant, all of our grants, with the exception of the Travel Assistance Grant, remain open at this time. Depending on the length and impact of the pandemic, there may be shifts in the priorities of the Board and programs may change. If there are any further changes to our programs or deadlines, we will provide updates on our website.
COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund
The Gwaii Trust Board of Directors has created a new Haida Gwaii COVID-19 Emergency Response Grant, for organizations serving those affected on Haida Gwaii by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Gwaii Trust has committed $250,000.00 towards this fund. The intent of this grant is to provide short term financial assistance to organizations who are providing direct response and support to those affected on Haida Gwaii by the COVID-19 pandemic. Grants will be made based on need and available funding. Funding decisions will be made within ten days. Full details of the grant will roll out in the coming days.
If you currently have a grant from Gwaii Trust Society, we understand that you may not be able to complete your project as originally outlined in your application. If you need to change the timelines, activities or budget, let us know and we will work with you. If the grant was for an event or included participation that has been impacted by COVID-19, we are open to discuss that impact and potential areas to redirect that grant at your organization. To prevent any disruption in payments, Gwaii Trust is encouraging grant holders and vendors to register your direct deposit details with us when requesting payment. Currently, we can offer direct deposit for Northern Savings members, but we are working on a solution to expand this to clients of other financial institutions.
The Gwaii Trust Fund
We want to assure you that our investment experts continue to monitor the markets. Our portfolio is well-balanced and purpose built to withstand economic downturns. The investment plans we have put in place are for times like this – to help put short term market fluctuations in the context of long-term goals. As a policy we have a buffer in place that has funds set aside to be used in years where short-term market fluctuations would otherwise prohibit us from granting out. We will need to be prudent, but we will get through this.
In the days ahead, we’ll be exploring what more Gwaii Trust can do to support Healthy Individuals. Healthy communities and Healthy islands to get through this pandemic. We will also be open todiscussing what we can do to help rebuild our communities, our economy and our businesses in the aftermath. We are here with you and for you Haida Gwaii.