Community Foundation of North Okanagan making impact

North Okanagan organization innovating and responsive in terms to community’s needs and wishes

At its recent annual general meeting and reception, Community Foundation of North Okanagan speakers shared glowing reports of increased donations and grants and, most importantly, increased impact.

The organization may now be “middle-aged,” in its 40s, but as executive director Leanne Hammond said, “The foundation has never been more innovating and responsive to both the needs of our communities and the wishes of our donors.”

With the Okanagan Rail Trail goal achieved, and funding to both the community foundation’s Spring Grants program and winter endowment income distribution to charities growing steadily, the organization has much to celebrate.

RELATED: Community Foundation of North Okanagan doles out record grant amount

As outgoing board chairperson Janice Mori turned the reins over to Herb Wong, Mori highlighted the importance of expanding the foundation’s definition of philanthropy to think beyond only large monetary gifts from the few, to include innovative ways to offer relevant giving options for both a younger demographic and a wave of new philanthropists who want to see a more immediate impact of their donations.

Mori described the community foundation as a place where “public good and personal values intersect.”

Wong echoed his predecessor’s sentiments and pledged to explore new ideas around how to best benefit the communities of the North Okanagan.

“Having been involved with the community foundation for many years it is my honour to take the position of board chair for 2019,” he said. “I look forward to working with this passionate and skilled group of directors and staff to increase engagement with volunteers, donors and charitable causes in all the communities we serve.”

While the Community Foundation of the North Okanagan is known primarily for its solid endowment program and continuous support of local charities through designated and donor-advised funds, the Okanagan Rail Trail initiative introduced hundreds of individuals and businesses to one of our area’s best-kept secrets.

RELATED: Rail trail donation wrapped up

According to foundation staff, working with so many new donors to facilitate gifts large and small has built a momentum they hope to channel into an appetite for continued positive impact and social change in the future.

“Now that people have seen what we can do when we work together, there is a collective excitement about what we could do next,” said Hammond. “By always looking ahead we can continue to be the ‘Charity for All Charities’ and a one-stop giving resource for donors who want to support our North Okanagan community today, tomorrow… forever.”


• gave out over $650,000 in 2018 grants to hundreds of local charities;

• facilitated more than 500 individual gifts from donors in 2018;

• holds over $16 million in endowed funds to create a sustainable stream of funding for the charitable sector each and every year;

• manages 175+ individual endowment funds for individuals, families, businesses and charities themselves to generate income specifically for charitable activity;

• facilitated 10+ community conversations involving charities, government and other local leaders on issues important to the area;

• publishes the Vital Signs Report to highlight where its communities are succeeding and where more help is needed;

• in partnership with an amazing array of volunteers and donors, raised donations of $7.8 million for the Okanagan Rail Trail project.

For more information about the Community Foundation of the North Okanagan, the various options for giving, granting, or the myriad initiatives the Foundation is involved in, check out its website at

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