Your Community Matters – April 2019

For the last 27 years, I have called the Grande Prairie area home.  Living in northern Alberta is a unique and positive experience.  The region is filled with diversity and opportunities, and continues to experience growth at all levels.  For many years, I have dedicated hundreds of hours in support of local initiatives and challenges.  Why?  Because I believe we all have an opportunity to do something more for our community, which in turn impacts the lives of our friends, neighbors, family and many who we will never meet.

Commitment to community is important for any city, town or region to flourish. Every day we are connected with citizens who share a common interest and goal to help others, thus enhancing our community both now and in the future. This inspires me.

Every donation to an endowment fund at the Community Foundation represents a personal story.  We see interest in supporting all areas of our region, from helping local fine art center’s to ensure youth and others have a place to let their creativity flow, to helping ensure our food banks have the additional supplies for local families who need a little extra help, and being able to assist post-secondary students achieve their dreams.  The interest and opportunities are endless.

I encourage you to explore your personal giving plan of today and build your legacy for the future of the community you call home. The best time to start is now. As with personal investments, continued contributions grow over time and help you achieve your goals. 

There are many ways people donate to endowment funds, including monthly contributions, which is a convenient way to budget your giving and support the causes you care about. Endowment funds are the community savings account that anyone can donate to. The process is easy. Call me today to explore your passions or interests in supporting the community that means so much to you. 

Warmest wishes,

06.05.2015 Tracey Vavrek Electronic Signature

Tracey Headshot resized

Parkside Montessori

Famed American documentary photographer Dorthea Lange once said, “The camera is the instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.”

At Parkside Montessori School in Grande Prairie, more than 200 young students now have the opportunity to put that statement to the test, thanks to a grant from the Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta.

Provided through the Young at Art Fund by T. Sedore Photography, the funding allowed the school to purchase digital cameras for use in both daily learning and for specialized photography learning opportunities.


The Young at Art Fund was established with the Foundation by Grande Prairie photographer Tanya Sedore to support and encourage community art programs and projects focused on engaging and connecting youth under the age of 18.

The Parkside Montessori application for funding was a great match when it came to the grant.  “We were able to purchase enough cameras that an entire class can use the cameras at one time,” says Parkside principal Corrine Shmyruk. “It has allowed us to put cameras in the hands of all of our students, from our youngest three-year olds all the way up to the Grade 6 students.”

For the kids, the cameras have been a welcome addition to their learning.

“It was pretty cool to have a photography lesson with the cameras,” says one Grade 6 student. “You could see different textures, use a really good zoom and it was a good opportunity. I would like to do more.”

A Grade 5 student says, “Taking pictures was fun and the scavenger hunt was fun. It was really fun to take pictures, make things look bigger and change the angle.”

While another Grade 6 student notes, “It was cool that we could be doing something new with technology that could help us in real daily life. I’ve never done photography before but I like it.”

Shmyruk says students have been using the cameras in their daily learning allowing them to creatively capture images to use as a record of their learning, as pieces of creative projects and to save their experiences when on field trips.

“It has opened creative outlets for students who may not have been aware that they were interested in photography,” she says. “These funds have also assisted our school Yearbook Club in being able to capture our school events.”

03.15.2019 Parkside Montessori Story Photo

Some of those school events roll right back into what the Community Foundation is all about in terms of supporting the community, providing a sense of belonging and being inclusive to all.

“It is very important to our school culture to be involved in supporting our local community,” says Shmyruk. “Parkside does this through many different avenues, including being involved in the Community Foundation’s annual Random Acts of Kindness Day.”

The Community Foundation is proud to be able to support all aspects of our community through the community impact grants that we provide.  Our partnership with Young at Art Fund by T. Sedore Photography provides these children with an opportunity they may never have had.

You can make a difference in our community – not only for today but forever. Whether you’re contributing to a fund in your name, supporting a legacy that you connect with or simply wanting to make an impact on community – a donation to your Community Foundation helps to build Smart & Caring communities throughout our region. Donations can be made online here – or by calling the Community Foundation at (780) 538-2820.  Earnings from your gift are distributed to student awards or through community impact grants to numerous innovative charitable projects, large and small.  

Parkside and Tanya Sedore resized

Photo credit T. Sedore Photography
Pictured above from left to right – L to R – Tanya Sedore of t. sedore photography, Sandy McDonald – Superintendent Grande Prairie Public School District,
Mark Der – Parkside Montessori School teacher, Terra Shewchuk – Parkside Montessori School Vice Principal



  1. The Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta staff can help you answer many questions, such as:
  • · What do you believe would make your community a better place and how could you have an impact?
  • · What types of charitable interests mean the most to you?
  • · What would you like your fund to be named? Would you like to name your fund in memory of a loved one or in honour of someone you admire?

Grants can be made to any registered Canadian charity, which means you can provide support to your favourite causes in the Northwestern Region, across Canada and around the world.

  1. With your questions answered, your CFNWAB drafts an agreement. It’s a straightforward document that explains, in writing, the goal of your fund and how it is to operate.
  1. With an agreement in place, you can make your gifts immediately or in your estate plans. A fully operational endowment can be created with $10,000. You can donate it all at once or take up to 10 years to reach the total amount.
  1. Your gift is invested and a percentage is disbursed to charities each year as you have described in the agreement. You can stay active in the annual granting process and you can take advantage of CFNWAB’s expertise regarding grants within the community.

 REALLY, IT’S ALL ABOUT COMMUNITY — Why?  Because Community Matters…..


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  Take the 2019 Vital Signs Survey


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Your opinion matters. If you are 15 years or older and live, go to school or work in the City of Grande Prairie, County of Grande Prairie, MD of Greenview or the surrounding communities, take 10 minutes and tell us: What do you like most about your community? What would you change?

The Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta invites you to participate in our 2019 Northwestern Alberta Vital Signs survey. Vital Signs measures how we are doing in our communities and tells us where our strengths are and where we can improve to help shape more vital, prosperous and welcoming communities.

Click here to take the survey now. Enter to win a $50 gift basket!

 The power of Vital Signs comes from citizens like you – people willing to spend a few minutes to tell us what matters to you most about your community. Survey results will be released this October as part of our 2019 Northwestern Alberta’s Vital Signs report. The report informs citizens, organizations, community leaders and government on our local quality of life and well-being, and inspires informed decision-making and action.

Annual General Meeting – May 22, 2019

2019 AGM Invitation


2023 Vital
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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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