Your impact on students: by the numbers
Unfortunately, living away from home can be quite expensive and difficult for a young student. This award, to me, was game-changing. I live in a trailer to help keep costs down, but unfortunately, because of a series of mechanical failures to my trailer and truck, my budget became quite tight. This award allowed me to make the repairs I needed without having to work during the final weeks of school. Instead, I was able to keep my head down and focus on studying and doing the best I could on my exams.
~Reef Gladwin, recipient of the 2021 Walter and Emma Pollet Memorial Award
OC ‘Sticks Up’ Inspires Okanagan College Staff to Give
Each year Okanagan College Foundation teams up with OC’s Indigenous Services to raise money to fund awards for Indigenous students.
The ‘Sticks Up’ fundraiser is a hockey “bracket challenge.” That means that Okanagan College staff (and their friends and family) purchase tickets and then predict the outcomes of every series in the playoffs, along with the Stanley Cup. Those who make the most accurate predictions are eligible to win (donated) prizes.
100% of the $1,200 raised in the 2022 edition of the fundraiser will go towards need-based bursaries for Indigenous students at Okanagan College.
Supporting Budding Indigenous Viticulturists
The Gerard Basset Foundation has generously provided a grant to fund the Golden Vines® Indigenous Viticulture Scholarships pilot program at Okanagan College’s Penticton campus.
The new program will Indigenize Okanagan College’s viticulture program, providing six $5,000 scholarships for Indigenous students (annually) and create a new curriculum that includes integrated learning grounded in Indigenous cultural frameworks.
The program will be delivered in collaboration with Indigenous community partners, and Indigenous students will be paired with Indigenous mentors who will act as advocates, teachers, and community connectors.
The project was one of 15 worldwide to receive funding from the Gerard Basset Foundation. Each of these projects aims to increase diversity in the wine industry.
Donors Make Student Investment Fund Possible
Generous community support has enabled Okanagan College to launch a Student Investment Fund.
The idea for the fund came from Okanagan College Business Students Riley Dunsmore and Steven Fiust, as well as recent alumni Justin Rantucci.
Once established, the fund will give Business students at all four Okanagan College campuses the opportunity to make real-world investments under the supervision and support of a team of expert advisors. When the fund reaches $500,000, proceeds will go toward student scholarships.
The trio say they’ve been overwhelmed and heartened by the incredible community support they’ve received so far. In under three months, the community has generously contributed $100,000 in seed money to get the fund up and running.
Harold Wirick, investor and philanthropist, contributed the inaugural $30,000 gift, the Stober Foundation surprised the Business students with a $40,000 donation, and donors like OC alum Patti Dwyer of TD Wealth, and Kayla Caruana and Karen Erickson from Investors Group have given generously.
The trio is asking for community support to help build the fund to $500,000 so more students can participate in the program and scholarships can be distributed sooner.
For more details please visit
Year in review
I created the Paige Whitelaw & Carlee De Boer Memorial Therapist Assistant Award because I wanted a way to honour the passing of my friends while also providing financial support to Okanagan College students. I met Paige and Carlee when they were students in the Therapist Assistant Program, and they were so passionate about their studies. They meant so much to me, and establishing this award was a way to keep their legacy alive.
~Aaron Gregory, Okanagan College Alum
The Marcia J. Aitkens Memorial Award recognizes an exceptional student in the Practical Nursingprogram. The award was named after the nurse, Marcia J. Aitkens RN BSN,
ow who was instrumental in founding the LPN program at Okanagan College.
Caylee Donovan is a worthy recipient; she is a single mother and a full-time student. Her desire to take her place
in the Healthcare profession and her determination to provide for her family makes Caylee the perfect first recipient of the award. Marcia died in 2001; I know that she would be delighted to see Caylee win the award and begin her nursing life.
~Sharon McKenna, RN, PhD
"When I first found out that I got the George Nicholson Memorial Sheet Metal Worker Award I was so surprised; I couldn’t believe it! I even called Okanagan College Foundation to double-check I’d actually received the award. I just didn’t expect it and I’m still having a hard time accepting that they chose me – but I’m really grateful they did."
Thank you to the incredible community of donors who supported the Our Students, Your Health campaign.
students trained in the new centre
Through the generosity of community, the campaign raised over 4.6 million dollars!
Each and every one of you inspires us and reminds us that with community support, everything is possible.
Thanks to you, Okanagan College now has a state-of-the-art Health Sciences Centre on our Kelowna campus. This sustainable, energy-efficient building recently received anaward for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design from the Southern Interior Construction Association.
Your gift is already transforming lives and communities. The new Centre is outfitted with modern equipment and technology that allows our students to graduate “work ready.” We are also proud to share that the first wave of graduates is already caring for our communities’ most vulnerable in their new roles in health and social service.
Visit https://bit.ly/hscthankyou to hear about the generational impact of this campaign.
A soaring Indigenous sculpture spans all three stories of the Health Sciences Centre, offering unique views from each floor.
This beautiful, hand-cut metal sculpture was created by Indigenous artist, Wapupxn, Clint George. It represents the four food chiefs and depicts the Syilx Okanagan oral history (or captikwɬ) of how food was given. It also marks Okanagan College’s commitment to creating safe spaces for Indigenous students.
Thank you to everyone who attended our Strawberry Social. We're so grateful we had the opportunity to toast the opening of the new Health Sciences Centre with you.
Special thanks to Maxine DeHart, our amazing Campaign Ambassador!
New Learning Spaces Created
✓ Simulated pharmacy
✓ Nursing lab
✓ Dental clinic
✓ Home care lab
✓ Early childhood education lab
✓ Therapist assistant lab
✓ Simulation lab
✓ Collaboration room
✓ 8 student gathering areas
✓ 6 classrooms
✓ 2 student project rooms
Creating a Community of Giving to Support Healthcare
As the founder of one of Kelowna’s leading luxury real estate agencies, Jane Hoffman has an insider’s view of what makes Kelowna tick.
“I can see we’re growing so quickly, and there’s a lot of pressure on healthcare. We’re all aging, and we all want to be taken care of,” says Jane.
That’s why when she heard about Okanagan College Foundation’s Our Students, Your Health campaign, she knew she wanted to help.
“We need well-trained people to be there for us, whether it be through an accident, a heart condition, or another emergency. I know that by supporting health care education, I’m investing in Kelowna’s future,” says Jane.
Jane’s job is all about connection, so she knew that the way she could have the greatest impact was by creating a community of supporters for the campaign. To do that, she reached out to her family, friends and colleagues and invited the to participate in a fundraiser for the Care Bed Units in Okanagan College’s new state-of-the-art Health Sciences Centre.
“It takes a lot of energy to make those calls, but it’s very gratifying when you get an affirmative, ‘Yes, I’ll do it. Yes, I’ll support that.’”
Jane generously hosted an Italian Harvest Celebration Dinner for those who contributed to the fundraiser. The event included building tours, equipment demonstrations, and a family style Italian meal prepared by Okanagan College Culinary Arts students.
Through her hard work and dedication, Jane was able to bring in over $300,000 to help support Okanagan College’s state-of-the-art nursing lab.
Message from the Chairs and Executive Director
This year Okanagan College developed an ambitious new strategic plan – Inspire. That core theme, inspiration, resonates here at the Foundation as we look back across the year, and forward to our own new strategic plan - Inspiring Giving - and the contribution we will make to Inspire.
In 2021-22, 668 generous donors were inspired to give $3.5M to education through Okanagan College Foundation. Every gift was inspired by a belief that education has the power to change lives. Getting to know our donors and learning about the motivation behind your investment has been an honour, especially during a time when our collective resiliency has been tested by the broader context of the pandemic, local environmental impacts and international crises.
Despite this challenging context, donors like you were inspired to help Okanagan College students achieve big goals. Through the power of community, you changed students’ lives. Together you helped create world-class learning facilities and educational programs, you collectively gave $4.6M in donations to help open the doors to a state-of-the-art Health Sciences Centre at our Kelowna campus, you donated $500,000 to establish a childcare facility at our Vernon campus, and you gave $1.1M in awards to students in need.
It is a privilege to connect your community philanthropy with such incredible outcomes and it’s truly inspiring.
On behalf of the staff and Directors, we are full of gratitude.
Galdys Fraser Connie Denesuik Helen Jackman
Chair (June 2019 - June 2022) Chair (June 2022 - present) Executive Director
Okanagan College Foundation Okanagan College Foundation Okanagan College Foundation
A Vernon Couple's Gift Makes On-Campus Childcare Possible
Thanks to an incredibly generous $500,000 donation from Lloyd Davies and Janet Armstrong, Okanagan College’s Vernon campus will soon have a childcare centre.
The childcare centre will be part of Vernon’s new student residences, which were funded by the Government of B.C.
As a former Okanagan College instructor, Lloyd knows the impact that lack of access to childcare can have on students. That’s why he’s been a tireless advocate for on-campus childcare for years.
He says, “time and again, I would have students missing class, missing labs, missing exams. It was an ongoing issue with students who had young children. It was never a huge number, but it was pretty apparent what was happening. Really good students were working really, really hard, but daycare was just this huge hurdle for them to get over.”
Lloyd and Janet’s leadership gift created the momentum for the project; not only did it provide vital funding for building costs, but it also enabled Okanagan College to apply for the remaining capital costs from the Government of BC’s ChildCareBC New Spaces Fund.
Okanagan College Foundation will be launching a community campaign to ensure the new centre is fully equipped with the indoor and outdoor equipment needed for the children to learn and play.
Did you know that the unique way Okanagan College Foundation is funded means 100% of your awards donations go directly to students. Contact us to learn more.