Message from our board chair & Executive Director

The past year was one of many milestones as the celebrations of the Central Okanagan Foundation’s 40th Anniversary unfolded. We produced a historical video, special publication, and created a lasting legacy to honour our anniversary by establishing the Central Okanagan Foundation Volunteer Spirit Scholarships. In addition to celebrating our anniversary, we also celebrated Canada's 150th Birthday by funding 10 agency projects, totalling $100,000. Another milestone worth noting was the move to our new office, located in Landmark 1, 306-1726 Dolphin Avenue. If you haven’t had a chance to visit us, we would be delighted to welcome you for a personal tour.

We would like to sincerely thank the thousands of people that have supported the Central Okanagan Foundation over our first four decades. As we look forward to the future, we do so with the optimism and confidence that we will continue to grow and thrive along with our remarkable community. Read more...

Central Okanagan Foundation's

40th Anniversary

2017 marked a major milestone for the Central Okanagan Foundation; our 40th Anniversary.

When our 16 founding donors started the Central Okanagan Foundation with a commitment of $80,000 in 1977, they could not have imagined that we would be managing over $30 million after 40 years of operation.

In 2017, we undertook three key initiatives to celebrate our Anniversary:

Anniversary Publication:

We produced a 40th Anniversary publication to capture key moments throughout our history, from humble beginnings to extraordinary present day distributions and where we are headed in the years to come. View our publication here.

Central Okanagan Foundation Volunteer Spirit Scholarship:

To commemorate our 40th anniversary, we created 4 endowment funds of $40,000 each to support annual scholarships in the 4 geographic communities we serve; Peachland, West Kelowna, Kelowna, and Lake Country.

The Central Okanagan Foundation Volunteer Spirit Scholarship Fund offers financial support to a current resident of the Central Okanagan region who is, or has recently been, an active volunteer either in a Canadian community or internationally. The purpose of the scholarship is to assist with qualified post-secondary education. Each year, one $1,500 scholarship will be awarded to a resident from each of the four Central Okanagan Municipalities.

2017 Central Okanagan Foundation Volunteer Spirit Scholarship Recipients

L-R: Anne-Sophie Beaudoin, Serena Slonowski, Wyatt Slattery, Awantika Mittal, & Justice Neyedli

Celebration Video:

We have produced a short video that highlights our history and where we are headed in the future. You will hear from a number of founding families as well as our current Board Chair.

Agency Profiles

Lake Country Health Planning Society

The Lake Country Health Planning Society (LCHPS) is a non-profit organization that has been operating in the community since 1982. LCHPS strives to improve community life by providing services, programs, advocacy, information, resources and referrals in the area of health and wellness. LCHPS has historically focused on seniors programs and services but in recent years has expanded its mandate to include health and wellness initiatives for children, youth, families and adults.

In spring 2017, LCHPS received funding from the Central Okanagan Foundation to hire a Project Coordinator for the Lake Country Health Hub. Read more...

PacificSport Regional Sport Centre – Okanagan Society

PacificSport Okanagan is a regional sport centre based in Kelowna that supports increased sport participation and improved sport performance throughout the Okanagan. The not-for-profit society is committed to developing sport at all levels by integrating athlete services, coaching education, and physical literacy opportunities. The Okanagan Regional Sport Centre has developed a variety of programs and services to support Okanagan based sport initiatives at all stages of the Canadian Sport for Life continuum.

PacificSport Okanagan received funding from Central Okanagan Foundation in fall 2016 to implement the Physical Literacy In-School Initiative for elementary school students. Read more...

Peachland Historical Society

In 1980, a dedicated group of Peachland locals got together and formed a volunteer organization called the Peachland Historical Society. Its early activities included restoring the 1910 8-sided Baptist Church building and putting it to use as the Peachland Museum and interviewing long-standing member of the Peachland Community, many with memories reaching back to the earliest days of Peachland. Three years later, the result of these interviews was the production of a two-volume set of books called Peachland Memories.

The Peachland Historical Society received funding from the Central Okanagan Foundation in fall 2016 to reprint and republish the first 210 pages of these books. Read more...

To see all of the agencies we granted to in 2016/2017, CLICK HERE.

Endowment Funds - Building a Lasting Legacy

Hilda Hall Memorial Fund

When her mother Hilda passed away last year at the grand age of 94, Melanie Hall-Szyszkiewicz wanted to do something to honor her mother’s memory within the community. Hilda had moved to Kelowna with Melanie in 1967 where she managed the House of Fabrics on Bernard and later travelled with McCall’s Pattern Company in Western Canada. Her passions were fabrics, sewing, travelling, singing and photography. Hilda loved Kelowna and often remarked the happiest times of her life were spent at her home on Leon Avenue. Melanie, being Past Chair of the Board of the Central Okanagan Foundation and a fund holder herself, decided that starting a memorial endowment fund in her mother’s name would be a wonderful way to give back to the community that had meant so much to the both of them. Hilda’s Fund will generate income for the Community Granting Program, COF’s annual support to a broad range of local charities providing services to residents of the Central Okanagan.

Dan Hikichi Memorial Award Fund

Dan was raised on his family’s orchard in Winfield. A graduate of BCIT with diplomas in Mining Technology and Civil and Construction Technology, Dan was co-owner of Interior Testing Services Ltd in Kelowna. After Dan tragically passed away in 2016, his colleagues knew that they wanted to do something special to remember this remarkable man. Peter Hanenburg contacted COF, and with Dan’s wife Donna and the family’s support, the Dan Hikichi Memorial Award Fund was established. The Fund will provide an annual student award in Dan’s name through the Central Okanagan Bursary and Scholarship Society (COBSS).

Ben Wah Lee & Kelowna Chinese Cultural Association Legacy Fund

Ben Lee was a teacher for the Central Okanagan School District for 34 years and served on Kelowna City Council for close to 24 year. Often referred to as the “Mayor of Rutland”, a park bearing his name was opened in 2001. His promotion of multiculturalism was evident in the early 1970’s when he became a founding member of both the Kelowna Multicultural Society and Kelowna Folkfest Committee. He was also a founder of the Kelowna Chinese Cultural Association. To honor Ben’s memory of community involvement, the Lee Family along with Tun Wong worked with COF to establish the Ben Wah Lee & Kelowna Chinese Cultural Association Legacy Fund. The Fund will provide ongoing support to projects within Ben Lee Park and other local community initiatives.

To see our full list of Endowment Funds, CLICK HERE.

Snapshots from the Past Year

In Memoriam

In the past year the Central Okanagan Foundation has lost three dear friends; Ken Harding, Cynthia Hunter and Frank Williams. These remarkable individuals all served on COF’s Board of Directors during the formative years, giving freely of their time, talent and treasure. But COF was certainly not the only organization that benefitted from their graciousness. They were true community leaders supporting so many of the vital projects and initiatives that now define the Central Okanagan. They all shared a great love for their families, their friends and their community.

Kenneth Frederick Harding
(1926 – 2017)

Pictured: Ken & Gwen Harding

Read Ken's story here.

Cynthia Anne Hunter
(1928 - 2017)

Pictured: Andy & Cynthia Hunter

Read Cynthia's story here.

Franklin Charles Williams

Pictured: Marie & Frank Williams

Read Frank's story here.

To view a list of all of our donors, CLICK HERE.

2016/2017 Board of Directors

Back, left to right: Gwen Zilm, Angela Brown, Karen Hill, Melanie Hall-Szyszkiewicz (Past Chair), Chad Krahn, Bruce Davies (Executive Director), Peter Borszcz, Alison Moscrop, Mike Gilmore, Steven Tuck, Kerry Rempel

Front, left to right: Sharon McCoubrey (Chair) & Brian Sanders (Vice Chair & Treasurer)

Click here to learn more about our Board Members.
To view a full list of our committees, click here.

2016/2017 STAFF TEAM

Staff Team from left to right:

John Grimes, Joanne Carey, Cheryl Miller, Mia Burgess, Molly Raposo, Bruce Davies, & Michael Grundy

Visit our Staff Page for more details and contact information.

To view our Audited Financial Statement, CLICK HERE.