Your Community Matters – March 2019

“This funding will play an essential role in helping me achieve my dream of becoming a lawyer.”  Emily Bielech, 2018 Student Award Recipient

What is your dream?

Our dream at the Community Foundation is to create a community that is stronger than today, inclusive to all and to shift the needle to make a positive change – forever.  Every day we are fortunate to connect with people and hear what their dreams are.  Dreams of some of our community members include ensuring children have access to healthy food, that our seniors are supported and cared for, improve access to post-secondary education, supporting creativity or helping the most challenged members of our community.  Helping you achieve these dreams are important to us and Emily is an example of a dream coming to fruition.

I am honoured to work with the many who have built a legacy fund that reflects their values and dreams. You care about the community you call home and your dreams are important to us. I invite you to connect with me to explore your dreams and for us to look at ways to help you meet your dreams.

Building a legacy is a gift for your community today that will impact future generations and the lives of people you may never meet.

Every day we hear that status quo is not enough. What do you care about in our community?  What is important to you?  We can help you explore your dream and align it with the Community Foundation.

What is your dream?

Warmest Wishes,

06.05.2015 Tracey Vavrek Electronic Signature

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Tiny Hands of Hope 

Helping others during their time of need and grieving has been the focus of the Tiny Hands of Hope Society since 2013. Formed by a small group of people whose lives had each been touched by the loss of a child, the non-for-profit society has recently partnered with the Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta.

Focused on helping families which have suffered from all types of infant loss, including pregnancy loss, neonatal loss, stillbirth, SIDS and infant death up to the age of 24 months, the society provides centralized bereavement group support to those in need.

Making bereavement materials available to families as well as helping to standardize child loss bereavement packages for the local hospital, Tiny Hands of Hope has also purchased much needed equipment for families experiencing loss as well as those who are pregnant after previous losses.

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“Annually, we hold a memorial event called the Walk to Remember as an opportunity for families and friends to come together to honour and celebrate the little lives that have touched their hearts,” says Karen Gilkyson, President of Tiny Hands of Hope Society.

Held each September, the Peace Country Walk to Remember, which saw more than 600 participants in 2018, offers a place for those grieving the loss of a child a place to gather with others who understand what they are going through.

The society also holds an annual gala as its primary fundraising endeavour. In addition to hosting support groups and bereavement resources, funds raised will go towards building a new children’s memorial garden. To be located near Maskwoteh Park across from the new regional hospital, the garden will be a place for those touched by the loss of a child to go year-round, says Gilkyson.

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“Many of us have young children, so what I love about it being right beside Maskwôtêh, they have a place to run around but also there will be a place for the children who are not with me right now that we can honour and celebrate them,” she says.

The recent fund established with the Community Foundation, will allow those wishing to donate to Tiny Hands of Hope Society for the creation of the memorial garden.

“The Community Foundation is proud to partner with Tiny Hands of Hope and the City of Grande Prairie to build a stronger community and the garden is a pillar for families to remember loved ones,” says Tracey Vavrek, CEO of the Community Foundation.

 You can make a difference in our community – not only for today but forever. When you make a donation to the Tiny Hands of Hope Fund, earnings from your gift are used for the creation of a memorial garden.  Donations can be made online here  or by calling the Community Foundation at (780) 538-2820.

2019 Survey – Coming Soon!

Vital Signs Branding


Keep your eyes open for our 2019 Vital Signs survey. We’ll be asking your opinions on your community: What is working well? What areas do we need to work on?

The survey will be inviting feedback from residents and businesses in the City of Grande Prairie, County of Grande Prairie, MD of Greenview and the surrounding communities.

Your voice counts!

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 to shape more vital, prosperous and welcoming communities.

Peace Area Riding for the Disabled – PARDS

A world of possibilities opens up each week for those taking part in the Peace Area Riding for the Disabled Society (PARDS) Equine Assisted Therapy programs, thanks in part to funding through the Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta.

“At PARDS, everyone belongs,” notes Jennifer Douglas, Executive Director. “We welcome self referrals, family/friend referrals, and referrals from other agencies, doctors and schools.”

Programs at PARDS Therapeutic Riding Centre, located just south of Grande Prairie near Evergreen Park, serve clients of all abilities from ages three and up with the eldest client currently 73. Certain programs are tailored specifically for those with a clinical diagnosis while others are fully inclusive and accessible to all.

“The positive impacts are as varied as our riders,” says Douglas. “Success looks different for everyone and we are proud to offer tailored programs to support the goals of each individual who comes through our doors.”

 “All PARDS programs build self-confidence, empathy as well as self and spatial awareness focusing on enhancing coping, cooperative and relationship building skills,” says Douglas.

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For client Paige, taking part in both the Therapeutic Riding and the Youth Leadership programs has made a world of difference.

“I did have anxiety issues, I still do, but whenever I come here they almost don’t seem to surface because I feel so comfortable and safe around the riders, the instructors and the horses,” she says.

Paige has continued to build her confidence through developing her horsemanship skills and further engaging with the PARDS community by volunteering in the barn, in lessons and at events.

“Funding is always a challenge to secure and we appreciate that the Community Foundation, in managing its many different funds, is able to provide funding opportunities focusing on a number of different priorities in our region,” she says, adding, “The Community Foundation also offers another avenue for our story to be told.”

While funding is key, Douglas notes, PARDS has also found great value in the Community Foundation by accessing data from the Vital Signs report to help determine where the organization could best develop programming to meet the changing needs of the community.

The Community Foundation’s focus is to build stronger, heathier and more inclusive communities and through the Opdahl Michaud Family Fund we were able to support PARDS in 2018 as part of our annual Community Impact Grants.

You can make a difference in our community – not only for today but forever. A donation to the Grande Prairie Keg Steakhouse & Bar PARDS Fund Donations gives back to the Peace Area Riding for the Disabled society.  Donations can be made online here – or by calling the Community Foundation at (780) 538-2820.  

Open Door Cafe – April 4, 2019

April Open Door Cafe poster


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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