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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.