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Community Foundation gives over $250,000 to local causes

Community Foundation North Okanagan (CFNO) was able to provide $253,000 in financial support to 28 local projects during its annual spring grant event.
Kody Woodmass, Fund Development Coordinator, Turning Points Collaborative Society with Lisa Deargle, Communications Director, Community Foundation North Okanagan at the CFNO’s annual spring grant event.

Community Foundation North Okanagan (CFNO) was able to provide $253,000 in financial support to 28 local projects during its annual spring grant event.

Each of the charities accepting a grant shared about their organization and project, making for a heartwarming experience that shed light on the many issues being tackled, and the incredible innovation and dedication to solving problems for people in our North Okanagan communities.

Nikki Lorentz, Food Security Initiative Coordinator with the Okanagan Indian Band shared about their Food Security Project that will be growing fresh produce on 25 acres of land at the North end of Okanagan Lake. These new gardens will produce enough fresh produce to supply weekly food hampers to over 500 band members, free of charge. “We envision an Indigenous-led food system that can feed the community and empowers young Indigenous farmers. This new location will allow us to build long-term capacity in future years and we will reduce our vulnerability and reliance on outside food sources. This project links food security and sovereignty – it allows our people to develop healthy eating and cultural practices by returning to producing our own food.”

Another grant recipient, Jim Swingle, Executive Director of the Family Resource Centre Society for the North Okanagan described the purpose of the Art & Identity Project. “Art and Identity offers an art therapy group to youth ages 14 to 17. Group members explore their identity (including values, beliefs, emotions, gender, sexual orientation, authenticity and more) using art, in the context of a safe and supportive therapeutic environment. The group gives members a chance to make peer connections with other youths, explore any mental health challenges they are experiencing, and develop their ability to express themselves through art.”

This granting program is made possible thanks to 46 donors that have earmarked all or a portion of their charitable funds’ granting dollars to support the Annual Community Grants Program, year after- year. This year $123,000 was available from these funds, with an additional $130,000 being donated by two special families that are making a big contribution to the quality of life in the North Okanagan.

“We know there are many more groups in need of funding,” says CFNO executive director Leanne Hammond.

Although over a quarter of a million dollars was able to be shared, the demand for funding far exceeded donations received – 50 charities submitted requests totalling $600,000.

“Our hope is to find a way to support some of those challenges in the fall,” says Hammond.

Grant recipients receiving between $1,500 and $12,000 included:

• Archway Society for Domestic Peace – North Okanagan Women’s Outreach Support & Empowerment

• Athletics for Kids – Sport4Life Grant Program

• Ballet Jorgen Canada – Vernon & Area Dance Programming- February 2024

• BC Small Wetlands Association – Pleasant Valley Wetland Heritage Park Boardwalk

• Caetani Cultural Centre Society – The Caetani Cultural Centre Society 2024-2028 Strategic Plan Preparation

• Canadian Mental Health Association Vernon & District Branch – Youth Suicide Grief Support Group

• Community Recreational Initiatives Society – CRIS Adaptive School District 22 Programming

• Family Resource Centre Society for the North Okanagan – Art and Identity

• Fresh Outlook Foundation – Climate Action Ripple Effect (CARE) 2024

• Friends of Okanagan Rail Trail – Km0 Phase 3 Interpretation

• H.O.P.E. Outreach – ALLY Program

• Independent Living Vernon – FASD Assessment Training for Family Physicians

• John Rudy Health Resource Centre Association – Caregiver Funding Project

• Kalamalka Secondary – SD22 Mountain Bike Project

• Literacy Alliance of the Shuswap Society – Books For Babies, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

• Literacy Society of the North Okanagan – Books for Babies and Kindies

• NexusBC Community Resource Centre – NexusBC Compassion Fund

• Niteo Africa Society – Story As Community

• North Okanagan Neurological Association – Year-round exterior colourful lighting

• North Okanagan Youth and Family Services Society – Family First Community Workshops

• Okanagan College Foundation – Sunflower Childcare Centre Campaign

• Okanagan Indian Band – Food Security: Growing and Harvesting Food on Indigenous Land

• People Place Society – Front Entrance Security Gate/Fence

• Schubert Centre Society – Meals on Wheels Program

• Take a Hike Youth Mental Health Foundation – Take a Hike Vernon Pilot Program

• TFL Technology for Living – Technology for Living home environmental controls

• The British Columbia Lions Society for Children with Disabilities – Winfield Summer Camp for Persons with Diverse Abilities

• Turning Points Collaborative Society – Turning Points Wellness Initiative

To learn how CFNO works with donors to support charities in our area please reach out to Leanne Hammond, Executive Director of the Community Foundation North Okanagan, 250-542-8655 or