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Community Foundation celebrates spirit of giving with Founder’s Day Picnic

Posted on June 8, 2023 by Ryan Dahlman
Commentator/Courier Photo by Anna Smith Picture of the crowd inside the carriage house for the CFSEA Founder’s Day Picnic.

By Anna Smith


The Community Foundation of Southeast Alberta (CFSEA) invited previous donors, recipients, and members of the public to join them for their once a year Founders Day Picnic.

The May 29 event took place in Medicine Hat’s own Carriage House, to take a moment to properly appreciate what the foundation has accomplished not just over the past year, but the past three decades since their founding.

“I am thrilled that you chose to join us this evening in celebration of donors and charities and just to celebrate philanthropy as a whole,” said executive director Niki Gray. “Community Foundation of Southeastern Alberta is a charitable organization that serves the needs of the region by supporting vibrant, healthy and caring communities.”

“What makes us different from other charities is that donations made to the Community Foundation are never spent,” said Gray. “They’re invested and it’s from the investment revenue that we’re able to grant back out to charities across our region. Today, tomorrow and forever.”

The event was attended by officials from the city council, Cypress County, as well as sponsored by Pritchard & Co. Law Firm.

Board Chair Frances Barnes was eager to thank not just those who donated, but the tireless work of the board and CFSEA employees, who made the event and all of their work possible.

“As the chairperson, I cannot get over how hard they work and how much they have helped me in the last two years,” said Barnes. “I want to talk quickly about some of the major things that we’ve done in 2022–2023. The first one was our vital conversation. It was a report and it highlighted the greatest needs; we use that report to focus where we want to give our grant money, so when you fill out an application we try to put that in focus.”

Those needs were identified as mental health, helping those who experience domestic violence, and housing security, which will inform the foundation moving forward this year.

The event also featured comments from various impact speakers who have previously received funding from CFSEA, such as the Miywasin Friendship Centre, Saamis Immigration Centre, and Cycling Without Age.

“I want to think what I love about these gatherings is we have donors sitting with recipients. To hearing impact stories. It actually gives me goosebumps just talking about it. I love the fact that you like our vision, you agree with our vision, you support our vision. And we wouldn’t be here without all of you,” said Barnes.

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