Why do people give to their communities?
There are many reasons on why people give, and everyone has a personal story. Your passions and desires are unique to you. Some people view it as an opportunity to give back in return for a good life. To thank a community that helped them succeed. Others give to ensure that the things that they care about are looked after.
Take a moment to explore “what are you passionate about?” Is it shifting children out of poverty? Protecting our environment? Helping arts and culture flourish in our city?
At the Community Foundation we are fortunate to help many people give back to the areas in the community they care about. . It is an honour to sit down with our donors and friends to explore the areas they value and are passionate about as we build a personalized giving plan that include impacting our community today and creates an endowment fund that will provide an impact into the future and beyond their lifetime.
As you reflect on the diversity of our arts community, opportunities to protect our environment, enhance resources for our senior population, increase recreational opportunities for our youth, or ensure everyone has access to an education, imagine creating an endowment fund that reflects your desires and creates a lasting legacy of your dedication to our region.
Creating a legacy adds meaning to our lives, connects family generations, or can memorialize a loved one. Whatever your reason, we at the Community Foundation can provide convenient, cost-effective and impactful giving options that support your specific values, interests and intentions. Your giving reflects your values. The most rewarding philanthropy is thoughtful, strategic and impactful.
Your Community Foundation has a long and valued history of strengthening community wellbeing by investing in people, opportunities and solutions. Building on our connections and knowledge of the non-profit sector, we provide insightful, effective grants to increase the vitality of our communities.
No matter your passion – let us help guide and inspire your charitable giving. At your Community Foundation, our dedicated staff bring years of community knowledge and unwavering dedication as a community convener.
We are here to wisely connect your giving to create impact, and your heart to the issues that matter most to you.
Connect people. Build community. For good, and forever.
Tracey Vavrek, CEO
BRYDEN SPARKS ARTS FAMILY FUND
The opportunities for young artists, musicians and dancers in northwestern Alberta to develop their talents are growing thanks to the legacy of a young man with a zest for life and a love of the arts.
The Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta’s Bryden Sparks Arts Family Fund was established following the sudden tragic death of 17-year old Bryden Sparks of Grande Prairie in 2005.
Today it helps support programs that provide young people with the opportunity to experience dance, music, art and any other fine arts related activity with a focus on aiding the development of local youth.
A creative young man with a penchant for music, an interest in digital animation and break dancing, Sparks made an impression on all who knew him.
His co-workers at the Grande Prairie Keg Steakhouse & Bar came together quickly after his passing to create the fund with the community foundation as a way to keep his memory alive and offer other young aspiring artists a chance to shine.
“Bryden liked to dance, played guitar and he used to love entertaining for children, which was pretty amazing. We thought it would be a neat way to keep his memory alive and keep things going for him and his family,” said Keith Curtis, manager of the Keg at the time.
The foundation’s Arts Family Fund, established in 1999, was already in place and providing community arts support. The decision was made to add the $10,000 raised by The Keg staff, The Grande Prairie Keg Steakhouse & Bar and The Keg Spirit Foundation to that specific fund and rename it in Bryden’s memory.
“We thought by putting Bryden’s name on it, we would be able to combine the money into a single fund. We’d have a higher return and be able to give back to the Arts Community more quickly,” said Curtis.
And give back it has.
In 2016 the purpose of the Bryden Sparks Arts Family Fund was updated to be able to reach more areas of the community that offer programs for local aspiring young artists.
In 2017, local organizations including Grande Prairie Live Theatre Society, HIV North Society, Elders Caring Shelter Society and the Grande Prairie Women’s Residence Association, received funding through the Bryden Sparks Arts Family Fund for programming specifically focused on the arts for youth.
Creating connections, accountability and empowerment for youth has been made a little easier for Grande Prairie’s LGBTQ+ Youth Group thanks to the Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta.
The program, run by HIV North, provides support through a weekly drop-in where LGBTQ+ identifying youth and allied youth come together to explore issues of self worth, confidence and empowerment, but also to learn other skills.
A recent recipient of a Community Impact Grant, the program offers youth a safe place to explore things about gender and sexuality that they may not be able to in their everyday lives.
“For many of the youth, it is the only space where they are ‘out’ about who they are; this includes their preferred names and pronouns,” says Melissa Byers, executive director of HIV North.
“It is a program based on relationship and I have been told multiple times that if it were not for this program, the youth who attend would feel isolated. It is truly their space, and I allow them to take charge of where they would like the program to go. For some, this is their first experience in feeling empowered to make those decisions and have a say,” she says. “It has given them ownership of something important to themselves, their identity and their relationships within the program.”
The drop-in program supports youth between the ages of 13-17 who identify as LGBTQ+ or are strong allies for the LGBTQ+ community. Byers noted the resources within Grande Prairie and area for LGBTQ youth are limited, so the program allows for expansion and flexibility in regard to the age of those it serves.
“It supports those who may be on the edge of no longer being considered a youth when it comes to issues around transitioning and where to find access for that process,” she adds.
Byers notes the program supports not just the youth, but their families as well with a Parent Support Group which offers bi-weekly meetings.
The LGBTQ+ Youth Group has made a difference for one youth who heard about the program through a school guidance counsellor.
“For me, there is a big benefit to the group. I’ve made a lot of friends and I’ve been able to talk through my questions about sexuality and gender openly,” said the youth, who asked not to be identified. “The program has helped me be more open with myself and more confident around others.”
While others have heard about the program though word of mouth, Byers says HIV North’s gender and sexual diversity presentations given to schools are key in creating dialogue and relationship for the program.
“Finding youth who have similar experiences normalizes a lot of what is being experienced and allows for safety (for the youth),” says Byers. “They are allowed to feel secure, and thus, allowed to grow as individuals without the fear of being judged for being LGBTQ+.”
A big part of the program is growing beyond labels and becoming active in their community.
Some of the youth have volunteered within the community because of participation in this program, as we focus on how we can be more active within the community,” she says. “It is important for this group to not isolate further by only focusing on LGBTQ+ issues, so while there is like-mindedness, safety and connection, the growth and empowerment aspect means exploring beyond labels and getting active in community engagement.”
Community Impact Grants through CFNWA have allowed the program to subsidize a variety of activities for the youth, such as visits to the Centre for Creative Arts or bowling, that allow them to try new things while feeling supported.
The grants are not the only impact the foundation has had on the program, says Byers, pointing out the annual Vital Signs Report as a key tool.
“It is a beneficial tool when searching for demographics of the region. It also allows for understanding of what community members and thinking, feeling, or saying about certain topics. It also tracks shifts in the community, which is helpful knowledge to have when thinking about youth programming; it helps create knowledge in where resources may be lacking,” she says.
nourish the north wine & auction 2018
Through the dedication and endless support of our fundholders, donors, smart & caring leaders, friends, ambassadors, sponsors, volunteers and the community at large, your Community Foundation continues to connect people and build community throughout our region. Please join us on September 27 for Nourish the North.
STUDENT AWARDS & COMMUNITY IMPACT GRANTS
Your Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta has the pulse on our growing and changing region. Each year, we support a wide range of innovative projects and organizations that are changing people’s lives and helping to create more vibrant, livable communities. Our Community Impact Grant Program promotes a healthy, vibrant community that embraces diversity and support all of its members. Financial circumstances shouldn’t be a barrier to post-secondary education. That’s why the Community Foundation offers a range of student awards to help students with financial need achieve their post-secondary goals. It is through the generosity of our fund holders and donors that we are able to offer these grants to our region. The Community Foundation is honoured to be able to offer these grants to you. Charitable organizations are the heart of the community, making our region a better place to work, play and live. Thank you for the work you do. Together. We are building smarter more caring communities. Apply Now – https://www.buildingtomorrowtoday.com/community-impact-grants
August 24, 2018 – Sexsmith Golf Tournament