Message from our Board Chair & Executive Director
Next year is a big year! Starting in January 2017, we will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Central Okanagan Foundation in addition to participating in local and national celebrations for Canada's 150th Birthday. All in all, it will be a year to remember! Stay tuned for announcements on how we will commemorate and celebrate these milestones.
During the past year, your Central Okanagan Foundation has continued to grow and thrive. This, in turn, has allowed the communities we serve to thrive through our generous granting programs, including our well received multi-year grants program, which is in its second year of operation.
It has been a time of great community collaboration, including the greatly anticipated Okanagan Rail Trail/ Connecting Communities campaign, which kicked off in May 2016 and quickly gained incredible momentum in the first months of its drive. A dedicated group of fundraising volunteers enlisted the support of both the Central Okanagan Foundation, headquartered in Kelowna, and the Community Foundation of the North Okanagan, headquartered in Vernon, to facilitate the fiscal aspects of the initiative. The construction of the 48.5 km trail will be managed by the Interjurisdictional Development Team, representing the City of Kelowna, the District of Lake Country, the Okanagan Indian Band, and the Regional District of the North Okanagan.
Last fall, Central Okanagan Foundation collaborated with the United Way of the Central & South Okanagan/ Similkameen, Kelowna General Hospital Foundation, and Costco to help purchase and distribute 84 adjustable car seats for local families who would not have been able to afford them otherwise. The Child Safety Initiative was met with such demand and we are very pleased to announce we will be supporting this initiative again in 2016.
Speaking of innovative partnerships, Central Okanagan Foundation has joined forces with UBC Okanagan, Mitacs, Okanagan College, and the United Way of the Central & South Okanagan/ Similkameen on the Mapping for Change Project that will create a Homeless Services Database for our community.
Our new modernized website launched this past May and we encourage you to check it out at: centralokanaganfoundation.org. There, you will be able to access our expanded 2016 Annual Report online, learn more about the size and scope of Central Okanagan Foundation's support to our region's charitable sector, the lists of the donors who have made that support possible, how to apply for grants, and much more!
When our 16 founding families started the Central Okanagan Foundation with a commitment of $80,000 in 1977, they could not have imagined that as of August 31st, 2016, COF would have over $30 million under stewardship and have distributed over $10 million into our communities. We have come a very long way in the last four decades. Because of our abiding belief in the importance of building for the future, Central Okanagan Foundation is pleased to announce we are able to distribute over $1,000,000 into our communities in the coming year!
Melanie Hall-Szyszkiewicz, Board Chair
Bruce Davies, Executive Director