Change the world with a giving heart. This was the motto of the day on Friday, November 8, as the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation (EOCF) joined over 80 local foundations, organizations and individuals who were recognized for their work in the community at the National Philanthropy Day Awards Luncheon.
Nominated by both the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation and the Edmonton Public Schools Foundation, the EOCF took home honours in both the Health and Education categories.
“We feel that the EOCF truly cares about our community and this has been evident in the many projects and organizations that are supported by the Foundation,” said Wendy Dugas, President & CEO of the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation. “National Philanthropy Day is all about celebrating giving back, and for a charity like ours it is a unique opportunity to express our gratitude and share this acknowledgement among a room full of community leaders and supporters.”
On December 5, 2012, the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital’s new OIL Centre (Oilers Interactive Learning Centre) opened its doors to assist pediatric patients in achieving their rehabilitation goals. The EOCF’s lead gift of $75,000 allowed the centre to become a reality and now offers state-of-the-art technology, including digital touch screens and robots, within a playful, child-oriented environment.
“The ECOF was a real partner in creating this space for our pediatric patients and the involvement from the whole team was such an added benefit,” said Dugas. “It helped us bring unique elements to the space, like the doors that are an exact replica of the Oilers dressing room doors.
“Everybody was invested in making this the best space it could be and it has made a difference to so many of our patients already.”
Also in the business of making a difference in young people’s lives, the Edmonton Public Schools Foundation realized their dream of hosting a full-day kindergarten program at the onset of the 2011 school year.
Thanks to a $300,000, five-year commitment made by the EOCF, the fondly dubbed ‘Oilers Kindergarten’ has provided a space where children who come from vulnerable circumstances can interact with peers and teachers, increase social skills and build literacy.
“They needed to be nominated because they are changing kids’ lives,” said Sandra Woitas, Director of the Edmonton Public Schools Foundation. “Without the EOCF, we would have 60 bean sprouts this year alone not attending full-day kindergarten. Because of the EOCF, kids are getting a hand up in life and they’re going to be ready for the formal requirements of curriculum come Grade 1.”
Based on the tremendous success of the program over the last three years, the Oilers Foundation recently announced their continued partnership with the Edmonton Public Schools Foundation, funding another kindergarten class for the 2013-14 school year.
For a full list of National Philanthropy Day award recipients, please visit www.afpedmonton.ca