Historic $4.5 Million Kiwanis Endowment

The Kiwanis Clubs of Kelowna 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 & culture, community services and education.

It’s the single largest gift the Kelowna General Hospital has received in its 109 year history of serving this community.

The gifts 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 (COKCSS) 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 guaranteeing that the health and well-being of our community’s children is supported in perpetuity.

Kiwanis is well-known to local parents and children in the Central Okanagan for their support of arts and cultural events such as the Kiwanis Music Festival.  “Encouraging and enriching the childhood experience has always been at the heart of the Kiwanis mandate,” says 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, echoes this sentiment. “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.

The COKCSS was the sole owner and manager of the Kiwanis Tower, located at the corner of Lawrence and Gordon.  Built in 1976, at thirteen stories, 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 Bob Bissell, President and directors:  Wendy Falkowski, 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 healthcare 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,” says Doug Rankmore, CEO of the KGH Foundation.  “We are honored and inspired by their dedication, commitment and thoughtfulness.”

Says Bruce Davies, Executive Director of the Central Okanagan Foundation, “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!”