The Kiwanis Clubs of Kelowna have made the largest donation Kelowna General Hospital has received in its 109-year history.
The Kiwanis clubs have donated $4 million to the KGH Foundation to benefit child and youth health care in the Central Okanagan, and $500,000 to the Central Okanagan Foundation (COF) to support local programs for children and youth in arts and culture, community services and education.
The donations come as a result of the December 2016 sale of the Kiwanis Tower to Lawrence Holdings Ltd.
At the time, Bob Bissell, president of the Central Okanagan Kiwanis Community Service Society, indicated that the proceeds from the sale would be dedicated to helping children and youth.
For both organizations, the funds have been designated to the establishment of a Kelowna Kiwanis Legacy 2017 Fund, an endowment guaranteed to focus on the health and well-being of children supported in perpetuity.
“Encouraging and enriching the childhood experience has always been at the heart of the Kiwanis mandate,” said Bissell. “We are so happy to be able to re-invest these funds back into supporting local kids.”
Wendy Falkowski, president of Kiwanis Club of Kelowna-Summit, added that “establishing this legacy endowment is an investment not only for our children today, but in the future of health and well-being of our community.”
Kiwanis is celebrating its 70th anniversary in Kelowna this year.
COKCSS was the sole owner and manager of the Kiwanis Tower, located at the corner of Lawrence and Gordon. Built in 1976, at 13 storeys, it was the tallest building in Kelowna at the time.
The high-rise was designed to provide affordable housing to low-income seniors and was managed by Kiwanis Clubs of Kelowna for over 40 years until the sale last year.
The COKCSS volunteer board is made up of Bissell and Falkowski along with Marion MacNeil, Eric Reitsma and Jane Stockell.
The KGH Foundation and COF were chosen specifically for their longstanding reputation in the local community for advancing health care and culture. Keeping the funds local and maintaining a direct connection to the organizations were the top priorities.
“We applaud Kiwanis’ leadership in championing the wellbeing of our kids for over 70 years, and now, in perpetuity,” said Doug Rankmore, CEO of the KGH Foundation. “We are honored and inspired by their dedication, commitment and thoughtfulness.”
Bruce Davies, executive director of the Central Okanagan Foundation, added: “We truly appreciate how important it was for the Kiwanis Clubs to support local initiatives providing service to children and youth in our community. Through their extraordinary endowment gifts to our organizations, their remarkable legacy of philanthropy will continue to benefit our community—forever.”
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