The Community Foundation of Lethbridge and Southwestern Alberta gives its first grant of its anniversary year.
Volunteers and staff members from the Fort Macleod Kids First Family Centre (KFFC) and the Livingstone Range School Division joined representatives from the Community Foundation of Lethbridge and Southwestern Alberta to receive a significant donation to the community’s Kids First Family Centre.
The $50,000 investment from the Community Foundation – the first grant of its 50th anniversary year – will trigger a series of matching funds from other sources that will assist the Kids First Family Centre with its fundraising goals, and could help them generate up to $250,000 in additional funds which will be directed toward the Centre’s estimated $1.7 million cost.
“In business terms, we are ‘angel investors’ for the common good,” said Community Foundation President Dennis Hatt. “Kids First has done an admirable job of serving the community with limited resources and, to date, no real home base. We are very pleased to help them with this gift, and even more pleased to know that, with the matching funds, it could be quadrupled in size.”
Kids First spokesperson and volunteer Niesje Vanden Dool said the funding comes at a critical time for the organization as they near completion on the building. “For the first time, we have a tangible home to show people, and a permanent place for people to attend most of our programs. That alone is a huge success. More than that, though, is that with our new facility we can reach even more people in this area. Our families come in all shapes and sizes, and we’ve got programming that is already reaching thousands of people. We can now reach thousands more.”
In addition to operating more than 15 regularly-scheduled programs that include parent engagement, parent education and food related programs, the organization has embarked on a unique partnership with researchers at the University of Calgary to help them study how added supports might impact first-time parents. They also recently began a series of informal parent discussion groups at the community skating rink – going to people instead of making people come to them.
“Our staff group is always thinking outside the box to find new families to join our programs,” Vanden Dool said. “They, and our volunteers, have been doing this for more than a decade, and it is gratifying to see all that hard work manifest itself in this new facility.”
The 3,200 sq. ft. Kids First Family Centre is currently under construction and scheduled for occupancy in September 2016. It consists of multi-purpose community rooms, a teaching kitchen and meeting spaces. The building, designed by Lethbridge-based FWBA Architects (formerly Ferrari Westwood Babits Architects) is attached to the Livingstone Range School Division’s W. A. Day Elementary School, which is also undergoing a complete modernization.