The Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta has launched another new program. It’s called “Smart and Caring Funds”, which CEO Tracy Vavrek says will be pooled together and doled out to specific fields of interest, like youth or health initiatives.
“We see many individuals that want to make a difference and want to be able to contribute, but maybe not having the opportunity to donate larger sums of money. So this is an opportunity for individuals to work together with their community, and as a result, the impact will be significant out to the community.”
The donations will be invested in foundation’s savings account, and the interest will then be handed out as grants to community members while the fund continues to grow. Vavrek unveiled the initiative at the foundation’s Nourish the North Wine & Auction Thursday evening.
Highlighting the event was keynote speaker Frank O’Dea, who went from living in flop houses to co-founding Second Cup and other philanthropic causes. He told the crowd how a dime had changed his life, when someone tossed it to him as he was panhandling and he used it to call a hotline for alcoholics.
“Each of us in our community have a chance to give someone a dime. We have given dimes out in our community; we’ve changed the lives of people, and that’s what the Community Foundation is about: ensuring that we continue to give a little bit more.”
O’Dea’s talk was title “Hope, Vision, and Action”, and he explains one needs hope to create a vision, and a vision without action is just a dream. He told the crowd at the Pomeroy Hotel about how most of what he has accomplished in life came together because he met someone and they shared ideas. He encourages others to volunteer to make the same connections.
“It doesn’t matter how much; it’s just a matter of getting out, because that will take you places where you have no idea where to go. Any time you volunteer, you’ll find you meet other people who will begin taking you in a different direction… it opens doors that you never would have known.”
Earlier in the day, O’Dea also shared his message with hundreds of students at the Composite High School.