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 scholarship. 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.
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 $340,400 (April 2021) thanks to our ongoing contributions, and the receipt of matching funds.
Our VIU Endowment currently (2022) supports seven awards annually: one scholarship, five awards including two memorial awards; and one bursary. In 2019, our club established a 100th CFUW Anniversary Celebration award of $2,000 for students in the field of ocean sciences/marine biology. The inaugural CFUW Nanaimo Susan Murphy Memorial Award for a female post-care tuition waiver student was first given out 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 Nanaimo-Ladysmith School District 68. 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 annually to Nanaimo graduates and one award to a Ladysmith graduate through the Nanaimo-Ladysmith Schools Foundation. We are also giving a three-year (2020-2022) memorial award to a student at Ladysmith Secondary School.
CFUW Nanaimo is pleased to invite award recipients to our Fall General meeting each year. Their presence and their gratitude 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 one example, from the 2020 recipient of the CFUW Nanaimo Re-Entry Award ($1500):
I write this letter to you with my heart full of gratitude. I am embarking my post-secondary journey full-time after many years of preparing, taking pre-requisites while working and raising 3 kids, lots of time spent second-guessing and doubting. Thank you for the honour of receiving the re-entry award of $1500. This will be used to cover almost 50% of my first semester tuition. I will be studying to get my post-baccalaureate Bachelor of Education degree. I am very excited to be back in school and your award came as such an encouragement for me.