April 2017

Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.”  Elizabeth Andrew

The strength of this community is due in great measure to the influence and commitment of volunteers. We salute the many who contribute endlessly for others.

Imagine being a young person who has never experienced kickboxing, water polo, wheelchair basketball, or have never held a golf club. Many children do not have these opportunities for a variety of reasons: perhaps they are apprehensive because they have never been exposed to the sport; perhaps their caregivers cannot afford many extras, or perhaps they are just not given the opportunity.

Research has proven conclusively that participating in recreational activities helps people feel more engaged, inspired, and successful. During this school spring break, 80 local youth were were given the chance to enjoy new Experience Fun Experience Fitness at the Eastlink Centre – an outstanding community partnership between the City of Grande Prairie, Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta and the three local school divisions. Participants had the opportunity to get to know other children from around the region, try something very new to them and increase their activity level. The inspiration for this project arose from the findings of the 2015 and 2016 Vital Signs project. As a result we examined how the Foundation could help local youth increase their physical activity level, get to know others in the region and increase their self-confidence. This identified need became a project, and the project produced successes beyond measure.

We are inspired to hear the amazing comments from kids, parents and Eastlink staff about how the children developed and grew, and had so much fun with others.

Thanks to our friends and supporters, we raised the funds to support this pilot project at our 2016 Nourish the North Wine & Auction. We truly believe that helping local youth participate in sports and recreation will help builds stronger communities.

The Board is pleased to announce the recent appointment of Devon Wardley as Chair of the Board. An active member of the Community Foundation since 2013, Devon relocated to Grande Prairie in 1997 to play for the Grande Prairie Storm and attend Grande Prairie Regional College. Northern Alberta is Devon’s home and he chooses to give back to the community that has offered his family many opportunities. A community volunteer for many organizations, Devon is a partner at Fletcher Mudryk LLP, Chartered Professional Accountants.

Community Foundations are uniquely positioned to help you learn about your community and to make sure your giving has the most impact.  We know the issues in our community, and the organizations working to improve them.

Please feel free to contact me at (780) 538-2820 to discuss how you can partner with the Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta and how you can impact and inspire others.

Connect people. Build community. For good, and forever.

Warmest Wishes,

tracey web

Tracey Vavrek, CEO


HAPI Opportunities for All

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With tears in his eyes and the biggest smile that I have ever seen, Donald held up a painting of a dragon he just completed and proudly exclaimed “I did this! I painted this – I did this!” Donald’s words brought Candace Hook, Executive Director of the Centre for Creative Arts to tears and it sums up the benefits of Healing Arts Program Initiative (HAPI) n the most honest way. HAPI allows students to feel proud and amazed by the talents they didn’t even know they had.

HAPI offers expressive opportunities for people facing barriers that would otherwise keep them from participating in artistic and cultural programming. Inclusive and with a broad reach, the youngest HAPI student is 3 and all the way to 95 years of age. They work with students with both intellectual and physical barriers and partner with agencies that service at risk populations offering opportunities for clients to attend classes in their area of interest. In 2016, HAPI thrived with over 432 sessions offered to a total of 1077 students resulting in over 3000 visits to the Centre.

Participation in art programs builds a stronger quality of life and increases the feeling of connection to community. We are proud to partner with the Creative Arts Centre and provide funding support for the Healing Arts Program Initiative.

Interested in learning more about the impact of how the arts build a greater sense of belonging to our communities? A new national Vital Signs Arts and Belonging report, recently released by Community Foundations of Canada in partnership with the Canadian Arts Presenting Association, is shining a spotlight on the power of the arts to build a greater sense of belonging to our communities, to our country and to each other. 


Going to bat for community

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Doug Yates and Shayne Milligan both began playing Fastball at the age of 6, Doug in the city of Grande Prairie and Shayne in the rural community of Sexsmith.

Shayne’s parents, Dennis and Marcia, are avid ball fans and understand the importance of sport as a unifying force in people’s lives. Throughout his life Shayne saw the good that was being done for local organizations and the community as a result of his father’s volunteerism and involvement with the Sexsmith community, plus helping to establish the Sexsmith & District Community Foundation.

Fastball brought Doug and Shayne together in 2011 when the Pirates Fastball team was created. Playing together has built lifelong friendships with lots of interesting and good people, creating a strong fastball family.

When the Pirates Fastball Club began seeing a decline in participation in the sport, Shayne, Doug, and a group of 12 other community-minded athletes decided to act upon their common vision of building community bonds. They wanted to do their part to keep community spirit alive and well, keep the name of the Pirates alive and to give back to the community that means so much to them by establishing a legacy fund in the name of the Pirates. The Pirates Fastball Club Legacy endowment fund will continue be a key player in building our community with grants directed to support programs and community needs as they arise.

Author Margaret Wheatley’s assertion that “Whatever the problem, community is the answer,” sums up the work of the Community Foundation. The most creative and lasting solutions to enhance community well-being depend upon people who unite around a common vision—a vision to work together on initiatives that make solutions a reality.

It is an honour to work with the Pirates in connecting them to people, building our community, for good, forever.


all we do is because…. community matters



We are your Community Foundation and are excited to share with you our 2016 Annual Report. This report serves to keep you informed by providing an overview and highlights of the past years activities and financial information.



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Imagine if every Canadian did three things for their neighbourhood, their nation, and their world this year. We will have over 100 million acts of community building, and we and the world will never be the same!

For Canada’s 150th birthday, let’s all give a gift of three things—three acts of service. They can be large or small. Just ask yourself: What am I passionate about? What can I do to help?

Join us in being part of making a difference for your community! Be sure to share with us your 3 things for community! 

Thank you! 

Thank you to our donors, fund holders, supporters and friends for the continued support and dedication.  You are amongst a group of caring citizens who are building community for future generations.



2023 Vital
Impact Leaders

Thank You!

We are very proud of the continued relationships with the following community leaders. Partnerships with organizations that are dedicated to giving back to their local community ensure that your Northwestern Alberta Foundation can continue to build community. Please support those who support us!

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