August 2018

Casey Finnigan

Casey Finnigan

Thank you to our tremendous Nourish the North sponsors, friends, supporters and attendees. I appreciate the immense support of each of you. It is with a heavy heart that we announce the 2018 event is cancelled. The event has been successful in past years due to the involvement of a passionate group of sponsors and community members.

We are putting our focus on our strategic plan, and allowing similar events to be more successful, thereby strengthening the community. The Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta priority is on development of endowments, and building a caring and strong community. As the charity for charities, endowments are important for our region. The revenue generated off of the donations held in the endowments are invested back into the region in the form of community grants and post secondary student awards.

We invite you to join us for our Invest Northwest event on December 5 where we deliver on our purpose by providing community impact grants in support of all areas of our region and announce the successful recipients of our 2018 post-secondary student awards. Thank you for understanding our decision. Please contact me directly with comments or questions.

Warmest Wishes, 

06.05.2015 Tracey Vavrek Electronic Signature


Tracey Headshot



 Natasha and Harold Web

Giving back to the community that has supported them and continuing a legacy of bolstering the welfare of animals, is the focus of a new Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta fund being established by a soon-to-be-wed Grande Prairie couple.

Triumph and tragedy over the last five years have taken Harold DeCoste and Natasha Collins on quite the journey since they first met in Grande Prairie in 2013.

Natasha was born and raised in the Grande Prairie region but left in 2002 to pursue her education and travel. She returned in 2012, planning to only stay for a year or so to get a jumpstart in paying back her student loans. Harold came to Grande Prairie in 2012 from Nova Scotia, planning only to stay for a short period of time. Plans changed very quickly however, as they often do, when Harold met Natasha in 2013.

It was an instant connection and together with their bunny, Oliver, they built a house and made Grande Prairie their home. The little family grew quickly, but not in the most traditional way.

On Natasha’s 30th birthday, Harold surprised her with a tiny red dachshund. Natasha immediately fell in love with his floppy ears and endless need to snuggle…she named him Finnegan and they have been inseparable since. 

The following year, Natasha wanted to do something extra special for Harold for Fathers’ Day. After many long talks, they had decided that having kids was simply not in the cards for them, however this didn’t mean that they weren’t a real family. On Father’s Day, Natasha presented Harold with a small gift bag, which he opened to find a miniature blonde dachshund. Harold knew that this little girl was his Casey, and she has been daddy’s little girl since day one.

The couple has experienced hardships over the years, which have tested their relationship fully, and ultimately brought them closer together. In December 2015, Natasha’s father, Dominick, was diagnosed with cancer. Though it was a tough fight, with the amazing support of family and friends, he has now been cancer free since 2017. 

Tragedy struck the couple again only a few months after Natasha’s father’s diagnosis. In the spring of 2016, Harold’s father (Harold Sr.) a hard-working, devoted husband, family man, and best friend, passed away suddenly from a heart attack at the age of 60. Though fairly new to his workplace, the outpouring of support from Harold’s bosses, colleagues, and the community in general was amazing. Always a supporter of the underdog, Harold Sr. had a soft spot for animals, one of the many positive traits which were passed on to his son, and in lieu of flowers, many individuals chose to make donations to local animal shelters back in Nova Scotia. 

A surprising outpouring of donations and condolences came from all over, many from individuals who had experienced support from Harold Sr. in the past by one form or another, be it by means of a helping hand or perhaps his notorious influential words of life experience and advice. 

Most surprising were those donations and condolences sent all the way from the community in Grande Prairie, the majority of which were from individuals who had never met Harold Sr. in person but have seen how his son strives to be like him in every way and pass on those same influential words and helping hands, always putting others needs before his own.

After receiving a tremendous amount of support from Natasha and her family during this time of great hardship, and just over five years together, by use of Harold’s typical low key and traditional methods (not really), Harold asked Natasha to marry him, and of course, she said yes! 

In February 2019 they will be wed and could not be more excited. They realize how fortunate they are to have each other and their special, although perhaps unusual, family and group of close friends. 

They hope to give back to the community that has supported them and continue the legacy left by Harold’s father, and the values instilled by both their parents, of supporting all the animals and people of their community that are in need and bring so much joy to all of us, and the organizations that support them.  In 2017 Natasha became a board member of the Community Foundation and continues to serve her community through her work and volunteer abilities.

You can donate to Casey & Finnigan’s Fantastic Furry Friends Fund here – Donate Here


Leaving a Legacy

Your gift is as individual as you are.  Your gift will match your values, beliefs and character.  We help you by offering a variety of giving options to help you give authentically and with ease.  When you leave your legacy with the Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta, you become part of something bigger… part of something better. You connect at a deeper level with your community. You leave a more lasting impression in this place you call home. You join a group of caring citizens who are building a better community for our children’s children.. As a donor, we provide access to many resources including the foundation’s knowledgeable staff for prompt, individualized advice.  Call Tracy Zuk at the office to set up a time to chat about how the foundation can assist you in your charitable giving options.  (780) 538-2820

Blackburn Family Web


“We have always intended that the Clyde & Mary Blackburn Family Fund would serve to give back to the community that has treated us so kindly and so well.  Every one of these supports, services, and organizations receive grants from the Community Foundation.  We are so very pleased that our fund has helped to provide that support.”


Investing in Community

Community Impact Grants deadline extended Web

Are you or someone you know involved in a non-profit or charity and in need of funding for their organization?  The Community Impact Grant Application deadline has been extended to September 15, 2018.  Our new process is an online application that you may find here – Apply Here

2018 Sexsmith Golf Tourney Invitation

There’s still time to register.  Contact Tim at the Morningview Golf Course to register your team at  (780) 568-4357.




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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