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Heart and Stroke Foundation closing Grande Prairie office

The Heart and Stroke Foundation is closing up shop in Grande Prairie. As of August 24th, it will no longer have an office in the city and will rely on one staff member to run its remaining programs out of their home.

The closure is one of 26 across the country, leaving the foundation with 22 physical locations. Alberta Communications Manager Anita Pieterse says it’s a cost-saving measure.

“It’s the challenging environment for charitable organizations; community fundraising has been on the decline for some time. The programs that we’ve run for 30, 40 years just are not effective in this new overall economic climate.”

Programs like Jump Rope for Heart will continue and canvassers will still go door-to-door in the Grande Prairie region. However, two employees will be losing their jobs, the annual Ladies in Red Fashion Show will be over, and the Big Bike will no longer be a fundraising option.

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“One of the reasons we have made the difficult decision to cancel the Big Bike program in some of the smaller communities is that it is very costly to transport that large bike on the big trailer all across the province,” Pieterse explains.

The offices in Red Deer and Medicine Hat are also shuttering, and all three areas will be serviced by the remaining ones in Edmonton and Calgary. Pieterse says the model has worked well for Heart and Stroke in other locations.

“We closed our Lethbridge office quite a number of years ago… and we have had someone working in Lethbridge from a home-based office, working in the community for all those years and it’s been great.”

Moving forward, Pieterse says the foundation is looking to expand its work online, where it has been receiving more donations in recent years. She maintains it is committed to still keeping a presence in the Grande Prairie area.

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