PORCA’s Bree Thorlakson awarded the 2020 Kathy Barnett Leadership Fund grant

Fun to open my emails and see PORCA’s Bree Thorlakson profiled in the Community Foundation of Whistler’s newsletter.

Bree was awarded the 2020 Kathy Barnett Leadership Fund grant to support her studies in Non-profit management at SFU.

Kathy Barnett Memorial Fund provides grants to women living in the Sea to Sky Corridor who are looking to improve their leadership skills and enhance their work with local charitable organizations. Grants in the range of $500-$3000 will be awarded to local women who work or volunteer for a charitable organization for the betterment of the local community. 

The idea is that by investing in women who are passionate about contributing to community, is one of the most impactful ways to support those organizations. Seems to be proving out.

The profile writes:

Women involved in the Pemberton mountain bike community know Bree is dynamic when it comes to organizing and empowering women on the trails. She was a big contributor to the initiation of Bike Club — before PORCA (a.k.a. Pemberton Off-Road Cycling Association) adopted it as a longterm women’s bike club that meets weekly, and even in the off-season for other social activities. Yet, whenever you speak to Bree, she always recognizes the contribution of others first – and even steers you away from her accomplishments. It could be the reason challenging her own bias has had such an impact on Bree.

Thorlakson stepped into her role as executive director for PORCA, the first paid position the organization has ever had, as the pandemic was gaining ground. As a result, as the profile recounts, PORCA had to cancel the Pemberton Enduro (150), the Spud Crusher Women’s Enduro (150), the Youth Program (36) and the annual fundraiser (a loss of $10,000)—all sold out events with processing fees for each ticket, It cost the organization a great deal of time and money. But, as Bree and the team began to get on top of the Provincial Health Organization’s (PHO) orders, they started to generate ideas for new ways to do things.

The Pemberton Numerical Assessment of Radness, a.k.a PNAR, was an idea born by PORCA President, Ian Kruger. It was a virtually logged race that allowed up to 50 participants per day disbursed on the racecourse. With the help of a few volunteers, including Ming Sartee, another dedicated contributor, making big contributions, it was a huge community success that saw 150 people participating. It generated a number of memberships and income that would have otherwise been lost.

Last week, the Village of Pemberton learned that their application, Bree’s brain child, for $974,258 from the Government of British Columbia to build the Pemberton and Area Mountain Bike Skills Park, was successful!

So next time you are wondering, “what does it take to build a great community?”, consider the answer is all around you, in the people, and consider how you can invest in them… how you can lift them up, how you can play some part in it all, the constant unfolding of awesomeness that can happen when we all offer our energy up. 🙂

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