The Red Deer & District Community Foundation (RDDCF) has made the difficult decision to discontinue the Women of Excellence Program, including the Women of Excellence Gala.

The Board of Directors was forced to re-evaluate the viability of the Women of Excellence Gala in the face of COVID-19 and the resulting disruptions and changes. After collecting feedback from the community and evaluating the financial realities of a gala of this size, the Board of Directors have decided to suspend the program indefinitely.

“We are so proud of the way that the Women of Excellence Gala has shone a spotlight on so many outstanding women doing incredible work here in our community,” said Krista Nymark VandenBrink, RDDCF Board Chair. “We are grateful to our sponsors for their dedication to this event, and to the community for contributing to 13 successful years of honouring the achievements of local women.”

Since its inception in 2007, the Women of Excellence Gala has celebrated over 400 women in Central Alberta.

“The caliber of women that we have celebrated with the Women of Excellence Gala has been truly spectacular. It’s been an honour to share their stories, and to recognize women who are passionate, innovative, resilient, and care so deeply about their community,” said Erin Peden, RDDCF Executive Director.

This legacy of supporting women in Central Alberta will continue with the Community Foundation’s Women & Girls Fund. Starting in 2022, this fund will grant $5,000 annually to support local projects and agencies focusing on improving the lives of women and girls. This fund will open to applications in early July, with grants to be announced in October.

The Community Foundation also continues the spirit of Women of Excellence through recently implemented internal changes focused on equity. To demonstrate this, the Community Foundation has committed to Gender Lens Investment strategies as well institutional policy changes that strive to enhance gender equity within our organization.