The Elkford Project Society has a new plaque to raise awareness about and commemorate the many monetary donations they have distributed throughout the community since their inception in 1971.
The plaque says that to date, $913,464.34 has been donated including $158,747 in interest free loans. According to long-time society secretary, Carol Redhead, that total is from March, 2021. A new tally from June 2021 puts the total donations up to $926,964.34.
“There’s so many donations through the years, we just couldn’t possibly have a plaque that had every separate donation,” said Blaine Borys, president of the Elkford Project Society.
The society was founded when Elkford was still a brand new town. It was meant to help get local clubs off the ground.
“There was nothing here but some people and a few homes. A lot of people lived in trailers when it first started, waiting for homes to be built,” Redhead said. “So it was like: ‘There’s not much in town here to do, so let’s form this club and see if we can make donations to get things going.”
A significant amount of the original funding came from Fording Coal employees, who would donate $2 of their pay per month to the society.
The vast majority of the funds still come from Fording River Operations employees who agree to take $2 a month off their pay. The funding pool has expanded over the years, with some teachers and District of Elkford employees and council also agreeing to donate. Some employees at the Green Hills mining operation donate as well, along with some Teck employees out of Calgary.
Much of the original money went towards youth sports, with some going towards early infrastructure. Now, most of the organizations in town have had a slice of the Elkford Project Society’s pie.
“There’s almost every organization in Elkford has gotten money, even the gardening group,” Borys said.
A few examples of more recent donations include: $20,000 for the Elkford Community Enhancement Society for park equipment for kids; $22,000 for the Elkford Snowmobile Association towards a snow groomer; $10,000 for the Wapiti Ski Hill for kitchen upgrades; $13,500 for Elkford Secondary School for cross country ski gear.
In 2020, a total of $25,302 was donated, and as of June 2021, $30,118.12 had been donated, according to Redhead.
Donated money stays within the Elkford community.
There are a lot of new people in town, and a lot of people don’t know about the Elkford Project Society, Redhead said. The new plaque aims to ameliorate that.
“It has been an amazing thing that some wise people came up with back in 1971 to help out our town.”
The plaque will be hung at the Teck Hall in the Elkford Community Conference Centre.