History & Vision

About the Central Okanagan Foundation

Community foundations are charitable organizations dedicated to improving communities in specific geographical areas. The Central Okanagan Foundation does this by pooling the charitable gifts of donors to create endowment funds and using the investment income to make grants.

The Central Okanagan Foundation supports registered charities within the Central Okanagan region. This encompasses the District of Lake Country, City of Kelowna, City of West Kelowna, and District of Peachland.


We believe that everyone can leave a legacy. We are the catalyst, building excellence in philanthropy to ensure our communities flourish.


To contribute to the quality of life in the Central Okanagan through the raising and stewardship of entrusted funds, innovative and diverse granting, and active community leadership.

As a community foundation, we are registered with the Canada Revenue Agency. As a tax-exempt public foundation, we are publicly accountable for the funds we manage and can provide tax receipts for gifts received.

To find out more about community foundations, visit Community Foundations of Canada.

Public Foundation BIN #11884 3481 RR0001


We believe that any story worth telling is likely worth telling more than once. At the Central Okanagan Foundation how we came to be, and what we have been able to do through the foresight that our Founders had in 1977 and those who have touched us so generously since then, is timeless. It is a story about a gift that keeps on giving. It begins with $40,000 in seed money and has grown to over $40 Million in assets. As a foundation even today $40,000 is a big sum of money. The fact that it has grown is because we believe that no amount is too small when contributing to an endowment. It is the collective growth and careful stewardship of these investments that has allowed the foundation to grow.

When you go camping, leave the woodpile bigger than when you arrived. When you leave this world be sure you leave something more than what you brought into it.” – R.J. Bennett, Founding Member and Past President

Words to live by? … we think so.
R.J. Bennett along with The Hon. W.A.C. Bennett and Family, The Capozzi Family, Carruthers Family and Meikle Family, Ephriam Arthur Day Family, Kelowna General Hospital Society, D. G. McConachie Family, M. Jake Peters, West Sunnyside Lands Ltd. , Aubrey Roy Pollard Family, Camillo Rampone Family, Jack and Helen Serwa Family, S.M. Simpson Family, J. Bruce & Ann G. Smith, Richard John Stewart Family and James H. Bannister & Madge Bannister Walden are all Founders of this great organization. Lionel Wace, a prominent member of the community shared his vision in the late 1960’s that “anyone can leave a legacy”, when he saw first-hand, the struggles faced by many in the community and knew that government couldn’t be relied upon to fill every gap. His insight became the catalyst for the Founders and the Foundation Committee. Many others supported the foundation in its formative years through their generosity of time, funding, and their expertise. These are things we still, to this day value in finding Board Members, Committee Members an Advisors. In a world where change is inevitable, it is reassuring to know that some things don’t need to change. The foundation was formed on the suggestion of the Central Okanagan Social Planning Society and allowed for all citizens to establish permanent endowment funds for non-profit purposes that will contribute to the mental, moral, cultural, and physical well-being of the Central Okanagan. We believe there is a need to support these purposes even today. As generations move on, next generations continue to see the value, newcomers to the region then see the opportunity to expand this further and in new ways, resulting in new opportunities to make a difference in the communities that we call HOME, right here where we live, work, and play. It results in an evolution of impact, and we invite you to be a part of it.