March 2016

Settlers from neighboring communities and from afar came to our region as there was land available and there was opportunity. When a family settled into the area, the building of a barn commenced and involved the whole community coming together.  

We continue to see this passion and commitment within our communities today, when there is a need or a call for support, volunteers, leaders and the community form a bond to see positive results. A Community Foundation dear friend, Beth Sheehan was the daughter of Victor and Frances Flint, pioneers who moved to the Lower Beaverlodge area in 1909.  Beth dedicated her life to community, she understood the impact of volunteerism and the value of a leadership team committed to see a difference made for others.  She also knew that you may need to pull together a barn building if there was a need.  In our newsletter you can learn a bit more about Beth and the impact she has made in our region and how her forward planning will continue to touch our community into the future.

As I reflect on the direction of the community foundation and where we are today, I recognize the founders who are the pioneers that saw the value and committed to building a community foundation for Northwestern Alberta.  

Community Matters……. these two words are at the heart of every activity, every initiative 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

tracey web

Community Foundation Board Chair Legacy Partnership 

Flying Ryan Come Fly with Me

Ryan Blais’s connection to philanthropy and giving back started early in his competitive career as a Freestyle athlete. Ryan is a retired former member of the Canadian Freestyle Ski Team; an athlete from the discipline of Aerials, where he represented Canada on the World stage for 12 years.

“Grande Prairie has many young talented athletes with big dreams and I feel our community should be proud to assist them with financial support to help them achieve their goals.” states Ryan. “”Many of these athletes represent our community on the provincial, national and international stage and we are well-served when we ensure they have the support needed to excel. I believe that today’s athletes can become tomorrow’s leaders.”

In 2006, Ryan established the Come Fly with Me Legacy Fund, a legacy fund held with the Community Foundation. Ryan understands and appreciates the first hand support he received from our community and region throughout his athletic career. He created the fund as a way to extend the same opportunities to the next generation of athletes.

Ryan has continued giving back through his role as current chair of the Community Foundation Board of Directors

The Community Foundation is proud of partner with the City of Grande Prairie, Pursuit of Excellence Athlete Development; in helping more of our local young athletes achieve their dreams through the Come Fly with Me Legacy Fund.

Annually, disbursements from the Come Fly with Me Legacy Fund are directed to the Pursuit of Excellence Committee to offer an additional award in the Come Fly with Me Legacy Fund name. This partnership engages local athletes and assists them to enhance their training and development.

Recent Recipients: Jeff Buller (Racquetball) and Mirelle Martens (Cross Country Running).

We are honoured with Ryan’s vision for the future in creating his legacy with the Community Foundation. Athletes are well positioned to be positive role models in their communities and can be the leaders of tomorrow. Together, we are investing in local future leaders.

Creating a legacy fund is easy.  For more information about student awards and how you can apply visit our website or contact our office at 1 780 538 2820.


Beth Sheehan, Community Pioneer Legacy Lives On

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There are some people who are just born with an inextinguishable desire to improve the world they live in. These people hold within them a deeply engrained belief in serving others above themselves.Frances Elizabeth (Beth) Sheehan was one of these beautiful souls. A gifted historian and photographer, an avid volunteer, and a truly passionate philanthropist; Beth embodied the idea of doing everything with love and kindness, Beth was considered a true pioneer of the Peace Region. Her family were some of the first to settle in the area in 1909. Throughout her life here she kept impeccable records and photographs of the history and development of our wonderful region, eventually donating all of the information to the South Peace Archives, ensuring the history of our area will be remembered forever.

Beth was a true advocate of our community, her family helped build this area, and she loved it deeply. Beth gave back generously to the Peace Region always willing to volunteer and support various organizations in need. In 2008 Beth decided to she wanted to create a lasting legacy during her life in recognition of her pioneer family. In honour and memory of her parents and husband, and her own dedication to volunteerism Beth established the Sheehan Flint Family Fund at the Community Foundation.Beth desired to create a community legacy that would ensure that where there was need, there was support available.

Because of her vision, the Sheehan Flint Family Fund provides annual support to local post-secondary students, as well as emerging needs in the community. During her life, Beth became an active part of the Community Foundation, she would attend our grant ceremonies, and connect on a personal level with the individuals she was helping. She saw first-hand the impact her fund was having on the community she valued so much. When Beth passed away at the age of 93 in August of 2013, her legacy continued. Seeing the impact that her fund had on the community during her life had inspired Beth to ensure that her legacy and support of the community continued on after her death.

By leaving a gift in her Will to the Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta, Beth was able to ensure the community she loved so dearly would be looked after long after her passing. Beth’s forward thinking and future planning has had a truly lasting impact on our community. While we no longer experience Beth’s shining face on our granting receptions,  Beth’s presence is forever felt at the foundation and in the community as a whole. We are honoured to be able to share Beth’s story, and to carry on her legacy for her.

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”
― Mother Teresa

If you have questions about how you can leave a legacy please visit our website Creating a Legacy page or contact us at the office 780.538 2820.


My Community Foundation Is . . .  Thankful

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At the Community Foundation we see many Thank you’s and letters of support from donors and their families.   We hope that by sharing these small notes of thanks from our community it is another way we can show the impact that kind words, actions or support all have a ripple effect creating a closer and stronger community where all belong.

My Community is . . .My Foundation for my family and friends. – Sandy McDonald

My Community is . . . Where dreams meet opportunity.  – Ryan Blais

My Community is . . . The future for my children.  – Aaron Anderson

“Dear Snack Program providers.  I am a student at Avondale school.  Our class loves the Snack Program.  Parent volunteers serve a surprise snack each day.  My favorite is chips and salsa.”  Grade 3 student at Avondale School Grande Prairie.

“We wanted to Thank you for the donation in memory of our loved one to the community impact fund.  Such kind, thoughtful gestures do ease ones grief.  We would also like to Thank you for introducting us to the Community Foundation.  Our family appreciates the fact that monies donated in our loved one’s name will be used to support programs in our community.”  Statement of Thanks from family member.

Your Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta is community inspired. We listen to our donors and community, and help connect people like you with local and regional organizations and causes that you care about.  We want to hear from you and welcome your comments and inspired stories. 

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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