Twenty-five years ago, our first Board of Directors gathered on the steps of the B.C. Legislature to celebrate the passing of the Columbia Basin Trust Act. This moment was the culmination of years of hard work and dedication by Columbia Basin residents seeking greater influence over their communities and the Basin region. The founding of Columbia Basin Trust represented a new chapter, a new opportunity and the start of a remarkable journey.

Standing on those steps, the Board members could not have imagined what the Trust would eventually become. Since our founding in 1995, we’ve grown alongside the people of the region to help them transform their ideas into reality. With this support, they’re better able to achieve their goals and make a difference in their communities.

Our growth didn’t follow a perfect path. We’ve had to learn to adapt to many roles — from funder, partner and investor to manager, guide and facilitator. We’ve had to discover how to turn problems into opportunities. We’ve had to develop and deploy expertise where it was most needed, while preserving our grassroots origins. There have been mistakes along the way for certain, but Basin residents have always been there to guide us back when needed.

This commemorative book marks our 25th anniversary. From small steps to major milestones, it explores how we grew from a seed of a concept into a community organization with an established presence around the region, with multiple offices, staff members, partners and assets.

It also highlights the Basin’s people. It’s the residents who saw the need for the Trust, created our organization and have guided our development. Residents, Board members, staff, partners and others opened up to us to describe their personal experiences during extraordinary times. No one book could capture all these valuable memories, but this one provides a glimpse. We thank everyone who shared.

The Trust was once described as a social experiment that succeeded despite the odds. After 25 years, there is much to be proud of, but an even greater future to imagine. We invite you to explore this story and join in the celebration of individual and collective persistence and resiliency.

Johnny Strilaeff

President and Chief Executive Officer