Accountant Craig Gronsdahl leaves his position as board chairman for the Central Okanagan Foundation with an impressive legacy.

Central Okanagan Foundation to distribute unprecedented $2 million in grants

Grant-in-aid funding nearly triples thanks to incredible investment returns and sound financial management

  • Nov. 26, 2014 11:00 a.m.

A 16 per cent investment return this year has the Central Okanagan Foundation feeling extra generous.

The foundation will distribute or allocate $2 million in the coming year with new multi-year commitments to some non-profits and more lump sums for the general charitable community.

“If you had asked us all a year ago, we would have been thrilled to have come up here tonight to announce a contribution of a million annually for the first time. But tonight, this year for the first time, yes, we’re going to double it: $2 million,” said Melanie Hall-Szyskiewicz, vice-chairwoman of the organization’s board of directors, who emceed their annual general meeting.

The foundation has also set up with a contingency to ensure its grants-in-aid won’t be affected by market volatility.

The announcements were made in the Laurel Packinghouse on Monday evening and mark a major leap forward for arts groups, sport charities and everything in between.

In 37 years, the foundation has amassed $27 million in assets and has, until now, put somewhere in the region of $700,000 back into the community in grant dollars for not-for-profit organizations in need of assistance.

In a presentation before the announcements were made, some of those groups described what the money has done.

For the Christian charity Hands in Service, it’s been used to help out families in need with unique concepts like the living salad—a planter of salad fixings.

It’s helped fund the annual Building Sustainable Communities Conference put on by the Fresh Outlook Foundation to showcase environmental community initiatives, and helped turn the lights on for Bumbershoot Theatre to continue staging quality productions and offering young people a chance to learn theatre skills.

Speaking in the video presentation, founder R.J. Bennett said the foundation has gone beyond his wildest dreams.

“You have to have something for people who fall on hard times, dark times, and you want to know that you made a difference,” he said.

The event also marketed the retirement of Craig Gronsdahl, board chairman.

Twitter: @jaswrites

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