Chicks with Sticks returns
Okanagan Edge Staff - Jul 07, 2020 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed

The fourth annual Chicks with Sticks women’s golf tournament is returning to Kelowna’s Black Mountain Golf Club later this month, with proceeds supporting youth mental health.

This year’s event, which will be held Monday, July 20, will have a bit of a different feel due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This year we’ll respect social distancing with staggered tee times, a virtual silent auction, food and drink stations on the course, and a gift certificate instead of dinner,” tournament organizer Carla Lundman said in a press release. “We are so thankful for the support that businesses and individuals have shown once again this year through their generous donations.”

Two-member teams use the Stableford scoring system during the event, whose $150 entry fee includes 18 holes of golf, a shared power cart, tee gift and food. There will also be a chance to win prizes, and an online silent auction will close the night of the event.

Proceeds will go to Foundry Kelowna, a wellness centre for young people, and its mobile unit. This year’s celebrity supporter is Serinda Swan, who is the star of CBC’s Coroner.

“Our youth is our future, and our future is now,” Swan said. “We all have to do our part in supporting our youth who are struggling with mental health issues. The Foundry is creating a mobile unit so that all young people in the Kelowna area are able to access the resources the centre provides.

“It’s a wonderful endeavour and will make a big difference in the lives of our youth.”

In an effort to raise more money for Foundry’s mobile unit, tournament organizers this year are conducting the online auction through Trellis, with the goal of raising $30,000.

Registration for the event can take place here, and charitable donations can be made here.

Sustainable acts encouraged
Darren Handschuh - Jul 07, 2020 - Get Involved

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The City of Vernon has cash in hand for local sustainability programs.

The city is launching the 2020 Sustainability Grants program to encourage community participation in sustainable action while recognizing current and ongoing sustainability projects.

Grants of up to $1,000 will be available as an incentive to accelerate projects led by Vernon residents, youth, non-profit organizations and community groups.

“Though many things have changed with COVID-19, we can still take action to help our community become more resilient,” communications and grants manager Christy Poirier said. “The sustainability grants program provides a great opportunity for our community to connect with each other, safely, and build their own ideas from the ground up.”

The range of acceptable projects is broad and could include establishing or improving a neighbourhood community garden, building educational or demonstration displays for conservation or undertaking energy and greenhouse gas emission-reduction projects.

Grant applications will be accepted until July 27, and recommendations will be reviewed by city council.

Applications will be evaluated on how the proposed projects help achieve the city’s sustainability goals, who the project would benefit and the overall impact of the project on the community. Selected grant recipients will be announced after Aug. 17 and will have until June 2021 to complete their projects.

The city’s sustainability goals include ecosystem and ecological conservation, energy conservation and greenhouse gas emissions reduction, local food and agriculture, water quality protection and conservation, stewardship and sustainability.

For more information, click here.

Valley First puts family first
Okanagan Edge Staff - Jul 02, 2020 - Get Involved

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Valley First’s Lorna Williamson and Paulo Araujo show off the 18 handcrafted blankets.

Valley First has extended its partnership with the YMCA to help young parents get the long-term support and resources they need.

Valley First, which is a division of First West Credit Union, also did what it could for the Y’s Young Parent Program during the COVID-19 shutdown, as the company’s team members, friends, family members and employees from Envision Financial and Island Savings knitted, quilted and crocheted blankets for 18 babies and toddlers in the program.

The First West Foundation has provided $49,900 in grants to the Young Parent Program, which provides parenting support, nutritious meals, diapers, formula and child care for teenage parents who are completing their education while raising babies.

“The First West Foundation is proud to extend our support to the Y’s Young Parents Program,” First West Foundation executive director Susan Byrom said in a press release. “Young parents can face many obstacles and through the Y’s programming they are encouraged to move through the barriers to what can be a brighter future for their family.

“Our employees where excited to use their handcraft skills to create one-of-a-kind blankets for YPP families. It’s just one example of how we can wrap our arms around our community partners.”

Smith wins Botkin scholarship
Okanagan Edge Staff - Jul 02, 2020 - Get Involved

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Drayden Smith (left) receives his Dan Botkin Memorial Fund award from Enderby and District Fire Department chief Cliff Vetter.

The memory of Dan Botkin lives on in Enderby and the North Okanagan through the young people who are inspired to help their community.

Drayden Smith is this year’s recipient of the Dan Botkin Memorial Fund. The Enderby and District Fire Department hands out the scholarship to high school students who are interested in fire fighting.

Botkin was 25 years old when he was killed in an explosion while fighting a fire at Enderby’s Sperlich Log Construction on Dec. 29, 2011. Botkin had risen to the role of captain with the volunteer fire department and had recently been married.

Smith is one of six high school students who was enrolled in the Ranchero Deep Creek Fire Department’s junior firefighter program.

Interior Savings spreads cash
Okanagan Edge Staff - Jun 30, 2020 - Get Involved

Photos: Contributed
(Clockwise from top left): Central Okanagan’s Project Literacy Society, Central Okanagan Hospice Association, Central Okanagan Meals on Wheels and Kelowna Gospel Mission’s Dental Clinic (last two pictures) received funding from Interior Savings.

Interior Savings has dished out $150,000 to help non-profit organizations that have been struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The credit union launched the Community Relief Fund during the pandemic and accepted applications during the month of May. Interior Savings gave out the money to 45 non-profit organizations throughout the Okanagan, Thompson and Nicola regions.

The fund began as a $100,000 commitment paired with an invitation to credit union members to top it up by investing in a community impact term deposit. For every dollar invested, Interior Savings promised to add another 2% to the fund up to $50,000. The fund quickly grew to $150,000 with support from the credit union’s members.

“We’re not surprised that our members embraced the opportunity to lend a hand in our communities,” Interior Savings CEO Kathy Conway said in a press release. “It’s a critical time for our local non-profits. Our members’ support allows more money to be invested in our communities to help address the substantial pressure non-profits are facing as they modify their operations to serve those in need.

“In the nearly one hundred funding applications we received, two predominant themes emerged: a spike in requests for food assistance and a large gap in access to technology.”

The following 20 Central Okanagan non-profits received between $1,500 and $7,000:

• Central Okanagan Meals on Wheels
• Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society
• Kelowna Community Resource Society’s Family HUB
• Bridge Youth and Family Services Society (Kelowna)
• Lake Country Food Assistance Society
• All Are Family Outreach (Lake Country)
• West Kelowna Shelter Society
• YMCA of the Okanagan
• Central Okanagan’s Project Literacy Society
• Kelowna and District Society for People in Motion
• Elevation Outdoors
• Community Recreation Initiatives Society (CRIS)
• Central Okanagan Hospice Association
• Kelowna Gospel Mission’s Dental Clinic
• Connect Counselling and Therapy
• Okanagan Valley Pregnancy Care Centre
• Kelowna Women’s Shelter
• Central Okanagan Elizabeth Fry Society
• Reach Out Youth Counselling
• Family Services Society

Raising money with movies
Okanagan Edge Staff - Jun 25, 2020 - Get Involved

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The drive to feed more than 1,000 Okanagan families is still going strong.

Outside Cinema this weekend will continue its weekly tradition of hosting drive-in movies at Kelowna’s Trinity Church, all in an effort to raise money for the Central Okanagan Food Bank.

Captain Marvel will be shown on Friday night, while Saturday’s offering is Dolittle. The gates will open at 8:15 p.m., and the show will get started an hour later.

The maximum number of cars allowed at the venue site is 50, and tickets must be purchased in advance at Outside Cinema’s website.

Kelson residents help hungry
Okanagan Edge Staff - Jun 23, 2020 - Get Involved

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Kelowna’s Pandosy Square Apartments on Pandosy Street.

Residents of Kelson Group apartments across B.C. and Alberta, including 27 in Kamloops and three in Kelowna, donated 6,000 pounds of food to food banks through the company’s fourth annual food drive.

The Kelson Group Residents’ Food Drive was held last Wednesday in 10 apartment buildings across both provinces. The company’s locations in Kelowna are Buckland Manor Apartments, Pandosy Square Apartments and Fraser Manor Apartments.

“A heartfelt thank you to our residents who combined, donated a whopping 6,000 pounds of non- perishable food items,” Kelson Group maintenance and construction vice-president Kelly Fawcett said in a press release. “We know in these COVID-19 times many are struggling to make ends meet, so to have such generosity displayed by our residents to help others in their communities is quite astounding.”

Kelson donates one dollar for every pound of non-perishable food items that is collected, so $6,000 is on its way to food banks across B.C. and Alberta.

“Seeing an event like this, where Kelson Group residents and staff work together to offer something so meaningful to the communities we live in, makes us all proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish together,” Fawcett said. “In a world where hunger permeates our neighbourhoods, schools, workplaces and community at large, we could not think of a better area to support. We know these donations will have a big impact on others.”

‘Significant’ donation for PRH
Chelsea Powrie - Jun 23, 2020 - Get Involved

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Penticton’s Ernst and Colleen Schneider made the generous donation.

A Penticton composer and former immigrant has given back to the community through a donation the Penticton Regional Hospital called “major.”

Ernst Schneider didn’t know a word of English when, at age 18, he arrived in Penticton from Germany in 1958. Fortunately, music is an international language.

Schneider had followed his older sister to the Okanagan. She had picked Penticton purely by chance.

“My sister got a topographical map of Canada at the Canadian embassy in Cologne. She studied the map and decided B.C. was probably the best province,” Schneider said. “It was so open and so few cities. Then she spotted this small town between two lakes and thought that should be nice.”

Schneider had always loved music, and when he arrived in Canada he was playing piano at an advanced Grade 9 level. He managed to get further instruction in Penticton and Vancouver and later met renowned Canadian composer Jean Coulthard, who was also a music educator.

“I was really timid, me asking such a famous composer to take me on as a student. But she said yes,” he recalled.

Schneider spent the next 10 years under her tutelage and went on to compose more than 100 musical compositions, many being performed by the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra.

He met his wife Colleen in Penticton while he was giving piano lessons to her younger sister.

“He was teaching piano, and my sister was taking piano lessons. I was her driver,” she explained.

Colleen was also studying German at the time, and received some extra instruction from Ernst. “Things sort of developed from there,” she said with a grin.

They wed in 1967 and have now been married 53 years.

Colleen worked for about 30 years at the Penticton Library, describing it as “a wonderful place to work.”

They both became strong community supporters. Ernst was keenly involved in the Kiwanis Housing Society which developed low-cost seniors housing projects on Brunswick and Van Horne streets.

“That appealed to me—doing something really worthwhile for the community,” he said.

The Schneiders decided to donate to the South Okanagan Similkameen (SOS) Medical Foundation to help provide medical equipment for PRH. Currently, the SOS Medical Foundation is raising $3 million for a new CT scanner to be located near the emergency department, which is now undergoing a major expansion.

“The thing with the hospital is we’ve been very lucky in that we haven’t had to use it much,” Colleen said. “What’s life without good health?”

Ernst’s mother and Colleen’s two sisters all died of cancer.

Day of Giving raises $371K
Colin Dacre - Jun 22, 2020 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed
Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran hands out coffee during the Day of Giving.

This year’s KGH Foundation Day of Giving raised an incredible $371,823, going towards keeping the hospital nimble in the wake of COVID-19.

In addition to the outpouring of support from the community, the one-day fundraising event was made possible thanks to the generous contribution of a small group of anonymous donors that matched all gifts up to $175,000.

“I am incredibly proud,” KGH Foundation CEO Doug Rankmore said in a press release. “Once again, the community has taken a decisive stand for local health care and sent a powerful message to our frontline health care workers, that their courage and commitment to keeping us safe during and in the aftermath of this pandemic has not gone unnoticed.”

While KGH has been eerily quiet for the past three months due to the pandemic, it was bustling with activity on Thursday during the fundraiser, as a steady rotation of community ambassadors and dignitaries stopped by to support the cause.

“This is what our community is all about,” Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran said. “Working together through tough times, doing what we can to support the continued health of all the people who call this community home. I’m humbled and grateful to be here.”

Every dollar raised will go towards the purchase of  equipment and patient care items urgently needed at KGH.

“We’ve had over $2 million in requests for funding since the beginning of the pandemic,” Rankmore said.  “From the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone who gave. Every gift makes a difference.  Every gift is an acknowledgment of our shared commitment world-class health care, right here at KGH.”

Charities score big bucks
Brendan Kergin - Jun 19, 2020 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed

In a time when donations to non-profits are down, the BC Interior Community Foundation interest cheques are a welcome sight.

Three were presented on Thursday, with more than $35,500 going to the Kamloops Brain Injury Association (KBIA) and the provincial brain injury alliance, $12,570 to Western Canada Theatre and nearly $41,600 to the Kamloops Symphony.

“Donations to non-profits are down, and so getting this and knowing it’s coming every year is helpful,” KBIA executive director Dave Johnson said.

The KBIA has had to move its biggest annual fundraiser, the Gur Singh Memorial Golf Tournament, online.

Daniel Mills, the executive director at the symphony, is grateful as well.

“This money is great, especially right now when there’s so much uncertainty,” he says.

“To have such stable funding I feel very grateful, including Kathy (Humphries), my predecessor who set up this endowment before,” he added.

Humphries, who’s a long-serving board member at the foundation, was on hand for the cheque ceremony, along with the foundation’s executive director, Robert Miller.

The foundation, which started in 1984 and was known as the Kamloops Foundation until 2015, holds endowed funds, Miller explained. As part of their regulations, they ensure 3.5% interest; while the principal money stays with the foundation, each year stakeholder charities get a cheque made up of the interest.

“We have over 220 endowed funds and every year we provide interest cheques to different stakeholder charities who have funds with us or are benefiting from the interest monies,” Miller said.

Currently, the foundation is responsible for approximately $10 million in endowed funds.

“In terms of the charitable model, we’re the best value,” Miller said. “The monies will grow forever; it’s a great way to provide legacy giving.”

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