Many or our community’s citizens face incredible challenges, especially our youth and our seniors. The challenge for our youth is getting the education necessary to become productive citizens. The challenge for our seniors is quality of life. The mission of the Gary Bennett Family Fund in the Central Okanagan Foundation is to assist our community’s youth who face many challenges to grow and mature as committed, knowledgeable and contributing Canadian citizens and for our needy seniors to improve their quality of life.
The Central Okanagan Foundation is a public foundation and as a community foundation is dedicated to improving the life for residents in the Central Okanagan. They do this by pooling the charitable gifts of donors to create endowment funds and using the investment income to make grants.
The word ‘Family’ in the fund’s title should be used literally and figuratively. In a literal sense, the fund was set up by Gary Bennett and his family; however, the term family should also be used figuratively to include all of those who have contributed to the fund to support our community.
Gary and Maureen Bennett have deep roots in our community. Gary’s grandfather arrived in Kelowna in 1910 from Scotland with their first child, a newborn male, Gary’s father. Gary was born in Kelowna and spent his formative years here. He later moved to the lower mainland where he completed two degrees at UBC Vancouver and spent his career in the area.
They have been married for forty-two years and have one daughter Candace who lives in the area. Gary, Maureen and Candace feel fortunate to be living in Kelowna, and while they are very active volunteers, the Gary Bennett Family Fund provides them with an opportunity to ‘give back’ to our community now and in the future.