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How one organization is making our community stronger, and how you can too

Has the world been getting you down a bit lately?

You’re not alone. It can be really tough to see past the doom and gloom news we tend to hear and remember that good things still happen both abroad and right here at home.

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That’s why we like to take a moment now and then to discuss some of the uplifting things happening in our community. Believe it or not, they’re happening all the time - we just don’t always notice it.

Today, we would like to offer a shout out to the Central Okanagan Foundation, a charitable organization which has been giving back to the local community for over 40 years now.

Prepare to have your faith in humanity restored as we highlight a few of the foundation’s current projects and the good that they do.

Connecting our communities - literally

The Okanagan Rail Trail has been undergoing construction for the last two years now to create an expansive cycling and pedestrian corridor. Once complete, the trail will not only physically connect our communities in a new way, but will offer residents and tourists more opportunities to connect with each other, with our culture and with nature.

The Central Okanagan Foundation is a fiscal agent for the Rail Trail Initiative, accepting donations for its fundraising campaign to help make the Rail Trail dream a reality.

Helping other non-profits grow

Each year, the City of Kelowna holds a Civic & Community Awards Gala to recognize amazing achievements and contributions within our community. Approximately 18 years ago the Central Okanagan Foundation approached the City of Kelowna with the idea of including a Volunteer Organization of the Year Award to the annual Civic Awards. In partnership with the City, the Central Okanagan Foundation Volunteer Organization of the Year Award was developed for the annual Civic Awards in recognition of a volunteer organization that has provided outstanding community services with direct benefits to the City of Kelowna.

“We are honoured to acknowledge the hard work of volunteer organizations and to provide financial support through the award,” said Cheryl Miller, Director of Grants and Community Initiatives with the Central Okanagan Foundation. “Over the past 18 years, we have given approximately $30,000 to recipients of the Central Okanagan Foundation Volunteer Organization of the Year Award.”

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The Central Okanagan Foundation has also partnered with KCR Community Resources, a registered charity in Kelowna that creates programs and offers services to help the community in several ways.

“We are able to offer high quality and affordable professional development opportunities to the non-profit sector as a result of Central Okanagan Foundation support,” said Stephanie Moore, Project Coordinator for KCR Community Resources.

The goal of the partnership was to fill a knowledge gap in the non-profit sector and help local non-profits grow their organizations.

“They have supported the development of several of our workshops including Board Bootcamp 101 and 201, Fund Development Overview and Grant Writing Essentials,” added Moore. “Workshop participants, local non-profit leaders, can then utilize the information and tools gained in these workshops to assist with planning, development and sustainability of their organizations.”

Making the people a priority

The Central Okanagan Foundation supports local initiatives of all shapes and sizes - always with the goal of making our community better. Last May, the foundation donated $50,000 to Foundry Kelowna, a much-needed addition to our healthcare system supporting youth mental health.

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After discovering that many children don't use car seats due to limited finances, a partnership was formed between the Central Okanagan Foundation, the United Way, and the KGH Foundation to create the Child Safety Initiative, a program that offers car seats to families in need.

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These are just a few of the many ways that the Central Okanagan Foundation has recognized and supported various needs in our community.

Combatting homelessness

The Central Okanagan Foundation has also been a supporter of the City of Kelowna's Journey Home project, which is dedicated to developing a strategy to address homelessness in Kelowna. One important part of this project that the foundatino has supported financially is the Lived Experience Circle, which is an advisory group of people who have experienced homelessness in one way or another who offer their perspectives on how to combat homelessness.

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"The Central Okanagan Foundation has provided funds to assist with covering the costs of honorariums and meals for the participants as well as a Lived Experience Circle Convener and a graphic recorder," said Sue Wheeler, Social Development Manager at City of Kelowna. "Their generous contribution has been essential in leveraging additional matching funds from an additional donor and in ensuring that everyone’s voice is heard and that their knowledge is recorded."

Helping others give back where it matters most

The Central Okanagan Foundation pools charitable gifts and donations to create endowment funds, and the income from which then continues to benefit the community for years to come.

This means it’s possible for anyone in the community, including you, to donate to the foundation and give back to a cause that is important to you.

Often, we know that we want to help others, but we aren’t quite sure how. The Central Okanagan Foundation makes it easier for residents to give back by carefully researching what is needed in the community and how to make donations as effective as possible.

Whether your passion lies in education, volunteerism, safety, health, environmentalism or combatting homelessness, the Central Okanagan Foundation can assist you in helping a worthwhile cause in our community.

If you’d like to learn more about the Central Okanagan Foundation, including their various initiatives and how you can contribute, you can visit their website here.

Community Foundations are charitable organizations dedicated to improving communities in specific geographical areas. Central Okanagan Foundation does this by pooling the charitable gifts of donors to create endowment funds and using the investment income to make grants.

The Central Okanagan Foundation supports registered charities within the Central Okanagan Region. This encompasses the District of Lake Country, City of Kelowna, City of West Kelowna, and District of Peachland.

KelownaNow sponsored content is written and posted in partnership with participating businesses. While KelownaNow retains editorial control of sponsored content, the content is created in collaboration with the sponsor.

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