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.

Catholic Social Services was granted $7200.00 from the Red Deer & District Community Foundation’s Smart and Caring Communities Fund. This money went towards CSS being able to equip four of their group homes for adults with automated external defibrillator’s (AED’s). The inhabitants of these group homes have various disabilities, medical conditions or other health issues that place them more at risk of sudden cardiac arrest. With the placement of these devices, the staff who are already trained in Emergency First Aid/CPR, were also trained in how to properly and effectively use the AED in the event of a cardiac arrest.

The mission of the Olds & District Hospice Society is to provide quality, compassionate care in a home-like setting for those facing death by offering physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual, and educational support to individuals, their families and community at the end of life and during bereavement.

When cure is no longer an option, the Olds &District Hospice Society provides special care in a comfortable home-like setting where life can be respected and celebrated up to death. They offer a place where friends and family are supported.

They are a volunteer based organization and work closely with local agencies such as Home Care, AHS, local churches and service groups. Clients are encouraged to have input in their care and their end of life journey.

In the Fall of 2018, the Red Deer & District Community Foundation was able to grant the Olds & District Hospice Society $6000.00 through our Smart & Caring Community Fund, that went towards the operational expenses of two hospice suites. These suites are offered to their clients free of charge.

The community has been enriched with a caring and cared for social network through the Olds and District Hospice Society that remains connected by responding with love, support and caring together. Individuals who need this service, are enabled to stay in the community where they are a valued resource.

To date, the Olds & District Hospice Society has supported 240 families, almost 40 of which utilized the suites.

On January 22, 2019, over 100 students and community members discussed mental health portrayals in the media and the impact of stigma, then watched three short films from the Art with Impact library. Each of these short films were followed by small and large group discussions. Themes that arose out of these discussions included: the impact of cultural stigmas on young people reaching out for help, how strong audio and visual elements of a short film can help portray the experience of anxiety, as well as some reasons why people may not seek support for their mental illness.

Attendees also discussed actions they could take after watching and engaging with films, such as to be mindful of language and speech awareness that mental health is okay to talk about. Attendees then heard from two Red Deer College students who spoke about their own experiences with a mental illness, followed by a chemistry professor at RDC who shared her journey about navigating her mental health a post secondary and advocating for student health. They also heard from an on-campus counselor as well as someone from the Suicide Information and Education Services.

Through this project, the attendees were given increased awareness of the complexities of mental illness and were shown the importance of reducing internalized stigmas related to mental health.

In the Fall of 2018, the Red Deer & District Community Foundation was able to grant $2500.00 from our Smart & Caring Community Fund towards this worthwhile project.

Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity Red Deer was founded in 1994 and has since built 34 homes in the region. With the help of dedicated donors and volunteers, they continue to increase this number each year. Habitat for Humanity Red Deer Region Society is part of an international, non-profit organization that is dedicated to helping Central Alberta families build better lives through affordable homeownership. They build homes in partnership with qualifying low-income, working families through a no-down-payment, interest-free mortgage program.

An important part of the Habitat organization is the ReStore, which recycles and sells quality building materials at a fraction of the regular retail price. Every item in the ReStore is donated and the net proceeds go towards Habitat Red Deer’s affordable homeownership program and to sustaining their operations.

In the Fall of 2018, the Habitat for Humanity Red Deer Region Society received $8000.00 from the Smart and Caring Community Fund towards implementing a Point of Sale system to enable them to price and track inventory, improve sales data accuracy and transparency, mitigate loss prevention, improve donor reporting and receiving, and ensure continuity of pricing per department.

Habitat also received $3000.00 from the Sylvan Lake Community Endowment Fund towards their Team Build program which encourages groups of volunteers to come out and work at a Habitat Build site for a day. Volunteers committed to a full day assisting with construction tasks at a build site, while learning valuable skills, fostering strong teamwork and a sense of community. This program is the cornerstone of the Habitat home building approach, using people and resources from local communities to help their partner families in the building of their future homes.

The Red Deer & District Community Foundation is a proud partner of such a great organization that contributes to the life and well being of our Central Alberta communities.


Aspire Special Needs Resource Centre is an organization whose mission is to provide hope to children with special needs, the families who love them, and the communities that care for them. Aspire’s core principle, as set by their founding families over 30 years ago, states that “every child should have access to the services he/she requires to reach his/her full potential”.

Aspire offers evidence based diagnostic, assessment and early intervention programs for children with special needs, that are inclusive of family. Assessments include Autism Spectrum Disorder, Cognitive, Behavior, Speech Language, Occupational and or Physical Therapy. Families are a crucial part of the team at Aspire, so they involve them in every step of the development of their child’s individualized plan.

In the Fall of 2018, the Red Deer & District Community Foundation was able to grant Aspire $2000.00 from their Smart & Caring Community Fund, towards the Fee Assistance for Families Program. This program provided financial assistance for families with children who are attending Aspire’s specialized EASE (Early Access to Supportive Education) Preschool Program, the TAC (Trans disciplinary Assessment and Consultation) Program and/or one of the Diagnostic Clinics which are two half-day sessions with a therapy team of Psychologist, Occupational Therapist and speech Language Pathologist.

Through this program, Aspire was able to help 48 families who have children with special needs access necessary diagnostic assessment and intervention services. Parents of children with special needs face no financial barrier when they attend an Aspire program or service. Parents we able to obtain the diagnosis, supports, and subsequent education needed for future success for their children with special needs.


The Red Deer Hospice Society (RDHS) provides residential physical, social, emotional and spiritual care in a community based, home-like setting for individuals who are dying and for their loved ones. They provide comfort care for their residents, and support, education and guidance for their family members of all ages. They do not charge a resident or their family members for any of their care while they’re in the house, or for follow up after their loved one has died. Care is not denied for any reason to a resident who meets their admission criteria.

The Red Deer Hospice Society recognized that dying with dignity and respect is a right of all humans. Individuals facing end of life should have a choice as t the type of care they receive. RDHS recognizes that families are divers and journey with the palliative individual. It is their intent to support not only the palliative client, but their families as well. Their goal is to ensure a resident dies with dignity, enhancing the end of life quality of life. They encourage residents to remain as active in their decision making until the end.

In the Fall of 2018, the Red Deer & District Community Foundation was able to grant $7000.00 from the Smart and Caring Communities Fund towards and upgrade of their call bell system.  This new system provides a method of communication for their palliative residents with related access to their clinical care team.


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.