Your Community Matters – April 2020

Today’s the day, it’s finally here, the day we announce our new fearless leader.

It is the privilege of our team and the Board of Directors to welcome and introduce you all to the new Executive Director and CEO of the Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta;

Laura LaValley!

We are thrilled to have her join our fabulous team and are excited that she will receive tutelage under Tracey Vavrek until April 14th. As Laura transitions into this new role we encourage you to reach out, say hello and share with her all the love and support you’ve shown our team over the years.

Watch for Laura’s new contact info on the website that will be posted in the coming weeks!

As a reminder, for the health and safety of our staff and all visitors the Community Foundation office is closed to the public but be assured we remain operational and do continue to conduct all other normal business. We are pleased to connect with you by email, phone or Zoom and thank you for your understanding.

I’m sure you’d like to know more about Laura and her vision for the CFNWAB so please enjoy her welcome message (see below).

Your friends,

Tracey, Devon and Rhonda

Dear Friends,

I couldn’t be more honoured to engage with the community and forge ahead with this new and exciting endeavour. I look forward to connecting with you, learning from you and building community together!

I wish to share a little bit about myself and the journey I’m on. I was born in Grande Prairie and raised on a farm in DeBolt. I have lived on a bison ranch near Bezanson for the past 20 years with my husband Tyler and three energetic teenagers: Mason, Carter, and Sierra.

I grew up understanding how important it is to build community.  I come from two strong pioneering families, and from an early age learned that the only way to build community is to get involved and work together to make great things happen.  Community contribution was modeled to me in many forms as a kid, and to do so in my adult life was a natural progression. 

I believe community is not about geographical boundaries, it is about each of us working together for a common cause. Whether that be building healthy, connected neighborhoods, vibrant school communities, or strong cities and regions, we all need to play a role in seeing this to fruition.

I am a proud alumni of the Grande Prairie Regional College’s business program, focusing on marketing & management and continue to enjoy learning opportunities whenever presented. This has led into many career endeavours working at several different not for profits and charities in Grande Prairie. I’ve worked as the Fund Development Officer for the QEII Hospital Foundation, Executive Director at the Regional EMS Foundation, and most recently the GPPSD Education Foundation. Along with these I was privileged to be sought out and hired as the Capital Campaign Manager for the expansion to the community centre in Bezanson. This project was a fantastic example of teamwork in a small community. I am always amazed how giving and hardworking people can be! All these organizations have fantastic causes which remain dear to me. 

Volunteering is a passion of mine. I have for as long as I can recall, truly enjoyed helping raise money for various projects and initiatives and nowadays thoroughly enjoy my time spent with my kids’ sports teams and other school initiatives. I spent over 10 years as an emergency responder where I was honored to help people in their time of need. I feel I relate well to volunteers in my roles at work because I have spent much of my free time working on volunteer teams, whether it’s being on the end of a shovel or planning an event.  I know they are so important to the success of any organization.

Most of all, I love people.  Whether it’s a fellow sports parent, a donor, my favorite seniors, or a valued colleague, I feel I can learn from them and strive to leave them feeling better after our interaction. 

I am excited to work with the Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta because I have seen how well they are able to connect people.  The founders, leaders, staff and board members (past and present) have created a successful model to not only support individuals, but also enhance other community groups.  The reach is wide and impactful.  I know that a lot of great work has gone into building the Community Foundation into a regional source of connectedness and I am honored to be able to join such an invaluable team.

My vision moving forward with the CFNWAB is to continue building on the great legacy that has been constructed and gain an understanding of what the needs of our region may be during this unprecedented time. The Community Foundation will continue to be a resource for information and funding, and of course remain connected to help find solutions and fill gaps in our region. I look forward to learning from the skilled board members and staff.

I know that Tracey Vavrek has paved the way with her years of valued experience and service to the community.  I am looking forward to making my own mark, but I’m honored to try to do that on the solid foundation she has built!  I wish Tracey the very best as she embarks on her next chapter, and sincerely thank her for everything she has done as a true community ambassador to our region!

Sincerely,

Laura LaValley

Community Kitchen and Foodbank Fund

At this time we have implemented a Community Kitchen and Foodbank Fund where monies will be allocated to the community as needed. Donations can be made here – http://ow.ly/Oaj450yRl0D When donating to your local food bank, consider starting with your wallet. Donating money not only gives food banks flexibility over which supplies — including fresh foods and paper products — to offer but also lets them decide when to refresh their stocks.

Better Together COVID-19 Response Fund

We are excited to announce that our Board of Directors recognize the work we can do in the community and have responded by finding $20,000 in our portfolio to contribute to this fund that will immediately be able to help our community.

We continue to monitor this quickly moving situation and are working to provide supports that will assist and help those most vulnerable in our community and bridge the gaps. In response, we have established the Better Together COVID Response Fund to support all sectors serving our community.

We have not dealt with an economic and health crisis prior and recognize these times are unprecedented. This fund will support organizations now as they manage the crisis and will be available as they rebuild to their new norm.

Donations can be made here – https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/47451