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


The original vision for a community foundation was proposed by Lionel Wace, who came to Kelowna in the late 1960s as the new local superintendent of the B.C. Ministry of Social Welfare. Lionel saw the struggles faced by many in the community and knew that government could not be relied upon to fill every gap.

The foundation was formed on the suggestion of the Central Okanagan Social Planning Society. It 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. Established in 1977 with $40,000 in seed money, the foundation now manages over $40 million in assets.


The Hon. W.A.C. Bennett and familyThe Aubrey Roy Pollard family
The Capozzi familyThe Camillo Rampone family
The Carruthers family and Meikle familyThe Jack & Helen Serwa family
The Ephriam Arthur Day familyThe S.M. Simpson family
The Kelowna General Hospital SocietyJ. Bruce & Ann G. Smith
The D.G. McConachie familyThe Richard John Stewart family
M. Jake PetersJames H. Bannister
West Sunnyside Lands Ltd.Madge Bannister Walden