March 2018

“Charity for charity.”  During a recent conversation with a local organization, they thanked our Foundation for being there for them with leadership resources, grants and providing an ear to listen, calling us the charity for charity.   I appreciate this analogy as it truly describes the strength we provide to help our local organizations to be strong in serving our region.  
When you explore the service and support local not for profits and charities provide, it is the core and strength of community.  Throughout our daily activities we are all touched at one time or another by the impact of these vital organizations.  I see our connection to these organizations important, as it helps us to understand the pulse of our region. Having a grassroots perceptive is important to strengthen upon the great work underway.
Community means something different to each person. We experience communities within communities.  When helping people explore the areas in the community that they are passionate about, I love hearing the stories and thoughts of our friends, and connecting how important community is to them.  As a charity for charity, we are able to align this passion with a personalized giving plan that supports these important causes. Creating legacy endowment funds is a tremendous tool that ensures these causes and areas of community have support in the future and forever.
Interested in learning more on creating a personalized giving plan in support of the community that means so much to you?  Contact me to explore giving through an endowment fund held at your Community Foundation.  Funds are flexible and adaptable, not only for individuals and families, but for any group that wishes to build community.

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

Warmest Wishes,

tracy vavrek

Tracey Vavrek, CEO


Sandy and Luana McDonald Create Family Legacy

Sandy and Luana McDonald family

The McDonald family loves community and our region. Whether it’s taking advantage of the remarkable trails and greenspace with a family hike, camping or skiing in the nearby mountains or visiting with family and friends, the McDonalds call Grande Prairie home. 

When asked about the importance of community the McDonald family, Sandy and Luana and their kids Alex and Olivia, emphasizes the fact that each member of their family has benefited from calling this community their home.

As the Superintendent of the Grande Prairie School District, Sandy McDonald has dedicated his career to educating and supporting local youth as they become the community leaders of tomorrow.

There are a number of causes that are important to the McDonald’s, but support the learning and development of young children is a cause that is important to their family but the community as a whole. The value of early childhood education is enormous, not only to children entering the school system, but as a strong foundation for a healthy community.

The phrase “the children are our future” is true, and speaks to the family’s motivation for giving back.

Sandy and Luana explain, “As we watch our children grow from curious and active toddlers into kind, empathetic and respectful adults, Luana and I understand how fortunate our family was to be able to support their early learning.  We recognize that not everyone has the same opportunities that we had to provide a breadth of early learning opportunities to their children.  The purpose of our fund is to support local charities to help provide these opportunities to children and families who can use a bit of extra support. “

As a way to show their appreciation for all that the community has given to them, the family established the Sandy and Luana McDonald Family Fund, an endowment fund held at the Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta. The field of interest fund is dedicated to supporting projects and programs focused on the development of children from birth to age five to be ready for kindergarten.

The Sandy and Luana McDonald Family Fund is the continuation of their family legacy in our region and this family commitment to giving back will contribute to the development of smart and caring communities throughout our region, for today and forever.


Community Impact Grants

Connecting All Ages, Creating Healthy Communities

“Community Kitchen is a wonderful program that benefits everyone that participates.  It teaches the kids about reading and following directions, working together to create something new and gives them confidence and a sense of accomplishment.  The seniors are given a chance to share their skills and knowledge and it is a way for them to still be active in the community. Over the year, you could see how the kids grew in skills and maturity.” Tracy S.

2016 CK4

The Community Kitchen provides the social atmosphere of connecting people by sharing a meal together, promoting social interactions on a friendly, more personal basis. By having several individuals of varying ages and social backgrounds, individuals are exposed to the issues in their community, thereby gaining more community awareness.

Started in 2013 by the MD of Sprit River, the Community Kitchen, offers seniors in the area a chance to meet twice a month to cook, bake, share recipes and best of all to make and renew friendships. In 2014 young moms and youth from local schools were invited to come and learn how to cook for a family on a budget, support each other’s learning and development of life skills such as what is nutritious, how to cook and prepare food properly, and how to store food safely. In recent months favourite recipes were shared, and explored many new soup, pasta, lasagna, dessert and much more options.  The wonderful part of this program is these dishes are portioned for individuals to purchase at a nominal fee to take home.

This has been positive within the community, providing seniors with an added social event with purpose in serving their community, and has made more people aware of what others can offer in social support.

Youth who participate feel more connected within the community and benefit from the wisdom and patience of the seniors while gaining necessary life skills. Many individuals have developed positive relationships with others within the region, building a broader base of support for each other, and has provided a positive influence on surrounding communities as they have decided to develop their own local community kitchens with the same aspects of cooking with youth.

The Community Foundation is proud to support the Community Kitchen with grants from the Community Impact Funds, knowing these funds are creating a stronger bond among citizens living in the MD of Spirit River.

See the Impact

 GPLT Future Focused

GPLT Building

We create a deeper sense of belonging in communities when we support opportunities to express our creative side.

For over 54 years, the Grande Prairie Live Theatre have focused on providing arts & culture events and activities to our region. In the early 1930’s Grande Prairie was a cultural hotspot with a variety of musical and theatre groups that were active in the community. The local theatre group and the operatic society joined forces with the Grande Prairie Little Theatre Society in 1963, later becoming known as the Grande Prairie Live Theatre (GPLT).

GPLT not only puts on a wide selection of performances from musicals to dinner theatre and plays, but acts as an arts & culture incubator, supporting and growing local arts projects to sustainable and successful organizations of their own. The prestigious Reel Shorts Film Festival and the Grande Prairie Children’s Festival are just two examples of their community building work.

In 2005, the organization established the Grande Prairie Live Theatre Fund, a charitable agency fund in support of the ongoing operations of the Theater. This charitable agency endowment fund invests all donations and each year provides operational grants back to GPLT.

“The Grande Prairie Live Theatre Funds receives a higher interest rate than we can get at our bank. Plus the endowment funds are there forever giving GPLT an annual grant that we can depend on. We are impressed with the professional investing strategies of the Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta.” GPLT President Caitlin Card.

Charities do vital work within our community, from arts & culture to social services, community supports, education and more. These organizations are often the backbone that supports the region and the Grande Prairie Live Theatre is no exception.

Congratulations to GPLT for establishing a charitable agency fund through your Community Foundation, this is an investment in the future of your organization.

Interested in donating to the Grande Prairie Live Theatre Fund? Donate today.


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. Your Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta invests in our region because community matters. 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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