Supporting positive community change through responsive grant-making

Every Spring the Community Foundation North Okanagan (CFNO) invites charitable organizations to apply for funding from the annual Smart & Caring Community Grants Program.

This program offers grants for organizations that focus on making positive social change and work towards balancing the inequalities in the North Okanagan region. Some grants address emerging issues, while others support project and program delivery, operations, equipment purchases, and much more.

The Smart & Caring Community Grants Program offers the much-needed flexible funding for charities and non-profits to deliver a project or program in key areas that are essential to building healthy, equitable and resilient communities for all.

  • Grant applications will be accepted March 1 to March 31, 2024.
  • An information session for applicants is being held in-person on Feb. 29; email for details and to register.

Last year this program granted over $253,000 to 29 organizations that provide support to residents of the North Okanagan.

One of these grants was for the Family Resource Centre Society’s Art & Identity Project. This is an art therapy group for youth ages 14 to 17 to explore their identity (including values, beliefs, emotions, gender, sexual orientation, authenticity and more) using art, in the context of a safe and supportive therapeutic environment. The group offers a chance to make peer connections with other youths, explore any mental health challenges they are experiencing, and develop their ability to express themselves through art.

Another grant supported more than 15 local low-income seniors with access to dentures and hearing aids through Nexus BC Community Resource Centre’s Compassion Fund.

When a senior recovers their ability to hear, they are much more likely to be able to maintain their independence and social connections. They can order a prescription, hear traffic while driving and laugh with their grandchildren.

People who have lost their natural teeth and haven’t been able to replace them with dentures are often reduced to eating soft foods which are usually less nutritious overall. There’s also a direct impact to a person’s self-esteem – that can lead people to stop smiling. The impact of dentures removes the stigma attached to dental loss and brings back a world of real food.

Both hearing aids and dentures are critical for seniors in maintaining their health and dignity as they age.

The Smart & Caring Community Grants Program is made possible thanks to 46 CFNO Donors that have earmarked all or a portion of their charitable funds’ granting dollars to support this type of responsive grant-making, year-after-year.

This year, in addition to those funds, Nixon Wenger LLP has contributed $50,000 to this program, and CFNO is beyond grateful that they will get to say “yes” to more well deserving local projects.

“To celebrate and mark our 50th anniversary, the partners of Nixon Wenger felt it was important to recognize the support of our community, which has been an integral part of our ongoing success as a firm,” says Allyson Edwards, Partner, Nixon Wenger LLP.

“We also could not overlook the unique fact that we share a founder with CFNO. The late Paul Nixon established and grew both organizations through his strong passion and commitment to enriching our local community. We feel fortunate to be able to mark our 50th anniversary by supporting the CFNO and the North Okanagan Community.”

The Smart & Caring Community Fund and Granting Program unites donors and organizations that want to respond to the most important needs of our local community.

To learn more about how CFNO works with donors to support charities in our area please reach out to Leanne Hammond, Executive Director of the Community Foundation North Okanagan, 250-542-8655 or

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