July 2017

 “One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.” – Malala Yousafzai

Throughout the busy month of July we have seen so many amazing stories of community impact. From the establishment of new funds by generous community members, to all the amazing local celebrations that took place in honor of Canada’s 150th, to the tremendous local response to the wildfires in our neighboring province – we discover again and again just how amazing Northwestern Alberta can be.

As well move through the world leading increasingly independent lives it becomes increasingly vital to forge those connections in your community, to become involved, actively participate, and give back.  About one-third of individuals in our region feel a weak sense of belonging. The nature of belonging is to feel like a part of something larger than you and becoming active in community is vital to this sense of belonging. On the other side of the equation of belonging is the degree to which individuals feel welcomed by the organizations or communities that they join.

The work that we do as a Community Foundation empowers our community. Programs and initiatives supported by our Community Impact Grants vary in scope, but what they have in common is the way that they create places of connection and belonging for community members. Whether it is the Grande Prairie Regional College Foundation’s Emergency Student Funding or the Youth and Elders Cultural Retreat put on by the Elder’s Caring Shelter Society, that sense of belonging is vital to creating healthy and resilient communities.

This year Canada celebrates our 150th Anniversary of Confederation, a date that represents so much to so many. At the same time we recognize that for us to successfully navigate the next 150 years, creating connections and building community in a sustainable way is more important than ever. Ongoing initiatives like our Nourish the North Wine & Auction event allow your Community Foundation to continue connecting people, creating a sense of belonging, and building great communities.

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,

tracy vavrek

Tracey Vavrek, CEO



The work of your Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta touches every sector and every level of community; however, the intention behind our work is simple. Our mission is to connect people and build community, for good and forever. Every fund created, every grant given, and every project supported is to build healthy and resilient communities within our region. GIVING profiles the fundholders and donors that allow us to do good work. 

2017 community impact grants 

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Community Impact Grants are giving back to support the charitable sector in our region for another year!

First, we do the research to build a sense of what citizens need and where the gaps are in our communities. Then, in partnership with donors and fundholders, we support a range of local charitable projects. Since our inception in 1996, over $4.45 million has been invested into all sectors of the region – talk about an impact!

If you know of any organizations that do good and necessary work in our communities? Applications are now open! Find all of the details here. 

Nourish the North Wine & Auction 

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Beyond the endowment funds that individuals in the community so generously give, ongoing initiatives like our Nourish the North Wine & Auction event allow your Community Foundation to support, empower, and give back to the communities in our region.

Through sponsorships from community partners, donors, volunteers, and the generosity of our guests, Nourish the North Wine & Auction continues to be a wonderful celebration of philanthropy. At least year’s event our $50 Philanthropy Wall was a huge hit as it gave guests the opportunity to contribute directly to an amazing local project, Experience Fun Experience Fitness, which empowers youth to be active. Corporate sponsors were also given the opportunity to participate in the spirit of true giving through our Philanthropy Packages. Directly supporting important initiatives like the Grande Prairie Friendship Centre’s One Window Resource and the Suicide Prevention Resource Centre’s “Tough Enough to Talk About It” campaign is a testament to the tremendous impact of our Nourish the North event last year.

The pinnacle of the inspiring evening is the message from our keynote speaker. This year delivering a message of hope and belonging will be Canadian entrepreneur and philanthropist Frank O’Dea. As a cofounder of Canada’s largest specialty coffee retailer and a lifelong philanthropist, Frank has a unique story of personal struggle, resilience, and the power of community support. Before he connects with the community at Nourish the North Wine & Auction Mr. O’ Dea will present to a local public high school which will be livestreamed and broadcast at schools across the region to engage and inspire the youth in our communities.  

Nourish the North Wine and Auction is a celebration of philanthropy, community, and the power of giving back. Tickets for this year’s event are on sale now. Join your community, be part of making a difference for our region, buy tickets today for September 28th!  

Diane & Fletcher Bootle family fund 

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As a founding member of the Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta, we have supported them since its inception. We are creating the Diane and Fletcher Bootle Family Fund to invest in the community which has been good to us since we came to Grande Prairie years ago. 

Anyone who knows Diane and Fletcher Bootle would not be surprised to hear that their family is continuing their legacy through the Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta. In fact, those who know the couple would associate them with everything that the Foundation represents which is leadership and support that builds healthy and resilient communities. Since moving to Grande Prairie in 1991, the Bootle family has been building an amazing legacy of service in the community.

Throughout the years the Diane and Fletcher have supported organizations including Rotary Club of Grande Prairie, United Way, PARDS, Grande Prairie & District Chamber of Commerce, Grande Prairie Regional College, and Sunrise House, to name a few. The amazing thing about their efforts is that their support isn’t simply through donation; Diane and Fletcher lead by example through their hands-on approach to serving the community. When asked what inspired their commitment to service Diane explains “When you move into a community you have to make it your own.”

In 1996 a group of individuals with a vision for a greater community came together with a vision for a greater sense of belonging and community in Grande Prairie. Diane Bootle was one of the individuals asked to serve the Community Foundation of Greater Grande Prairie in its infancy, and we are so grateful that she answered the call. Fletcher also has a long history of support for Community Foundations. His father, John Bootle, was a founding member of the Central Okanagan Foundation in 1977. Because philanthropy is so important to the Bootle family, they included their daughter, Kelly Sue Bootle-Ziolkowsky, as a fund holder. Eventually, the Diane & Fletcher Bootle Family Fund will be left to their daughter Kelly and their grandchildren.

Diane and Fletcher’s involvement in the creation of our local Community Foundation is not a surprise. The Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta is just one organization in a list of many that the Bootle’s have supported throughout the years. When you ask the couple about the all the time, support, and love that they have given to the community throughout the years, Fletcher is quick to say “You have to pay a little rent for the land you stand on.” As one of Fletcher’s favorite sayings, this quote encompasses why the Bootle family has and continues to support their community so faithfully. After gaining so much from the community that they have called home for more than 26 years, the Bootle family is happy to be able to give back.

In partnership with the Community Fund of Northwestern Alberta, the Bootle family has established the Diane and Fletcher Bootle Family Fund, a Community Impact Fund, as a way to continue their legacy of supporting community needs as they arise, forever. Together we are making a difference in our communities.


Your Community Foundation is active in all sectors of our community; whether it is encouraging kindness, engaging the community, supporting local projects, everything we do is building better communities. It can be difficult to see the impact of our day-to-day work. SEE THE IMPACT highlights the importance of our connecting people and building community.

123 You and me 

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As one of last year’s grant recipients of a Community Impact Grant, 123 You and Me is a program for early childhood development based in the community of Sexsmith. Jointly created by Shannon Library, Sexsmith FCSS, and South Peace Family Literacy (SPFL) with inspiration from South Peace Area Rural Kids Early Development Coalition (SPARKED), the program was designed to create a venue for parent and child to connect with each other in a variety of ways. Its roots were grounded in the need expressed by FCSS to develop community programs for families with young children.

The program is now run entirely by Shannon Library staff and mostly funded from its own stockpile of supplies and budget allocations from the Town of Sexsmith Library Board. By recieving a Community Impact Grant from your Community Foundation allowed the program to expand their scope of activities and to continue providing the children with healthy snacks.

The success of the pilot program means that 123 You and Me will continue into the foreseeable future as valued offering at the Shannon Library. 

Local citizen participates in Students on Ice 

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Your Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta partnered with Community Foundations of Canada through their Community Fund for Canada’s 150th to send a community member to Canada’s north for a profound and hands-on educational experience.

Throughout the two week journey, August 8 – 23, 2017, the participants will bridge cultures, learn from experts about climate change, biodiversity, traditional knowledge, and gain the inspiration and motivation needed to help lead us to a healthier and more sustainable future.

Because of the tremendous leadership, commitment to innovation, collaborative spirit, and passion for youth engagement that we have demonstrated, your Community Foundation was invited to select a community member from Northwestern Alberta to participate. After a rigorous process, local Composite High School teacher Lee Brentnell was selected to gain knowledge and insight to Canada’s Arctic communities through the Students on Ice expedition.

Building connections with our Northern neighbours, sharing unique experiences and developing community expertise were motivating factors in selecting an educator as the best fit for the journey. After his return your Community Foundation will facilitate presentations within our region featuring Mr. Brentnell, his experience in Canada’s Arctic, and his expanded perspective about community.

Lee is excited about his upcoming journey explaining, “The Students on Ice polar expedition is an amazing opportunity to engage with educators and youth from around the world to celebrate Canada’s 150 through reconciliation, diversity and inclusion and the land we all live on.  As a teacher I’m excited and honored to be able to learn about the diversity of Canada and participate as a member of our community.”

Stay tuned for more updates from your Community Foundation about Lee’s Artic Expedition, his learnings, and opportunities for the community to hear his story. 

We couldn’t do it without you! 

Through the generosity of our fundholders, the support of community partners, and the continued success of events like Nourish the North Wine & Auction your Community Foundation supports meaningful projects and programs to build smart and caring communities. Join us in being part of the Community Foundation movement. 



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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