Even after more than a decade of serving on the Community Foundation’s board, Marielle Brule would have signed up for more. “I just love helping everyone else along,” she says to explain her devotion to philanthropy and her impact on the Community Foundation.
“Marielle helped lead our organization through some of its most dramatic years of growth,” says Aaron McRann, Executive Director. In fact, during Marielle’s tenure as treasurer and president, the Foundation tripled their assets and became the first mid-sized foundation in Canada to invest in social-purpose real estate. “Without Marielle’s financial acumen and open mindset, we simply wouldn’t be where we are today.”
Marielle is quick to credit the entire board for this impact. “When we started as an organization, we fit into the box of what foundations do – we gathered money and gave out grants. But we decided that this just didn’t feel like enough.”
The Board was determined to get creative and keep an open mind when assessing new opportunities, which led to several successful outside-the-box projects. The most visible embodiment of this openness to innovation was the work undertaken to find a home for the Penticton Youth Centre.
After several roadblocks and setbacks, the Foundation came up with the idea of purchasing a building to lease back to local youth-serving organizations. “This was a whole new way of thinking, and wasn’t something that foundations do,” explains Marielle. “It was a challenge, and it absorbed a lot of time. But when looking for solutions, we just kept saying, Let’s start with, ‘Yes.’”
Marielle is proud of the Foundation’s accomplishments. “Other foundations are actually now looking to us to see what we’re doing.” She is also grateful to have learned about the huge variety of good work happening across the region. “This gave me a more well-rounded outlook on our community’s needs and of the generosity of spirit in our community.”
It may come as no surprise that while Marielle is no longer on the board, she is still saying ‘Yes’ to helping out. If it wasn’t enough to work as an accountant, operate a ranch in Hedley and cook up a storm in her spare hours, Marielle is staying on with the Community Foundation as a committee member. Thank you, Marielle!