The Southern Interior United Way kicked off its annual fundraising campaign this morning.
Some 300 local donors, community leaders, partner charities and corporate sponsors gathered for breakfast at the Coast Capri Hotel in Kelowna.
The event marked the official start of the workplace campaign by engaging thousands of employees in special events and other fundraising activities that help fuel over 65 per cent of the United Way Community Fund annually.
This week alone, the United Way announced grants of over $620,000 for 80 vital programs delivered by 54 charities across the Southern Interior, including the Central, South and North Okanagan, Similkameen, Columbia and Shuswap areas. The investments will help improve the lives of more than 85,000 people throughout the year.
Many of the charities United Way funds do not have any full-time fundraising staff of their own and rely on United Way grants to keep running.
“At United Way, we really do our homework … to ensure our donor dollars are invested wisely and make an impact,” United Way community investments manager Jude Brunt said.
In total, United Way invested $1.9 million in local communities. This year, several new charities have been awarded funding from the Community Fund, including Kelowna & District Share Society, Freedom’s Door, Recope, Childhood Connections, Lake Country Health Planning Society and the Ki-Low-Na Friendship Centre.
These investments are only made possible thanks to generous donations from each community.
“Year after year, we continue to find more organizations trying to find ways of supporting the needs in our community,” says Susan McIntyre, leadership donor and impact team leader with United Way SIBC.
Kelowna’s first Child Advocacy Centre is nearly ready to open.
The building is purposefully designed to maintain privacy for families, featuring dedicated spaces to host interviews, CAC staff and RCMP child protection officers.
It will be the seventh such centre in British Columbia and the 26th in Canada. As one integrated facility, Kelowna’s centre will reduce the risk of re-traumatization by ensuring children no longer need to visit five or six different places to be assessed.
On Thursday, Boyd Autobody made a $53,291.91 direct impact, helping to alleviate funding requirements for the facility, which is set to open late this year.
Kelowna Foundation executive director Ginny Becker says the team has been very thankful for the hindsight offered by older Child Advocacy Centres around the globe.
“We get to learn from what they’ve done, because these centres are all over the world,” Becker said. “We’re working really hard to ensure that not only the kids and families feel like this is a safe space but that we’re also creating a healthy space for the staff. This type of work is incredibly difficult for them, too.”
With what business or organization are you involved? Innerspace Watersports.
What is your role with that organization? Marketing management.
What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? What I love the most about the Okanagan is having four distinctive seasons. Summers are made for playing behind the boat and kayaking! Fall is perfect for hikes up Silver Star and dirt biking. Winter brings the champagne powder to ski and snow bike in! And spring allows for a bit of everything. Late season turns on the mountains and early season paddling begins!
If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? My mum. Because I like her the most.
What’s your go-to happy place? Depends on the season! Kal Lake secret beach in the summer and the top of a snowy mountain peak in the winter.
What are you most proud of? My ability to continue learning and expanding my interests and skill set.
What are the top three things on your bucket list? Working at Innerspace Watersports allows me to do most of the things that were on my bucket list. Snow biking, surfing, diving, trips! I am very luck in that regard. I supposed if I were to re-write it I would say …
• Become a sponsored snow bike athlete in the coming seasons or be a Timbersled ambassador
• Become more involved in ski touring in remote areas, including cat skiing and heli-skiing
• Buy a house
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? While travelling in western Australia I was invited to a traditional Aussie barbecue. Being a vegetarian I was hesitant but decided ‘when in Rome,’ so I allowed myself to try everything they were cooking, including emu sausages, crocodile and kangaroo. I liked the crocodile. The rest I wouldn’t need to try again.
Latest movie or book? The latest movie I saw was Once Upon a Time In Hollywood at the Vernon Cineplex. I wanted to see the Lion King but didn’t know how I felt about 3D, so was convinced to see this one.
What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? A car.
If today were your last day, how would you spend it? With all my favourite people eating all of our favourite food and maybe we could go for a swim and a ski in the same day! It would have to be July in Whistler so we could ski the glacier and swim in the lakes in the afternoon!
Since it began a decade ago, the Vernon Jubilee Hospital Foundation Charity Golf Classic has teed up more than $2 million.
The 10th annual event was held at Predator Ridge and generated $300,000, sending the decade total to a new milestone.
The annual sold-out event featured 136 players from around the region at Predator for a day of golf, games, gourmet food and live auction.
This year was the second in a row the event raised $300,000.
“The outstanding support that we’ve received over the past decade for the Charity Classic has helped fund significant purchases for our hospital,” foundation president Kevin Arbuckle said. “It’s amazing to see the significant impact that these funds have made for healthcare in our community. This year’s focus was for priority equipment for surgical services.”
From its inception in 2010, the Charity Classic has raised money to support crucial health care initiatives in the North Okanagan, including the opening of the new Polson Tower.
The fundraiser has also provided funding for enhancements in the McMurtry-Baerg Cancer Clinic, in cardiac and emergency services as well as equipping a new operating room through the foundation’s “Operation: Surgical Care for Life” campaign.
Players at this year’s event were treated to food, games and activities on the various holes in a Vegas scramble golf format. After their day on the course, Hockey Night in Canada and Sportsnet’s Kelly Hrudey took the mic as emcee and led participants through an action-packed program.
The 11th annual Charity Classic will be held on Aug. 30, 2020.
Today is the last day to purchase early-bird tickets for the Under the African Sky gala that will take place next Friday, Sept 20, at Kelowna’s Innovation Centre.
The night of entertainment will benefit the Building Beyond Borders charity that provides food, education, and loving foster homes to orphaned children in Kitale, Kenya. The duo behind the philanthropic group is Kelowna couple Larry and Francine Carruthers, who live in Kenya full-time, and the funds raised through the gala will support the yearly cost of living and working in Kenya.
Building Beyond Borders provides a free health clinic with both conventional and natural therapies as well as medical outreaches to remote villages. It also supports water projects to fix wells around Kitale to provide clean drinking water.
The gala will feature a drumming act, a vocal performance from The Lion King, live music and more. The Carruthers will also share brief stories about the work they are doing in Kitale.
Tickets purchased today will cost $99 but will increase to $120 starting tomorrow.
OKGN Angel Summit winner Trellis Social Enterprise is having a contest and will be giving away a grand prize of $10,000.
Trellis’s business plan was building a platform for champions of causes to easily connect directly with charities and create fundraisers. It will now put that to the test with the Sprout a Fundraiser competition, which started on Sept. 1 and will continue until Dec. 31.
Individuals and businesses across the Okanagan will choose a deserving cause, create a fundraiser on the Trellis platform and raise money for their chosen charity. On Jan. 15, Trellis will announce the winner of the most impactful fundraising event and award the cash prize.
“We believe, when equipped with the right tools, people can be profound forces for change,” Trellis founder and CEO Justin Goodhew said in a press release. “Through our Sprout a Fundraiser challenge, we are removing the barriers that many donors and fundraisers face, handling the administrative side for them and ensuring donations get sent directly to the charity they choose.
“Through this challenge, champions also have the opportunity to win an additional $10,000 for the charities they support. Not only does our platform simplify the process for third party champions, but for charities our platform can drastically change the way they receive donations and increase the impact they can make as well.”
Hundreds of new UBCO students got to experience one of the Okanagan’s most popular tourist destinations as part of the university’s Jump Start program.
Big White Ski Resort welcomed 730 students earlier this week as part of the program, which is open to all first-year students who are coming to UBCO from high school. Jump Start is billed as a multi-day orientation that introduces students to university life, faculty and new friends.
Dozens of buses transported the students to Big White, where they took a ride up the mountain on the Bullet chairlift and then hiked down for lunch in the village.
UBCO’s first-term classes are scheduled to begin on Wednesday.
The Regional District of Central Okanagan (RDCO) is asking residents and visitors alike to leave wild animals alone if they come across them in their natural habitat.
With ripening fruit in valley orchards and Kokanee salmon soon swimming up creeks to spawn, people can expect to see more bears in regional parks.
“This time of year, our field staff and visitors start seeing more signs that bears are around. As sightings increase, we post signs advising that the animals may be active in the area” says Communications Officer Bruce Smith.
Evidence of bears are around is already occurring at places such as Hardy Falls, Scenic Canyon, and Glen Canyon regional parks.
“To reduce your chance of an encounter” he says, “if possible, travel in a group, make noise or carry something that makes noise so that you make your presence known. During the fall Kokanee salmon spawning season in local creeks and rivers visitors may encounter bears bulking up on this food source. Bears fishing for food may not hear you over the noise of the creek water. If you see a bear, give it plenty of space and stay well away from it.”
Smith adds that people should actively avoid encounters with bears whenever possible as they can be very aggressive, especially when defending their food or cubs.
Dog owners are reminded to keep their pets leashed at all times and on trails to help avoid possible encounters.
The swimming pools and aquatic area as well as the gym at the Parkinson Recreation Centre will be closed for annual maintenance and cleaning from Monday, Aug. 26 to Sunday, Sept. 8.
As a result of the closures, there will be no drop-in basketball or volleyball available during this time and the family change room will also be closed.
According to The City of Kelowna, annual maintenance closures are necessary to maintain a clean and safe facility.
“Parkinson Recreation Centre pass holders will automatically have the missed time due to the closure added to their pass – punch passes and Access Passes excluded,” said The City in a release.
Pool-goers looking to swim can still access the YMCA and H2O Adventure and Fitness Centre, which have staggered maintenance schedules during the closure.
The 55+ BC Games are right around the corner and organizers are hoping residents from the community will volunteer to help make them a success.
More than 1,500 volunteers are needed to run the event, taking place from September 10 – 14, 2019. Volunteers are needed for various positions including medal presentations, hosts, environment, ceremonies, photographers, and more.
Volunteers who work a minimum 4-hour shift will be entered to win a fully loaded Pedego Boomerang Plus Electric Bike, valued at $4,795.
More than 4,000 BC residents over the age of 55 will gather in Kelowna for the five day event, including 1,000 residents from the Central Okanagan.
To learn more information or to sign up, visit the 55+ BC Games website.