From one pair of good hands into another, presidency of the Shuswap Community Foundation has passed from Cindy Derkaz to Karen Angove.
With the foundation since 2007, Angove accepted the presidency because she believes the foundation to be one of the best organizations in existence and an ideal way for people to contribute to the community.
Angove, who took Gary Brooke’s spot on the board, says his return contributes to a strong board. She says she has good feelings about the future, despite having to fill big shoes in the wake of Derkaz’s departure from the board.
“She knows the foundation inside out and I have a lot to learn,” Angove says, calling the hiring of an administrative person one of the best things the board has done. “It gives the board time to get out in the community and do what we’re supposed to – grow the foundation. We take a leadership role in helping non-profits.”
Current board members include Deborah Chapman, Dave Woods, Ralph Segreto, Ted Apted, Joanne Mason, Bryan Kassa, Alice Duck, Marilyn Brown and Doug Adams
While she may be stepping down from the board, Derkaz will be very much a part of the foundation, working with the fund development committee for which she has such passion.
And while she is a founding member and has acted as president for the majority of the close to 20 years the foundation has been in existence, Derkaz is quick to mention others.
“The foundation is all of the people involved, everybody works hard. And we cannot forget those who have gone before us,” she says, remembering late Observer editor Gord Priestman, who was serving his second three-year term with the foundation when he died in 2003. “Any time we give money to any social justice issue or supporting literacy, we attach his name to it.”
Worried about leaving someone out, Derkaz gives kudos to other past presences on the board.
“Denis Marshall, Morrie Morrison, Lois Higgins – she was the grants committee, Marg Shand – she did a great job, she had to step into Gordon’s shoes, Bruce Nyeste, Clyde Tucker – very much a part of the foundation as secretary and president,” she says. “We’ve had an amazing pool of talent, very diverse and they have contributed a huge amount to making the foundation what it is.”
Looking at the foundation’s roots, Derkaz says around 1992 Tom Brighouse, who was then on Salmon Arm council, attended a Union of British Columbia Municipalities conference where he heard a presentation by Community Foundations of Canada, the Shuswap foundation’s umbrella group.
“Tom came back to Mayor Don Rogers and said ‘here’s something that might work in our area,’ and council provided a $2,000 start-up grant and Mayor Rogers wrote a letter to people he thought might be interested in the idea,” she says, noting her involvement began when Brooke called her and said, “Derkaz, this is what you’re always going on about…”
Brighouse chaired the original committee, which met in members’ homes and on the campus of Okanagan College, and, after all start-up costs, there was about $200 remaining to move the foundation forward.
The committee launched a founder’s fund, sending letters out to about 150 people who members thought might put up $1,000 to become a founder of the foundation.
“I think we were somewhat astonished when we saw we had $70,000 from our community,” Derkaz says. “That really was the impetus, because then we could start giving out grants, with the first one going out in 1997.”
In the early years the committee questioned whether the foundation would get enough support to reach the critical mass to carry on. Now, she notes that has been proven, something that is a credit to the entire Shuswap area the foundation is funded by and serves.
“In January, our capital fund had just gone over $4 million,” she says. “That’s why I feel so good stepping down; it’s on a roll, it’s a presence, it’s here forever, and the foundation is in great hands with Karen Angove as president and a really strong board.”