February 2016

 I am honoured with the trust and respect past chair of the board, Clyde Blackburn had in hiring me to grow and develop the Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta.

Throughout the years I have been blessed to work with so many caring and passionate community members who desire to make a long term and positive impact for citizens of today and for future generations. I learned very quickly there are two common reasons on why someone is supporting our organization, each person wishes to make a difference for someone else and each person has their own unique story and passion.

During a recently holiday to Saint Lucia with my husband, we experienced the hatching of a turtles nest. There are many commonalities between the turtle and a Community Foundation. Turtles are one of the oldest living reptiles just as the first Community Foundation in Canada started 95 years ago and is one of the oldest organizations in Canada. A turtle starts so small but moves so steady for many years. They take time to build their nest deep in the sand to protect the hundreds of eggs for the incubation period just as we build our legacy funds with steady momentum for the wellbeing of the community our children and grandchildren will be part of. The shell is built to protect the body and the vital organs during calm and turbulence for a long and healthy life as the foundation protects community assets, a vital and important role.

Over the years I am blessed to have made many new friends, dived deep into causes and concerns within our community and have experienced immense personal growth. Thank you to each of you for the trust and faith within myself and the Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta. I look forward to our future together.  

Community Matters. These two words are at the heart of every activity, every initiative and every grant of the Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta. 

Please feel free to contact me at 780-538-2820 or by replying to this e-mail to discuss how you can partner with the Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta and how you can impact and inspire others in your community.Connect people. Build community. For good, and forever.

 Warmest wishes, Tracey Vavrek, CEO

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Local Student Reaches to Make Global Impact

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Nelson Mandela once said that, “Education is the most powerful tool one can use to transform the world. Recipients of the Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta are again and again proving this to be true”.

With a wide variety of backgrounds the Community Foundation’s student awards recipients are making strides in arts, science and community not only locally but globally.

Joren Manz, a third year immunology and infectious disease major is an outstanding example of what these students are achieving.

An accomplished varsity athelete, musician and honours student Joren still finds time to go above and beyond to make a difference in the world.

In 2015 he spent eight months living and working as a volunteer medical assistant in the Phillipines and Kenya. During his time in these areas he devoted himself to working alongside other passionate individuals to assist those without access to medical and dental support..

We are honoured to be able to help students like Joren reach their educational goals, Joren received a student award in 2015 from the Swan City Rotary Community Service Above Self Fund.  By partnering with our fundholders we are supporting local students and investing in their future, we are investing in the future leaders of our communities.

For more information about student awards and how you can apply visit our website or contact our office at 1 780 538 2820.

Rotary’s Legacy Impacting Students Today

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In 2005 President Dave Dunsworth of the Swan City Rotary Club (pictured:  Alan Kuechle, Andy Beal and Dave Dunsworth) began discussions with the Community Foundation about their Legacy. It was his vision to develop an award that would allow Swan City Rotary to assist local youth in achieving their educational goals. By setting up an endowment fund with the Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta Mr. Dunsworth ensured that Swan City Rotary would provide local youth with a permanent, self-sustaining source of funding that they could depend on.

In December of that same year the Swan City Rotary Community Service above Self Award was born.

This fund provides awards to Peace Country residents who demonstrate commitment to community, and service above self. Since its beginnings The Swan City Rotary Club Service above Self Award has provided multiple deserving students with funds to help assist them with their education.

In 2015, 77 Students applied to the Student Awards Program through your Community Foundation. Because of the partnerships beween the Community Foundation, Swan City Rotary Club, and 23 other Student Awards Endowment Funds we were able to support 43 local students in helping them acheive their educational goals.

The selection process for these awards is a difficult one. Despite their circumstances each student has a unique and special story. Each one of these students in their own unique way are a powerful force for local and global change. Committee members are tasked with sifting through all applications by content alone (names and any personal identification are removed from each application). It can take hours, even days to scour through the applications and ensure that as many students as possible are supported by the Community Foundation.

When asked about this process, and why they feel it is important, Committee Member Steven Hinkley shared this: “Investing in our students is simply an investment in the future of our community, there is no greater investment we can make. Our students will become our leaders, community builders, and our legacy. It is my privilege to be part of ensuring our community recognizes these very special people.”

By partnering with the Community Foundation’s Student Awards Program individuals and groups like the Swan City Rotary Club are ensuring that each year we are able to not only recognize, but celebrate the hard work and achievements of our local youth.

Through the generosity of our donors, the Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta has been able to award thousands of dollars to post-secondary students from our region. In December 2015 alone, we invested over $37,000 to post-secondary students.   Setting up a legacy fund to support students is easy, give us a call  1 780 538 2820 we would be happy to help you start your legacy today.

Together, we are building a legacy through our local leaders of tomorrow. 

Thoughts from GPRC’s President Don Gnatiuk

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GPRC’s students arrive at college with a dream of getting an education that sets them on a strong foundation for a rewarding life and career. Achieving those goals for today’s students isn’t easy. Our students often juggle their studies with part-time work and family commitments all the while being active members of the community.

The support of the Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta helps our students achieve their dreams. The financial awards and gifts to GPRC and our students don’t simply help one individual achieve their personal dream. GPRC students use their education and make a difference in the lives of their families, become leaders in their chosen career and make a difference in their community.

By supporting GPRC and its students to achieve their goals the Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta truly is building community”.  – Statement from Don Gnatiuk President and CEO, GPRC


Believing in a Personal Vision 

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Born and raised in the Northwest Territories, Jennifer Tourangeau moved to Grande Prairie in 2004, but to her this area is truly home.

Jennifer is currently in year two of a Fine Arts University Transfer degree at the Grande Prairie Regional College. Inspired by her Dene heritage, Jennifer creates works of art that combine her love of painting with other mediums. An accomplished artist and dedicated volunteer, Jennifer spends much of her personal time outside of studying helping the community.

She is often found at the On-Campus Friendship Centre giving her time, and is also an active spokesperson for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Awareness. She is currently working on an art series that aims to provide a visual representation of what it is like to live with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

Jennifer has overcome many obstacles and challenges in her life. Even when others tried to hinder her dreams Jennifer has maintained an “I can do it, just watch me” attitude.

The Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta is honoured to be able to assist this outstanding student in achieving her educational goals through our Student Awards Program.   Jennifer received support from the Q99 Student Award Fund in 2015.   Ken Truhn and the Team at Q99 established this fund in 2008 during the process of establishing the radio station as a way to provide support future students of the area.

Each student has a unique story to be told, and we are proud that we are able to help Jennifer tell her story through art.


GPPA Honour Jeff Toews

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We are honored to partner with the Grande Prairie Petroleum Association (GPPA) in growing the Jeff Toews Memorial Legacy Fund.  Jeff was an active member in the GPPA, and passed away in May of 2007.  Jeff’s zest for life, his generosity, talents, commitment to family, and work ethic, live through this fitting legacy.  Through this legacy fund the spirit of Jeff lives on.  GPPA has annually organized the Jeff Toews Memorial Hockey Tournament since 2011, and has made contributions annually in memory of Jeff, which have now reached $25,000.  We are proud to work with the GPPA and with their vision to give back to the community.  


Annual General Meeting April 6, 2016

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The Community Foundation`s Annual General Meeting will take place on April 06, 2016 at the Centre 2000 at 5 pm.   In addition to the formalities of our annual general meeting, this is an opportunity to socialize with the Board of Directors, staff, and learn more about your Community Foundation’s impact.

Please RSVP to Lindsey McNeil at 1 780 538 2820 or email.






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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