A community doing much together
Annual Report on giving 2019-2020
Your investment in students is growing
disbursed to students
awards to 537 students
new awards created
"Thanks to The Aboriginal Emergency Bursary, I no longer have to worry about the cost of my application into the Licensed Practical Nursing program. It was a scary moment when I had to choose between paying for my bills or investing into my future career.
I had never thought that I would live through a pandemic and request emergency financial assistance. I would like to sincerely thank Okanagan College for helping me through this unimaginable time. I like to think that once I graduate and start working as a nurse, I can help give back to my community as they have given to me." ~ Samantha Lougheed
Donor support boosts recruitment
Your support helps the College continue to attract students and provide a world-class education. For the 15th year, Okanagan College has successfully met government-established full time equivalent domestic enrolment targets, and has experienced significant increases in international student enrolment.
Setting her sights on seniors care
Jacquie Thom is featured on our cover as a top Health Care Assistant (HCA) student. After caring for her parents when they were palliative, Jacquie quit her job as an employment counsellor and returned to school at age 51 to fulfil her passion to care for the elderly.
Jacquie was born with the eye condition coloboma and is legally blind. She is nearsighted and uses her other senses including feel, smell and hearing to assist her when needed.
One in four Canadians will develop irreversible vision loss by age 75, a fact Jacquie says she can meet with empathy and experience, helping seniors adjust to their new reality.
You're creating community benefits
A recent Economic Impact Report shows that Okanagan College creates valuable benefits for society. Based on data from the 2018-19 year, the impact report shows the social benefits of OC equal a present value of $1.4 billion.
These benefits include $1.4 billion in added income through students’ increased lifetime earnings and increased business output, as well as $19.9 million in social savings related to health, crime and income assistance in British Columbia.
Year in review
New wings for famous plane
Robert Foord, along with family members, donated Tom Foord’s plane to the College’s Aircraft Maintenance Technician (AMT) program in
Tom was the co-founder of Kal Tire, which grew from a small tire shop in Vernon to an international business.
Kofoed family give to nurses
Jack Kofoed and his children gave $60,000 to the Our Students, Your Health campaign towards a new Health Sciences Centre at the College’s Kelowna campus.
Jack’s wife Leona was a nurse. She passed away in 2017, and this gift recognizes her life’s work and the special care she received during her final days, according to her family.
The compounding effect of your giving
Award winner is teaching young people to crunch the numbers
Erum Ahmad is creating an opportunity for Vernon high school students to improve their financial literacy skills, an experience she wished she had during grade school.
The fourth-year Okanagan College Vernon Bachelor of Business Administration (Accounting) student remembers being disappointed when she learned her high school didn’t offer any accounting classes. So Erum took it upon herself to create and teach a program to Clarence Fulton Secondary students in Vernon this past year.
Erum was able to teach students in Grades 11 and 12 how to do their taxes, how to get student loans, understanding interest and credit card debt, how to read financial statements and their rights as an employee.
“Receiving awards is amazing. It has allowed me to not worry about working as much as I usually would. I was able to work towards offering this financial literacy course, which is helping the youth of our community, and that really feels full circle for me.
I was able to give back because I also received support.”
A landmark gift to health
The Okanagan College Foundation has received a landmark gift to the Our Students, Your Health campaign, which will help support the training of the Okanagan’s frontline health care professionals for generations to come.
The Stober Foundation is committing $500,000 over the next five years to support the development of a state-of-the-art Health Sciences Centre at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus.
The new Health Sciences Centre will serve as a leading-edge training hub for students across eight critical health and social care professions. Graduates will go on to provide care in the region’s hospitals, long-term care facilities, pharmacies, rehabilitation settings, dental clinics, and mental health services.
The Stober Foundation gift will specifically support the completion of the Centre’s Health Lab, where nurses and Health Care Assistants will be trained.
This is a strategic investment in our community’s health and well-being," says Keith Z. Brewster, Stober Foundation Executive Director. "COVID-19 continues to highlight the dedication and commitment of all those on the frontlines in our community, specifically health care professionals. We are incredibly honoured and proud to be able to support the education of those who will care for our community, when we need it most.”
Together we can do so much
Message from the Chair and Executive Director
This year’s theme for our Annual Report comes from a famous Helen Keller quote “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” The quote resonates for us as we celebrate what we’ve achieved this year thanks to our diverse Okanagan College community, and as we buttress ourselves for what may lie ahead.
COVID-19 is creating a challenging context for all fundraising, and yet the pandemic reminds us just how important well-trained health care professionals are for ourselves, our loved ones and our entire community.
Philanthropic investment in our new Health Sciences Centre will have a far-reaching impact for generations to come.
The pandemic poses new challenges for public health but the health care issues we are familiar with haven’t gone away. With an aging population and already-critical skills shortages, this new regional training hub will help us attract and retain new talent to meet our communities’ future health care needs – whatever they may be.
We are thankful to our generous donors for helping us reach the halfway mark of our $5-million Our Students, Your Health campaign goal. Many donors had personal reasons for giving, from honouring loved ones who received excellent care to recognizing the essential role these caregivers play.
We’re preparing to open the new Health Sciences Centre this fall, a world-class facility that will attract students from across B.C. While the building will open, our fundraising efforts will continue as we still need to achieve our fundraising goal for equipment and to support the capital costs of the building.
If you’re in a position to support this cause, please consider giving to the education of health care professionals. This is a gift that will safeguard our community’s health and impact generations to come.
Helen Jackman Gladys Fraser
Executive Director Chair
Okanagan College Foundation Okanagan College Foundation
Your support creates community for student
Eric Pruijs was in the first month of his Aircraft Maintenance Technician (AMT) program when COVID-19 resulted in classes being cancelled temporarily and quickly moved online.
“I felt alone when this was happening,” recalls Eric, who had saved up to take the program but still planned on working part-time to get by.
“I was worried about my finances and how it was going to work out. I needed to find ways to support myself.”
Eric considered leaving the program to focus on finding work full-time. However, an emergency bursary helped Eric focus on completing his program.
“It helped pay for my rent and groceries. Instead of going back to work I was able to focus on my studies,” says Eric. “It really helped me, and gave me time to study. I can see it in my grades.”
COVID-19 also meant he couldn’t see his mother, who lives in a long-term care home. Despite the challenges, Eric says the experience taught him that we are one community, and that if we are generous with one another, we can help each other accomplish our goals.
A quarter century of giving
Last year during our Student Award ceremonies we were able to publicly thank donors who have been giving to the Okanagan College Foundation for more than 25 years.
The list includes individuals, non- profits and service clubs as well as many businesses.
We are grateful to having such loyal donors, but also curious about what keeps them giving. We followed up with several of these donors to learn why they started giving, and what keeps them engaged for more than two decades.
Click the arrows to learn more:
Gorman Group CEO
Distinguished Alumni Award 2007
“We give because we’re part of the community. The founders of Gorman Brothers and now the fourth generation living here have a strong connection to the valley and we operate very much in the same region the College covers, from Revelstoke to Salmon Arm and Kelowna.
We recently set up a nursing award. It feels even more essential during this pandemic.
Institutions like the College grow with the community but they also play a huge role in helping the community grow: economically and socially. OC has had a huge impact on the valley, and we’re pleased to support a community-building organization.”
Dr. Jayne Brooks
former Dean of Business, Okanagan College
Distinguished Service Award Recipient 2020
"I give because Okanagan College gave me my start. The College set me on a path that led to an incredible lifetime career.
I barely made it through high school but there was something about the College and the faculty that got me engaged. I became interested in business and accounting and suddenly I had top marks and was winning awards. I was working full-time while going to college and I remember what those awards meant to me. They provided recognition, motivation and financial support. They made a difference.
What I love about the College is that it provides relevant and practical education. It is also accessible to everyone, and it doesn’t matter if you dropped out of high school or if you already have a degree, a wide array of programs from trades to health care to business are available.”
Dr. Malcolm Paterson
Rotary Club of Penticton Sunrise President
"Our members believe that our nation’s greatest natural resource is our youth, and we’re firmly committed to supporting them.
We started an annual award in 1995 and now provide three annual awards in business, sustainable construction and dental assistant training. We fundraise for these awards annually and our members love attending events and meeting with the awardees. Supporting the College fits so nicely with three of Rotary’s areas of focus: education, economic and community development and supporting the environment.
We are both delighted and honoured to be involved with Okanagan College.”
Stories of resilience
While the true impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was felt after the reporting period for this annual report, it’s our new, encompassing reality. We would be remiss not to remark on the incredible impact COVID-19 has had on students and the College community – and the incredible response it elicited.
And yet, the pandemic is far from over. We are finding our way through this together. We’ve gotten through the first phase, and are using these lessons to ensure a world-class learning experience, albeit one that will look and feel different, as we move into the 2021 academic year.
Whether it is in the physical presence of students and employees on our four campuses, or in the manner of delivery and assessment of our educational offerings, the College experience is changing for the interim.
Through this process, we are grateful to you and our entire community. While this pandemic is ongoing, we celebrate the resilience and strengths that are helping the College to continue transforming lives and communities – from a distance.
Donors and the College contributed to an Emergency Bursary fund to help students when the pandemic struck and businesses were mostly closed.
Over $150,000 in additional financial support was made available and disbursed to students in the first half of 2020 to assist them in making it to the end of their study period.
When businesses were mostly closed, alumni of the Therapist Assistant Diploma (TAD) program were instrumental in connecting students with people in need of online assessments or treatments, helping students get their much-needed clinical hours in order to graduate.
Thanks to our alumni, TAD students have been connecting with people all across the province from the coast to 100 Mile House to the Kootenays to provide support.
A group of Therapist Assistant students decided to put the sewing skills they learned for Occupational Therapy to work during the lockdown.
The group of five sewed hundreds of masks to donate to long-term care homes and community groups.
Student entrepreneurs pivot
The closure of elementary schools in Spring 2020 meant that the distribution model for FruitSnaps, a healthy apple chip for children facing food insecurity, would no longer work.
The OC Enactus team behind FruitSnaps quickly forged new community partnerships across the valley to ensure children in need could access the snacks when schools were closed.
Haircuts for Health Care
Community members facing months without a haircut pledged to give themselves home haircuts while raising funds for our new Health Sciences Centre.
More than 400 people donated to the various campaigns raising $44,000. Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran and Westbank First Nation Chief Christopher Derickson shaved their heads after raising more than $10,000 each.
While markets have been volatile as a result of the pandemic, the OC Foundation was able to approve a disbursement for its endowed student award funds of 3.5 per cent in 2020-21.
A reserve fund equal to the awards allocation will be set aside for future years should the market conditions continue to prove challenging.
Student nurses advocate
In March 2020, the College was forced to postpone LPN students’ preceptorships – the final stage of their practical training – out of concern for their safety.
The students advocated to Interior Health and the College that they should be able to finish their preceptorships in order to graduate and help their fellow nurses in the field. Once Interior Health deemed it was safe for them, all 28 LPN students chose to complete their preceptorships.
A quick shift
Faced with the rapid shift to online learning in March, College employees, faculty and instructors were part of a massive undertaking to transition approximately 90 per cent of courses online. The IT department and Learning and Applied Research were instrumental in setting up systems for virtual learning and training the majority of staff on new teaching and learning strategies, as well as ensuring everyone had the necessary technology to access their programs.
We estimate 10 per cent of students won’t have the technology to access online learning. The Foundation is creating a fund to support technology needs, contact our office to learn more.
OC Serves Up
A new initiative on the Kelowna campus is training future chefs while providing healthy and nutritious meals to students who are struggling financially. With OC’s restaurants and cafeteria closed for the time being, culinary students are not able to cook for people on campus. With the support of RBC Royal Bank of Canada, the Okanagan College Students’ Union (OCSU), Sysco and GFS the culinary students are instead helping fellow students in need by creating 50 meals a day free of charge.
The OC Foundation is seeking more support for this student meal delivery program. Learn more here.