September 2018 Enews

There is a Chinese saying that goes: “If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.”

Every day I am honoured to connect with people who have found a passion in giving to others. Some give time, others may offer their skill, and many donate money. Happiness does grow when there is an opportunity to help others and impact the areas we care about.

I invite you to think about what is important to you?  To consider what is your “Why”? Everyone has a story, a passion and an interest.  Every donation you have made and will make has a story.

As I reflect back on this past month, it was an amazing month of listening to people’s “why”. We had the wonderful opportunity to speak to a beautiful group of volunteers in Fairview who are dedicated to improve the lives of many in their region.  I appreciate that the group reached out looking for governance mentorship, guidance and tools to strengthen their organization.  Organizational development is important for every charity and impacts the social sector of the community.


My “Why” comes from a place of gratitude for the kindness and support our home community has provided to our family and others during times of need and challenges.  It is a result of many peoples “why” that our community is stronger than it was yesterday.  My heart is filled with appreciation for the many who give – who give to strengthen an organization, a town or city and to impact others.

As you reflect on your giving path, take a moment to explore your why.  I would love to hear your why.

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. 

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

Warmest Wishes,

 06.05.2015 Tracey Vavrek Electronic Signature

Tracey Headshot

Campbell Family Foundation

 With more than 70 years of history in our community, Grande Prairie is home to the Campbell family.

Robert John (Bob) Campbell and Mary Patricia (Pat) Roach, along with their children Robert Patrick (Rick) and Judith Lynne (Judi), arrived in Grande Prairie in 1948. At that time the community was about 3,000 people, and the Campbell Family were one of the families to pioneer the city.

The family moved to Grande Prairie from Dease Lake, BC and before that their hometown of Winnipeg. As an employee of the Hudson’s Bay Company since he was just 18, Bob had been tapped to open the first HBC retail store in our city. Although work brought the Campbell family to Grande Prairie, the community is why they stayed.

Campbell Flowers was their family business for 20 years. The family of four lived above the shop, and everyone pitched in with Judi practicing floral design and Rick making deliveries when he was old enough.

Local business continued to be part of the Campbell family legacy; after receiving his Bachelor of Science Degree in Pharmacy from the University of Alberta, Rick returned to Grande Prairie and opened two local drug stores, Campbell Drugs and Village Pharmacy. He ran the stores for nearly 30 years with the support of his wife Joan and their children Rob, Sheilagh, and Bruce.

Campbell Family Collage

Their daughter Judi’s family, her husband Guy and three children Kristi Kim, Jennifer, and Ross, also called Grande Prairie home.

Camp Tamarack RV Park was the most recent business addition to the Campbell family legacy in the area. The park, located just south of the city, takes advantage of our region’s beautiful trails and green space. Rick ran the day-to-day operations until the fall of 2013 when he decided it was time to retire “for real this time.” The Campbell family has always been dedicated to service above self; between the families, they were active members of Rotary, Kin Canada and their churches.

Although many family members have relocated over the years, Grande Prairie is still considered home to the Campbell family. Their legacy was built through their time spent in our community, establishing successful businesses and developing the city of Grande Prairie; however, the Campbell family’s dedication to giving back, service above self and creating a vibrant community, is what defines their legacy.

By establishing the Campbell Family Foundation, a donor advised Endowment Fund held at the Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta, the Campbell family will remain involved in building smart & caring communities for many years to come.

Today, if you visit Christ Church Anglican, you’ll see a stained glass window of a man and a dog sled, commemorating Bob’s years as a fur trader, the beginning of a journey that continues to have an impact in our community.


Kindness Can Change Lives

At the Grande Prairie Friendship Centre, simple things like a smile, a hot cup of coffee, or a meal have an impact each and every day.

With support from the Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta and its generous donors, the Friendship Centre offers a One Window Resource that helps address the critical needs of individuals in the community considered at risk or in need. The program works to provide non-financial services that help those individuals sustain stability in our community. From an emergency food closet, free gently-used clothing, hygiene supplies, referrals, job board listings, to three evening weekly meals, the program is making a difference in lives.

Friendship Centre SM

For program co-ordinator Maureen Laboucan, the success of the program can be encapsulated in the story of Justin, a young man who was a regular in the winter of 2017.

“Justin was usually one of the first ones there, hungry as a bear and ready to eat whatever we put out for the clients,” says Laboucan. “We warm place to be, hot coffee and asked him how he’s been and if he needed anything. His mom reached out to us looking for him ‘cause he told her he eats every day thanks to us!”

Justin’s mom in Nova Scotia contacted the Friendship Centre in December trying to get in touch with him so she could get him on a bus back home for the winter.

Laboucan continued to stay in touch with Justin’s mom and keep her up to date on how he was doing when she saw him as he did have some substance abuse issues.

By mid-January, Justin was on a bus on the way home to Nova Scotia.

In March, Laboucan got a message from Justin’s mom that he was doing well and had been sober since he got home. “He’s really been a joy to have around. Just thought Maureen might want to know. Justin speaks highly of all of you,” she wrote. “Thanks for all you do to help people.”

For Laboucan and the staff at the Grande Prairie Friendship Centre a simple thank you meant the world.  “Knowing that we made a difference in someone’s life is very impactful,” she says.

Where are they now? 

Kajal Patel is invested in giving back to the community as she pursues her education thanks in part to a student award through the Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta.

Currently in her second year of a Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Grande Prairie Regional College, Patel was a foundation award recipient in 2015.
07.26.2018 Kajal Patel SM

A yoga practitioner and teacher, Patel shares her passion teaching at the Grande Prairie Hindu Temple, Love Life Hot Yoga, as well as at the Cancer Clinic at the QEII Hospital.

In addition to teaching yoga at the Cancer Clinic, Patel volunteers her time to assist nurses, doctors and administrative staff in filing charts, mailing appointment notices, photocopying and running blood and pathology samples to the lab. She also directs patients during colonoscopy clinics and provides snacks and drinks for chemotherapy patients.

“I find my shifts really rewarding,” says Patel, who hopes to some day work in oncology.  “I learn something new there every time I volunteer.”

A reminder that we are accepting Student Award Applications until September 30, 2018.  You can apply here –


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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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