Natalie Minckler, Executive Director of the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation (EOCF), shares her insight on the 2014-15 season funding after announcing that the Oilers Foundation invested $3.1 million towards community initiatives across Oil Country
. Hear about what’s ahead for the EOCF and how positive communities are a team effort.
1)With a strong donation season on record for 2014-15 with over $3.1 million invested in over 163 charitable groups and 15 minor hockey and ringette programs in Oil Country, what’s next for the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation?
The EOCF is able to contribute financially to a number of charitable groups because we receive tremendous support from the community. We have been able to make a strong connection with our fans and with people across Oil Country because I believe they see our work in action and they see us literally changing people’s lives for the better— $3.1 million is an amazing number, it is the culmination of a lot of hard work by our staff and volunteers, but more important it is a result of the generosity that exists in our community. We want to set the bar even higher this year, as there are so many people in need and worthy causes to support. We really believe in our core that helping young people succeed is the most effective way to influence the community in a positive way.
The Oilers Foundation is able to raise money through a variety of special events, including 50/50, in-game fundraisers for the community to get involved in. Looking ahead, this fall to September 14, 2015 the EOCF is hosting its first ever Edmonton Oilers Charity Golf Tournament at Blackhawk Golf Club. We are thrilled to have the entire hockey team participating, which is not a surprise, because we receive tremendous support from our players. The money raised from this tournament will be re-invested back into our community to help continue the strong work our Foundation does here in Oil Country.
We anticipate another busy season with plenty of fundraising opportunities and of course our Foundation has a very dedicated volunteer Board of Directors who work really hard to set the strategic direction and guide the Foundation in everything that we do. They’re all community leaders from diverse backgrounds who care about leaving a lasting positive impact. They give their talent and time to the EOCF and we are grateful for it. We wouldn’t be nearly as successful without them and we’re very fortunate to have such a committed team to assist with our efforts. We’re certainly excited for the year ahead!
2)With legacy projects coming to fruition in 2014-15 like the Abbottsfield Recreation Centre and the Edmonton Oilers Ambulatory Clinic at the Stollery Children’s Hospital, how will these initiatives help shape our community?
The Oilers Foundation is all about helping organizations build on what they do best and giving them the means allows them to do even more good work – whether it’s giving access to sport for those kids who can’t afford it, to creating safe and successful learning environments for at-risk youth, to providing leading edge medical services to children, there are so many good examples. If we use the Edmonton Oilers Ambulatory Clinic at the Stollery as an example, they receive visits from 170,000 children annually from Western Canada. Having this new Ambulatory Clinic in place, makes access to doctors, nurses and medical expertise much easier and all in one place, so it’s a perfect example of how an EOCF investment can pay immediate dividends in the community. This is our goal for a range of charitable organizations in Oil Country moving forward.
Our hope is that we can keep growing our funding in order to make investments for other legacy projects in Oil Country and our board is always looking for new projects to invest in.
Currently there are five legacy projects funded by the Oilers Foundation, including Inner City High School, Abbottsfield Recreation Centre, the Edmonton Oilers Ambulatory Clinic at the Stollery Children’s Hospital, the EOCF Hospitality Institute at NorQuest College and three outdoor community rinks (Beacon Heights, Beverly Heights and McCauley Rink).
3)The EOCF’s mandate to support education and health and wellness for youth is focused on eradicating social issues and finding long-term solutions in our community. How does this positively impact various charitable groups in Northern Alberta?
I think any time that you can be involved in changing the community for the better you know you are doing good work. And when you can take the passion of Oilers fans and channel that into investment into some of the most worthy initiatives and programs in our community you have hit the sweet spot., We have a lot of young people here – our province is extremely young and the Mayor’s task force to end poverty is just one of those initiatives that we can all get on board and support. As community leaders, if we all do our part in helping to find solutions for social problems, then it’s definitely beneficial for everyone and the impact will be positive not only in Edmonton, but across Northern Alberta and beyond.
So, at the EOCF we will continue to cheer for our Oilers and a force for positive change, a win-win for everyone!