With these grants, we empower our non-profit partners to build a vibrant and healthy community and deliver programs and services that benefit all central Albertans.

The JJ Collett Natural Area is 640 acres of natural habitat located in Central Alberta. It consists of 18 kilometers of trails that are utilized the by the general public and students of the Wolf Creek School Division for the Grade 6 educational program, which is based on the Provincial science curriculum for over 450 students in the division. They also offer Spring and Fall guided tours for the general public, identifying local plants and animals in the area. Their mandate is to utilize the area for environmental and educational purposes.

In the Fall of 2018, the Red Deer & District Community Foundation was able to grant the JJ Collett Foundation $1600.00 from the Smart and Caring Community Fund towards the repair and reconstruction of a bridge that runs over one of the creeks in the area.  There are approximately 10,000 people who use the trail and subsequently, the bridge, annually, plus the 450 students from the Wolf Creek School Division.

The Sylvan Lake & Area Community Partners Association runs a program called the Tools 4 School which his in support of families with children in school needing school supplies. The program is for families qualifying on a sliding Net Income scale and who reside in Sylvan Lake and for surrounding county students.

The community of Sylvan Lake is a generous and caring community and when this program was advertised, the local citizens donated many supplies. Local businesses also donated and matched funds to ensure a successful outcome.

The Red Deer & District Community Foundation was able to grant $950.00 towards the Tools 4 School Project from the Sylvan Lake Community Endowment Fund. Because of this worthwhile initiative, 24 families, which included 45 children were able to benefit from this program, and the program is available throughout the year.

The Red Deer Symphony Orchestra In-School Programs bring RDSO musicians into elementary and middle/high schools for free 45-minutes presentations that provide the students with the unique opportunity to see orchestral instruments up close and experience live music.

The RDSO String Quartet performs in elementary schools, with a curriculum designed specifically for that age group, while the RDSO Woodwind Quintet performs in middle and senior high schools, with a curriculum designed to support the local band programs.

These well-established programs have become extremely popular in central Alberta as a result of the originality and accessibility of the material they present. For many of the students, this is their first experience with live classical music, and many teachers incorporated the elements of the presentation into their school lessons in order to maximize the impact it has on the students.

The RDSO In-School Programs are interactive, engaging, and memorable experiences for the students.

Approximately 30 per cent of elementary students and 60 per cent of high school students attend school in Canada with little or no nutrition. The Sundre Nutrition for Learning Society’s in-school nutrition program aims to ensure that all kids receive the proper nutrition to sustain them throughout the day.

Sundre and the surrounding rural communities do not have easy access to a Food Bank, and because of the ongoing economic struggles in both the oil and agricultural industries, teachers were seeing an increase in the number of students coming to school without lunch.

The Sundre Nutrition for Learning Society believes that the responsibility for making sure all children are able to reach their full learning potential rests within the community. The society also strives to act as a means of intervention on the lifestyle choices of the community’s youth, by reinforcing healthier food habits both at school and at home.

The Red Deer & District S.P.C.A.’s Adult Assisted Volunteer Program provides individuals with special needs the opportunity to volunteer in the S.P.C.A. facility, allowing this vulnerable segment of the population to find a position of pride within the community.

Working with seven different agencies in Red Deer, the S.P.C.A. Adult Assisted Program Coordinator provides blocks of time at the facility for people with special needs to come with an aide for volunteer shifts. Six volunteer positions are available, including Cat Cuddling, Small Animal Socializers, and Kong Stuffing duties to name a few.

The program is truly win-win, with the animals receiving the unconditional love and care that they need, and the Assisted Volunteers receiving recognition for giving back to their community in a meaningful way. By providing this service, the S.P.C.A. improves the well-being of our community as a whole, showing compassion for the vulnerable—both human and animal alike.

For those with a disability or special need, planning a relaxing getaway at an affordable cost can prove to be even more complicated than most of us will ever experience.

The Vacation without Limits Subsidy Program is designed to help the families with a limited income enjoy a relaxing vacation. The Cerebral Palsy Association in Alberta felt a strong need to create a program that would ensure that everyone has the opportunity to have a stress-free vacation without limits.

In 2009, the CPAA opened their Vacation Villa, a custom-built home in the Raymond Shore Resort on Gull Lake. The 950 square foot villa was designed with accessibility in mind and can accommodate individuals facing a variety of mobility issues. From a roll-in shower and portable lift, to a commode chair, pool lift, and paved pathways to the beach, this villa makes vacation dreams come true for all families with disabilities.

In 2015, RDDCF participated in rebuilding the iconic Sylvan Lake Lighthouse, a project spearheaded by the Sylvan Lake Sailing Club and championed by the Tourism Action Committee, the Sylvan Lake Marina, and the Chamber of Commerce.

Built in 1988 to commemorate the town’s 75th birthday, the original lighthouse was plagued with building deficiencies and later demolished. With the town’s 100th birthday celebration in 2013, the Sylvan Lake Rotary took on the challenge of building another lighthouse in the same location.

Through a partnership with the Town of Sylvan Lake, the Sylvan Lake Rotary was able to raise approximately $240,000, and the Sylvan Lake Lighthouse Flow Through Fund was able to raise an additional $100,000 by selling sponsorship prints and engraved bricks that were placed in the lighthouse foundation.

The new lighthouse now stands tall as a symbol of community building and the strength of collectively rallying behind a common goal.

From June 1 to 21, 2015, the Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery hosted Walking With Our Sisters, a memorial installation that pays tribute to the lives of missing and murdered Indigenous women.

With support received from the Red Deer & District Community Foundation, Red Deer Aboriginal Employment Services, Red Deer Native Friendship Society, Elders from our own community, and from the O’Chiese and Sunchild First Nations Bands, as well as over 270 volunteers, the Museum was transformed into a sacred space to honour and grieve for those taken from our lives, our communities, and our nation.

Creating the sacred space in the exhibition galleries was an incredible undertaking that involved ten volunteers working twelve hours a day for four consecutive days. Once completed, over 1,800 pairs of vamps (or moccasin tops) were carefully placed in the lodge, along with sacred items that will come to the bundle, two eagle staffs, an eagle fan and feathers, drums, rattles and a grandmother’s pipe.

Guided by First Nations grandmothers or “Kokums,” as well as women with traditional teachings, visitors removed their footwear, smudged, and took a pinch of tobacco and held it in their left hand (closest to the heart) while they walked through the sacred space. At the end of each day, the tobacco was offered to the Creator by a sacred fire. For some, that was their first introduction into Native Spiritual Practice. For others, it was a returned tradition, one that was once outlawed by the government.

In the months leading up to the memorial opening in central Alberta, the Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery hosted a Community Conversation once a month, panel discussions, film screenings, and fundraisers in collaboration with The Hub, Red Deer College, and Hunting Hills High School to raise awareness about an often neglected travesty of justice. RDDCF was honoured to be a part of this meaningful, memorable tribute.