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Okanagan College to guide non-profits thanks to Scotiabank donation
Scotiabank demonstrated its corporate social responsibility Monday by making a donation to foster this kind of mentality in business students for years to come.
The bank's executives were in Kelowna for the financial institution's annual general meeting and offered up a serious sum—$100,000 over two years—to develop the Scotiabank Centre for Non-Profit Excellence at the Okanagan College School of Business.
"Education is one of the pillars of our philanthropic program, Scotiabank Bright Future, and to us, investing in education means investing in our communities," said Brian Porter, president and CEO of Scotiabank.
The new centre was billed as the kind of place where organizations like Kelowna Community Resources, a hub for non-profit support and knowledge in the valley, will turn to find training opportunities and graduates capable of handling the accounting, fund development, public relations and management skills needed to keep a non-profit organization on its feet.
Actually experiencing what it's like to work in a non-profit organization and positively affect change does alter a student's career choices, fourth year business student Drew Vincent said. His participation in the Enactus program, a non-profit, student-run organization that develops and implements projects in Interior communities to improve the quality of life and standard of living across the region has certainly changed his outlook.
"I started seeing there is so much opportunity to create a job, and be able to work for different organizations, while still being profitable and responsible to shareholders," said Vincent.
Originally aiming to be in marketing, Vincent was in school to secure a marketing diploma and wanted to work for the kind of firm only found in bigger cities before connecting with Enactus. Now on the verge of graduation, he said the mentorship he received from his business school instructors, who pushed him to work with the organization, and the experiences he had doing the work, fostered a desire to stay in the valley and make a difference.
"Ideally, I'd love to get a job working for a business that has a social conscience and goes out and creates opportunities for people that maybe are differently-abled or maybe don't have opportunities currently," he said.
He is on a student-led team working with TIER Support Services to create a business to provide bottle-washing jobs for individuals with different physical, mental and learning challenges. The business helps improve the supply chain for wineries, ultimately saving dollars for an industry critical for Okanagan tourism, and employs individuals who might otherwise struggle to find work.
"I think that I've seen the opportunity in the entrepreneurial nature of this school to be able to stay local and do whatever it takes to stay in my community…It's an incredible community and, while there aren't always jobs that are readily available, it is possible to stay if you are creative enough," he said.
Retaining students in the Okanagan is a key goal for both the college and the University of British Columbia Okanagan.