CFUW Nanaimo strives to improve educational opportunities for women and girls primarily through scholarships, awards, and bursaries at Vancouver Island University (VIU) and at School District 68 Nanaimo-Ladysmith (SD68).
In the early years of the Club, rummage and bake sales were held to support scholarships. By the early 1970’s, these fund-raising efforts were supplemented with a contribution from each member’s annual dues. In the last several decades, funds have been raised through the generous donations, and bequests, of our members, as well as a variety of fund-raising activities, including our very successful Christmas Dinner and Silent Auction. Our Club also participates in the Thrifty’s Smile Card program which provides up to an annual maximum of $1,200.
We have been awarding scholarships at VIU since the early 1970s, when it was still Malaspina College. In February 2001, the Club donated $25,000 to create an endowment with the Vancouver Island University Foundation. This endowment has grown to a value of more than $284,000 thanks to our ongoing contributions, and the receipt of matching funds from the province and VIU.
Our VIU Endowment supports seven awards annually: one scholarship, five awards including two memorial awards, and one bursary. In 2019, the inaugural 100th CFUW Anniversary award of $2,000 was given to a senior student in ocean sciences/marine biology. The inaugural CFUW Nanaimo Susan Murphy Memorial Award will be given to a Post-Care Tuition Waiver female student in the fall of 2020.
Through VIU, we have been providing the CFUW Nanaimo Clemente Award since 2010. The $500 tuition credit (the original amount was $150) helps enable a female student, recommended by the program director, to continue her education at VIU upon completion of the Clemente Program.
The Club supports secondary students in SD68. A book prize was first granted in 1959. Subsequently it was changed to a $100 award and for some years, a $25 cheque was also presented to the Counsellor’s Discretionary Fund. Over the years our contributions to the high school awards have increased. Currently we provide four awards to Nanaimo graduates and one award to a Ladysmith graduate through the Nanaimo-Ladysmith Schools Foundation. We are also giving a short-term (three year, 2020-2022) memorial award at Ladysmith Secondary School.
CFUW Nanaimo is pleased to invite award recipients to attend a General meeting each year. Their gratitude and their presence continue to inspire us in our work to support women’s education. We receive many cards of thanks from students about the impact of the awards they have received. Following is an example:
A 2015 recipient of the VIU Re-entry award wrote:
“Although I had always planned on going back to school, the decision was larger than I had expected. The award not only will be a financial boost, but it also is just a fabulous personal support for me.” At the end of the school year, she sent another note “I wanted to reiterate my absolute appreciation for your scholarship. I had a very successful year at ‘getting back in the saddle.’ ”