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Our History

2018

Exceptional Achievement Citation and Bursary Award name is changed to the Western Inspirational Award. A record 112 bursaries are awarded.

Participation from Western Life Assurance & Group Insurance Solutions ends

Participation from Wyatt Dowling branches begins

Donation made to Humboldt, SK of $10,000

Calgary Stampede Queen and Princesses were special guests at the annual golf tournament and mc’d the evening banquet    

2017

Record 108 Bursaries to a value of $53,250; Matching Grants $18,457 for 42 projects; Infrastructure Grants 45 for $225,000; Goal Achievers $66,009.70 going back into our western communities    

2016

Record Infrastructure Grant draw of 50 projects for a total of $250,000 awarded

Bursary awards are increased from $500 to $750 each; 93 awarded in 2016    

2015

Flood Relief to Yorkton of $10,000

86 bursaries at $500 each; Matching Grants $12,963.90 for 28 projects; 40 Infrastructure Grants drawn for $200,000; Goal Achievers $63,868.33 

2014

Established the Goal Achievers (50%) Program - Branches that achieve their Support the Cause fundraising goal averaging $100 per employee can apply to keep 50% of the total funds raised for a community project. 74 branches achieved their goal in 2014 with almost $60,000 given to western community projects.

Coast Capital Insurance Services and Kootenays joined the WCF initiatives

Record Infrastructure Grant draw of 40 projects for a total of $200,000

Habitat for Humanity program ends with total awards of $150,000– Many of our branches were not able to participate in this program because they did not have a H for H build in their community.

$171,923 was given to the  High River Spring Registration Program to cover the cost of one youth sport registration fee per child residing in High River and surrounding areas affected by the flood

Flood Relief to Roblin of $5,000

Flood Relief to Brandon of $10,000

Four core Foundation programs confirmed:

  • Exceptional Achievement Citation and Bursary Award
  • Matching Grant Program
  •  Community Infrastructure Grant Program
  • Goal Achievers (50%) Program
  • Record Support the Cause Day: $238,250 raised by 1665 employees
  • Golf Tournament snowed out but evening banquet a success. Special guest, Mayor Craig Snodgrass
  • The Western Communities Foundation reaches a MILLION $$$ donated 

2013

AED program ends.  48 AED’s had been placed in western communities  

Habitat for Humanity - 3 builds ($45,000) Wainwright, Prince Albert, Winnipeg 

Flood Relief of $110,000 given for 2 playgrounds, one at Holy Spirit Academy & one at Spitzee School in High River. $10,000 donation was given to Samaritan’s Purse for Flood Relief and $500 for Christmas Food Hampers to the Salvation Army 

Online donation capability for STC begins 

Golf Tournament held at Heritage Pointe, DeWinton due to flood damage at Highwood. CTV anchor, Darryl Janz mc’d the banquet event. Theme: “Rebuilding our Communities” 

2012

Canadian Vision Care program ends.  $23,500 was awarded to this program over 9 years. 

Habitat for Humanity – 3 builds ($45,000) Prince George, Nipawin, Winnipeg 

Bursaries 72; Matching Grants $6,672.58; Infrastructure Grants $70,000; AED’s 1 

2011

Habitat for Humanity – Two builds ($30,000) Vermilion & Winnipeg 

Bursaries 66; Matching Grants total $5,055; Infrastructure Grants 14; AED’s 2; Vision Care $3,000 

2010

Established the Habitat for Humanity Program – With WCF grant funds ($15,000 each) and Western employee volunteer work commitment, the WCF was considered a “significant sponsor” to support a “build.”  Branches in Lloydminster, piloted this program with two $15,000 awards for builds in Lloydminster, AB & Lloydminster, SK  

After 4 years hosting the golf tournament in the “big tent” at Highwood, the newly built Highwood Club House became our hosting venue 

2009

6 branches requested AED’s. Another life saved (a woman in Weyburn) by our AED! 

51 bursaries; $4,800 awarded in Matching Grants; $25,000 for Infrastructure Grants 

Golf Tournament raised $30,000 

Support the Cause Day raised $53,240 with 504 staff participating 

2008

Another 16 AED’s awarded at approx. $4,000 each; 36 bursaries awarded at $500 each; 5 infrastructure grants $25,000; almost $5,500 in Matching Grants; Vision Care $3,000 

Golf Tournament raised over $55,000 with special guest, Gordie Howe 

Support the Cause Day – over $39,000 raised 

2007

16 AED’s awarded at approx $4,000 each; 42 bursaries awarded at $500 each; 5 infrastructure grants $25,000;  $3,100 in Matching Grants; Vision Care $3,000 

Golf Tournament raised over $50.000.  

Support the Cause Day – raised nearly $28,000 

2006

Established the Community Infrastructure Program awarding three $5,000 grants for community projects for renovation or construction of a publicly owned asset such as a rec centre, arena, splash park, hospital etc. 

Established the Exceptional Achievement Citation and Bursary Award program for high school graduates in each community served by Western Financial Group who have displayed inspirational conduct or overcome adversity (mental/physical/emotional/financial) 36 bursaries at $500 each were awarded 

Established the Community Defibrillator Program which funded the purchase of Automated External Defibrillators (AED’s) to be located in public facilities such as rec centres, arenas, schools. The program included a two-year service maintenance package, a glass framed wall cabinet and a professional instructor to train staff. A man, 48 years old from Beaverlodge, AB was saved by one of Western’s AED’s. 

Completed the Canadian Fallen Heroes program on November 11th, 2006 to a value of $114,400 donated for 572 memorial plaques 

Golf Tournament featured special guest, Gordie Howe, and raised over $42,000 

Support the Cause raised over $38,000 (407 employees participated) 

2005

Established the WCF major fundraiser, Support the Cause Day, where employees from each branch participate in a 5 km walk securing pledges & holding fundraisers to fund the Foundation programs. Approx $37,500 was raised this first STC Day 

Established the Matching Grant Program whereby branches could raise money for a local community project to be matched by the Foundation up to $500 ($1,800 awarded funding four projects) 

Continued Fallen Heroes Program – 286 now placed 

Continued Canadian Vision Care support - $2,000 

The location of the Annual Golf Tournament was changed from D’Arcy Ranch to the  Highwood Golf & Country Club in High River. A huge tent venue accommodated golfers on September 13, 2005. The golf course had experienced damage from flooding so this began the idea of a “theme” & decorations for each tournament. Instead of the Fall Golf Classic, a well-received theme that year was the “Flood Golf Classic.”  The tournament raised over $40,000 

Support the Cause Day raised over $34,000 

2004

The Helping Hands Program supported efforts to preserve eye-sight for people in developing countries by making a contribution to Canadian Vision Care for equipment and supplies. Eye specialists from Western Financial Group communities volunteered their time, expertise and travel expenses to bring eye care in places like Jamaica, St. Lucia, Dominica and Costa Rica.  

Two $10,000 awards for infrastructure projects were made for the Olds swimming pool & SK Summer Games 

Continued Fallen Heroes Program - 60 more memorial posters 

Continued several fundraising activities including the annual golf tournament  

Net $20,500 

2003

The Foundation’s first major undertaking was to support the Canadian Fallen Heroes Project, an organization dedicated to honouring the memory of Canada’s fallen heroes. The project created 17x22 inch oak-framed posters commemorating Western Canadians who lost their lives in World War I and II, the Korean Campaign and in Canadian Peace Keeping efforts. The posters included a photo and specific details about the life and death of each hero. Fallen hero posters were unveiled at Remembrance Day ceremonies in Western Financial Group communities commencing with Bow Island, Cochrane, High River, Nanton, Olds, Okotoks, Strathmore, Taber, Vulcan, and Yorkton. 197 posters were created in 2003 

The Foundation showcased Canadian speed skater, Jeremy Wotherspoon who toured the network throughout the year visiting schools and business groups.  Jeremy hails from Red Deer, AB – a Western Financial Group community 

2002

The Western Communities Foundation (WCF) was registered as a private registered charity. 

 Its mission was threefold: 

  • To foster the development of community pride through sponsorship of worthy endeavors by teams or individuals in the various communities where Western operates 
  • To develop and enhance the infrastructure in these communities through public health, education and recreation 
  • To assist in the export of community products, expertise and financial support to parts of Canada and the world that are lacking such benefits 

The Foundation comprised three programs: 

  • Community Heroes Program 
  • Community Infrastructure Program 
  • Helping Hands Program (Canadian Vision Care) 

The first major fundraiser was initiated: The Western Communities Foundation Annual Fall Classic Golf Tournament held at D’Arcy Ranch in Okotoks on September 24, 2002 

2001

Western Financial Group founded the non-profit Western Communities Foundation to express appreciation and demonstrate support of the western communities where Western employees live and work