December 2017

Community is a force for good. Community uplifts, empowers and strengthens; it inspires a sense of collective belonging and improves our lives.

When communities are made up of people who feel they belong and trust each other, neighbourhoods are safer, contributions of time and money increase, people’s health improves, participation increases, culture and identity flourish, and communities are more resilient.

On December 6th, in the foyer of the Centre 2000, you could feel an overwhelming sense of community throughout the room. We came together at Invest Northwest to invest in community and celebrate impact, and what an impact it was! Your Community Foundation granted $168, 010 through our Student Awards and Community Impact Grants. 27 students and 40 charitable agencies felt the impact of this amazing evening.

It is through the overwhelming support of our community and the dedicated individuals who became champions of the Foundation 21 years ago that we can continue to make an impact in building community throughout our region, for today and forever. To see the many deserving recipients connect with our community, and amazing fundholders at Invest Northwest was rewarding and utterly humbling. These investments will help shift the needle in our region, building healthier, more resilient communities than we had yesterday.

Through our work this year with Northwestern Alberta’s Vital Signs, it is clear that there is a tremendous amount of passion and care in our community. The region has embraced the purpose and mission of Vital Signs, which is to spark vital conversation and inspire meaningful change in the places where we work, live and play. I have travelled throughout the region presenting on 2017 Northwestern Alberta’s Vital Signs. From municipalities to user groups like charitable agencies to general community presentations, Vital Signs is creating meaningful dialogue and inspiring change.

It is important that each of us continue to listen, understand, talk and address the sense of belonging within our communities, through the holiday season and into the future.

On behalf of the board of directors and our staff, we wish you a wonderful holiday season surrounded by special people and a New Year filled with peace, joy and health.

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

Warmest Wishes,

tracy vavrek

Tracey Vavrek, CEO



Thank you! Thanks to the people who love and support your Community Foundation, we were able to make an amazing impact totaling $168, 010.

Northwestern Alberta’s Vital Signs shows that post-secondary participation is lower than the national average, and has remained stagnant over the past 10 years. The Community Foundation’s Student Awards empower local post-secondary students to achieve their educational goals to become the community leaders of tomorrow.

Your Community Foundation also supports a wide range of innovative projects and organizations that are changing people’s lives and helping to create more vibrant, livable communities through Community Impact Grants. These grants impact programs and services throughout our region, from arts and culture to food security, housing, emergency supports, health and wellness, literacy and more.

The common theme among the projects and programs that your Community Foundation invested in is belonging. Together, we create smart and caring communities where everyone thrives and feels a stronger sense of belonging.

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This year consider the gift of philanthropy. Whether it’s a donation in memorial of a loved one, contributing to a cause you care about or simply giving back to community, a gift to your Community Foundation makes a difference today and forever.

To receive a 2017 tax receipt, gifts may be:
• Delivered to our office during regular business hours until Friday, December 22nd.
• Mailed to our office, postmarked December 31 or earlier.
• Made online until 11:59pm on December 31. You can find the Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta’s donation page here.

Donations received after December 31, 2017 will receive a 2018 tax receipt.


Get in touch with your Community Foundation at (780) 538-2820 or at with questions about year-end giving.

To Our Fundholders

There are so many ways to make a difference, and the story of each fund held at your Community Foundation is unique.

In 2017, five endowment funds were established to strengthen community. From donor directed fund started to continue a family legacy of giving back, to funds that are entirely undesigned – specified only to build community, each fund has a story. What each and every endowment fund has in common is a love for community and desire to build smarter, caring and strong communities in our region.

The impact of our fundholders is greater than any one person. To our brand new fundholders, to the fundholders who have been around for 20 years and to the champions of your Community Foundation – thank you!

The following endowment funds were established in 2017 to be held at the Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta:

Campbell Family Foundation
Diane and Fletcher Bootle Family Fund
Frank and Agnes Lovsin Legacy Fund
Pirates Fastball Club Legacy Fund
Wayne Drysdale Campaign Legacy Fund

See the Impact

What Community Means to Me

Northwestern Alberta’s Vital Signs® has an undeniable impact on the community, especially in the weeks immediately following the report’s release. The report inspires Vital Conversations throughout the community including, among local leadership, within organizations, between friends and around the dinner table. As far-reaching as Northwestern Alberta’s Vital Signs® is, one place that it’s not often discussed is in a first-grade classroom.

Sierra McKinnon is a bright-eyed, intelligent little six-year-old who loves her friends and family. When her class was assigned a project to present on a group they belonged to the typical choices were extracurriculars like swimming, soccer or gymnastics. Other kids took the opportunity to talk about their family, immediate or extended. Sierra, being one to go against the status quo, chose community as the group that she belonged to.

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Sierra and her mom Terra 

Now community can be complex. Individuals, groups and organizations working together to build a place where everyone feels they belong is easier said than done. Sierra, however, took a beautifully simple approach to community. To Sierra community is home; it’s her family, her friends, her school, where she lives and plays. Community is where she is and what she sees everyday.

Sierra’s mom, Terra, explained that she chose the images, and the unique theme, herself. Terra works in healthcare at AHS and happened to have a copy of Northwestern Alberta’s Vital Signs® on her desk at work while helping Sierra tackle this assignment on belonging. She brought the report home as inspiration and to maybe cut out an image or two but when Sierra got ahold of the report she hit the ground running.

Sierra’s face lit up when talking about her older sister Gracie, her best friends from Kindergarten and her two giant dogs. It’s clear that the chosen images hold a lot meaning for the six year old. In Sierra’s Vital Signs report you’ll find pictures of her family, including the her older sister and puppies. You’ll see the welcome to swan city sign in front of 214 Place, our giant sundial, Sierra and her three best friends at their Kindergarten graduation and a family picture from the summer when she visited her cousins.

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                                                                                       Sierra’s Vital Signs report. 

Sierra’s Vital Signs is not only a delightful school project, but it’s the story of a young person connecting to community and discovering it’s meaning through her own experience. Vital Signs is meant to spark vital conversations about community and Sierra’s voice is an amazing addition. Thanks for stopping by for a visit, Sierra! 

Board of Director Opportunity

Are you are looking for a place to make a difference, feel personally satisfied and be appreciated for your skills, the Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta is accepting resumes for Board of Directors positions for 2018 appointment.

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Embracing the Smart & Caring Communities vision, the Board of Directors works at a governance level to ensure regional residents are served by the Community Foundation and are provided opportunities to strengthen their connection to their community.

One of the most valuable assets of any Community Foundation is its Board of Directors. This group of community leaders brings vision, dedication and energy to making a difference in their community today and into the future.
The Board of Directors is the governing body of the Community Foundation. Accountable for the operation of the Foundation, within the parameters established by law, its overall responsibility is that of governance. This includes providing leadership, setting direction, establishing policies and ensuring sound management.

The Board is chosen for their skills and experiences and commitment to building for the long-term success of regional communities. Representing a variety of fields including finance, estate law, accounting, governance and community leadership, they draw on their collective wealth of experience to successfully govern the Foundation into the future.

Directors act in a position of trust for the community and are responsible for the effective governance of the organization. Responsibilities include:

• Embrace the Foundation movement and direction of the Community Foundation
• Be willing to embrace the Foundation’s mission of philanthropic leadership in the community and support its objectives in asset building and grantmaking
• Have a reputation within his or her profession and the community that would serve to enhance the public image of the Foundation
• Serve on one or more committees
• Fully embrace the ambassador role
• Full attendance at board meetings, committee meetings and annual general meetings
• Actively support fund development and fund development activities
• Commit approximately 10 hours per month to meet the role of a board member which includes participating in a volunteer capacity on Management Committees under the management of the CEO

Board members shall be appointed to the Board for a term of 3 years and can hold up to 2 consecutive terms.

Please submit your resume via email to highlighting your skills and community experience, plus a statement regarding what you feel you can do to further the goals of the Foundation, by Wednesday, January 31, 2018 at 4:30 pm.

To learn more, please contact:
Tracey Vavrek, CEO
(780) 538-2820

Devon Wardley, Chair of the Board of Directors
(780) 539-4110

New Year, New Goals

We know our community will continue to grow and change in the coming year. How will your Community Foundation grow and change along with it?

Your Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta builds smart & caring communities, not only by providing grants, but by positing ourselves as community experts. Leading initiatives like Northwestern Alberta’s Vital Signs allows the Foundation to understand community and anticipate the trends that will affect our region.

Planning for community is just as important as planning for the economy. We have, and will continue to face obstacles in our journey as a community. Issues like the opioid crisis, the disconnect between crime rates and public perception, food insecurity and poverty prevalence are barriers to creating healthy and resilient communities in our region.

Moving forward into 2018 means understanding, acknowledging and diving into important issues. Your Community Foundation will continue to work with all sectors of community and bring our voice to the table in order to build smart and caring communities throughout our region, for today and forever.

Are you interested in having Tracey Vavrek present on Northwestern Alberta’s Vital Signs? Get in touch with Tracy at (780) 538-2820 or at

Before we can build the world we want to live in we have to imagine it
Happy Holidays from your Community Foundation

It is through the generosity of our fundholders, the support of our partners and the endless support of our community that your Community Foundation continues to make a difference in our region, connecting people and building community. Today and forever.

We wish all of you, our communities and our region, a wonderful holiday season filled with love and light. See you next year.

Love, from your Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta.



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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