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The future is looking bright for a new trades training hub in the North Okanagan after Okanagan College kicked off its fundraising campaign on Monday with the announcement of two major gifts.
Vernon philanthropist George Galbraith announced a $250,000 pledge to the Okanagan College Foundation’s Bright Horizons – Building for Skills campaign for the new Trades Training Centre at the Vernon campus. Immediately after, a second gift of $250,000 from Kal Tire was announced.
The $500,000 boost puts the Okanagan College Foundation well on its way to the campaign’s $1 million fundraising goal.
“It’s very rewarding to be a part of such an exciting initiative in our backyard,” says Galbraith, who is dedicating his gift and naming one of the trades shops in memory of his son Kieran.
Well-known in the community for his generosity, Galbraith sees his gift as an act of gratitude for the benefits he received raising a family and building a livelihood in the Okanagan. For him, it’s not about signing a cheque, it is about making a long-term investment in the future of the region. Galbraith hopes it will inspire others to contribute as well.
“The new centre will provide youth from our community the educational foundation and tools to be successful as they embark on their careers.”
The contribution from Kal Tire will see one of the new centre’s trades shops named for the company.
“We’re proud to support a new learning environment that will provide the highest quality trades training, and a promising career path for students,” says Robert Foord, President of Kal Tire. “This new centre will create a positive impact for our local economy and help keep qualified tradespeople in the North Okanagan.”
The two contributions will support the completion 13,450 square-foot state-of-the-art centre on the Vernon campus that will have the capacity to train approximately 150 students per year. The project is being supported through the federal government’s Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund. Through this fund, the province of B.C. is investing $2.9 million and the government of Canada has provided $2.7 million. The Okanagan College Foundation is fundraising for the remainder of the project cost and to provide program and student bursaries and scholarships that will help increase access to training.
Construction of the $6.2 million building is underway, with completion targeted for Spring 2018.
“Both George Galbraith and Kal Tire are renowned for their philanthropy and civic spirit,” says Jim Hamilton, president of Okanagan College. “Once again, they are supporting the community, this time through significant contributions to a leading-edge facility where Okanagan College students will train to become part of the solution to address the skills shortage in the province.”
At the launch event, the Okanagan College Foundation also announced a partnership with the Community Foundation of the North Okanagan (CFNO). According to Michael Tindall, Chair of the Bright Horizons Vernon campus campaign, the collaboration will give individuals and businesses the opportunity to make a donation to the campaign through the charity of their choice.
The first gift to the campaign was a $50,000 pledge from Vernon home building and renovation company Keith Construction, announced in May 2017.
For more information about the campaign or to donate, visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/campaign.
A local financial institution has stepped forward with an inspiring gift that will yield great returns for families in the South Okanagan.
The Summerland & District Credit Union (SDCU) announced a pledge of $5,000 to Little Learners Academy, the new child care centre at Okanagan College’s Penticton campus.
A fixture in the Okanagan since 1944, SDCU has helped individuals buy their first car or home, start a new business, send themselves and their children to college, and save for their futures. Their contribution to the child care centre’s fundraising campaign will support another of life’s firsts – a solid start to education for young learners.
“A child care centre right on campus is a brilliant idea - both for students and the greater community,” says Kelly Marshall, CEO of SDCU, who says it is easy to get behind a project that clearly addresses a community need.
“People helping people is the essence of what we do,” he explains. “Our members aren’t account numbers, they are people we know – they are parents, students, and neighbours.
“The relationships we build with our members gives us insight into the needs of the region. We see a demand for high quality child care in the South Okanagan and feel the new centre will be a community asset for years to come.”
The credit union has been a long-time investor in students at Okanagan College, with their philanthropic history dating back to 1989. In 2008, they established the Credit Union Foundation of BC – Summerland Credit Union Endowment, an annual bursary presented to a deserving student at the Penticton campus.
"Our sincere thanks goes out to the Summerland & District Credit Union for their support of our students and our growing campus," says Eric Corneau, Okanagan College Regional Dean South Okanagan-Similkameen. "Their gift will help to build stronger families and community in the region, as well as empower parents to pursue the education and careers they desire."
SDCU is a single branch, independent credit union serving Summerland and the surrounding area. With members across Canada and the world, Marshall notes the donation to the Penticton child care centre aligns with the company’s commitment to support initiatives that benefit all residents in the region.
“Our reach and membership goes beyond Summerland and we want to give back to the communities that support us,” adds Marshall. “We are excited to be part of a development that will fulfill the needs of so many families in the South Okanagan.”
The new Little Learners Academy opened in September and is operated through a partnership between Okanagan College and the Penticton and District Community Resources Society (PDCRS). Registration is open to families in the South Okanagan, including College students and employees.
To make a donation or learn more about the innovative project, visit okanagan.bc.ca/give.