Major gift from Kandola family to support health-care education

By College Relations | March 16, 2022

Kay and Ray Kandola
Kay and Ray Kandola outside of Okanagan College’s Health Sciences Centre

It’s an investment Ray Kandola knows will support Kelowna and the region's health-care needs now and into the future.

The Kandola family, which co-founded City Furniture and Appliances, is donating $100,000 to Okanagan College's Our Students, Your Health campaign for the new Health Sciences Centre.

The gift recognizes the shortage of health-care professionals, and how a state-of-the-art facility will attract and keep students in the region, according to Ray.

“As we get older, we all need health care,” says Ray. “I've been involved in fundraising and I know what it means to the organization and why a person should do it. Every little bit helps.”

City Furniture also donated appliances and furniture to Okanagan College's new Home Care Lab, which gives a range of health-care students experience supporting individuals in a home environment.

“Amazing things will happen as a result of the Kandola family’s generous gift,” says Okanagan College Foundation Executive Director Helen Jackman.

“Our hospitals, long-term care homes and community settings will benefit from caring health professionals who are there when they need them most. This is a gift that will touch all of our neighbours and community and we are deeply appreciative of this support.”

According to Ray, his family’s gift also recognizes the meaningful role Okanagan College plays in providing skilled professionals for a variety of businesses in the region. College’s often play an important role for new immigrants; a story Ray knows first-hand.

Ray immigrated to Canada from India at 19 years old and joined his father working at a mill in Terrace, B.C.

Ray’s desire was to become a heavy-duty mechanic and he found an employer to help pay for his training at a local community college. However, when Ray graduated, the business’ workers were on strike. Ray needed an income and was offered a job in the back room of a furniture store, which he thought would be temporary until he could pursue his trade.

The owner of the company saw a different future for Ray and asked him to start working on the floor, eventually promoting him to manage the store. Less than 10 years later, Ray and several close friends decided to start their own furniture store, City Furniture and Appliances in Prince George. City Furniture has since grown to 24 locations across B.C. and Alberta.

“We all work in Canada, which has unlimited opportunities. I've done well and as far as I’m concerned, it’s important to give back to the future of our community and region,” says Ray.

Thanks to the Kandola family gift and other generous donors, the Okanagan College Foundation has raised $4.25 million for the Health Sciences Centre. There are still opportunities to support the education of health-care professionals. To learn more, visit

Tags: Health Sciences Centre, OC Foundation



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