The Community Foundation has been giving back to our community since the early ’90s. Browse this page to learn about projects and funds that made our community a better place to live.
COVID Response Funding – 2020-2021
Over 2020-2021, the Community Foundation of the South Okanagan Similkameen teamed up with various partners to provide funding to local organizations affected by the pandemic as well as those that were working on the frontlines.
First, in May 2020 the Community Foundation of the South Okanagan Similkameen started a community response fund in partnership with the other Community Foundations in the valley. During this time, the Community Foundation accepted applications and granted funds on a weekly basis.
When the Community Foundations of Canada created a Emergency Community Support Fund, in partnership with the Government of Canada, the Community Foundation of the South Okanagan Similkameen pivoted and began accepting applications and allocating funds to the local community through this fund.
Additionally, the Community Foundation of the South Okanagan Similkameen was able to provide funding to local applicants thanks to funding from the Vancouver Community Foundation, and the generosity of an anonymous local donor.
Smart and Caring Communities – 2013-2020
Smart & Caring Communities was a national initiative of the Community Foundations of Canada, which started in 2017 to support local communities through the establishment of community funds.
Since that time, the Community Foundation of the South Okanagan Similkameen has worked with dedicated local community members to launch and grow seven community funds in the region. To view or to donate to these funds, please visit: Kaleden, Lower Similkameen, Okanagan Falls, Oliver, Osoyoos, Princeton and District, Summerland.
As we continue to administer community funds in our region, we keep the original aims of the Smart & Caring Communities initiative in mind: we are committed to working together to address local needs, inspiring citizens to invest locally, aligning giving with community needs, and multiplying single gifts by pooling funds together.
Our Community Development Officer works with local community advisory committee members offering administrative support, marketing expertise, event planning, fund management services, and many other benefits that will help dedicated citizens provide lasting benefit to the towns they love.
To learn more about community funds or to get involved with this program in your community, contact Community Development Officer, Kim English: 250-493-9311 or firstname.lastname@example.org
RBC Future Launch Community Challenge – 2019
In 2019, The Community Foundation of the South Okanagan Similkameen took part in the RBC Future Launch Community Challenge, and granted $30,000 to youth-led projects in the South Okanagan and Similkameen that responded to local needs in the community.
Specifically, we granted $15,000 to the Erris Creek Volunteer Fire Department in Princeton for their Junior Firefighter program and $15,000 to the Foundry in Penticton to create a therapeutic waiting room area at the youth centre. In addition to granting to these organizations, the Community Foundation and Foundry Penticton held community conversations online with youth to talk about the challenges facing youth and how to address them.
Vees Community Heroes – 2018-2020
Through this great program, the Penticton Vees partnered with the Community Foundation of the South Okanagan Similkameen to highlight and support local charities at each of this BCHL team’s home games.
In the 2019/20 season, the Vees presented $1,000 to a deserving local charity on each of their home game nights, providing a unique opportunity for community heros to fund their work, and to help them spread the word about their charity in the greater community.
YES Project – 2013-2019
The YES (Youth Engagement Strategy) project started in 2013, with community organizations inviting a group of youth to come together to speak about mental health and self-esteem issues for a local report. Spurred by the highlighted lack of local youth-focussed services, the YES Project snowballed into an amazing initiative that culminated in the building of a full-service youth centre in downtown Penticton.
The youth group rallied the community to support their vision — raising more than $1 million in donations, and garnering partner support such as the Community Foundation of the South Okanagan Similkameen purchasing a building, so that dream of Foundry Penticton could be fulfilled.
The Centre opened its doors July 2019, and currently offers young people, aged 12-24, access to mental health and substance use support, primary care, peer support and social services. Learn more about Foundry Penticton.