About Us

“The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.” Coretta Scott King

From its beginnings in 1996 the Comox Valley Community Foundation has grown to be one of the most important contributors to quality of life in the Valley. The Foundation has granted millions of dollars in funding to hundreds of organizations whose purpose is to enhance the overall wellbeing of our community.

As the demands of life in the Comox Valley have changed, so has the Comox Valley Community Foundation. Through the unwavering generosity of donors the Foundation continues to provide vital support to a wide spectrum of charities which in turn lift our community.

We have done so much… We have so much more to do.

Comox Valley Child Development Association

Our Mission:

The Comox Valley Community Foundation works with generous donors and supporters from all corners of our community to build a lasting legacy and enrich life in the Comox Valley forever.

Our History

The Comox Valley Community Foundation was founded in 1996 with founding directors: Stan Hagen, Dr. Robert Clarke, Judith Harder, Pat Brandon, Arthur Meyers, Bill Burns, Marc L. Paradis, Peggy Carswell, Murray Presley, Peter Doherty, Richard Swift, Marie Gordon, Dick Graham, Maudie Hobson, April Shopland, Norm Leung and Liz Phillipson.

Established with an initial capital gift of $10,700 and a $10,000 matching contribution from Vancouver Foundation, the Foundation now holds $15 million in assets on behalf of all residents of the Comox Valley and directs our resources to address the ever-changing needs and priorities of our community. To date, we have returned more than $5 million to the community in grants, scholarships and bursaries.

The success of the Comox Valley Community Foundation is attributed to the committed community members who have volunteered their time, professional expertise and passion for creating a smart and caring Comox Valley.

As an endowment-based foundation, the CVCF ensures the long-term vitality of the community by investing funds in perpetuity and using revenue generated to support charitable organizations and other qualified donees (as defined by the Canada Revenue Agency).

Meet our Board of Directors

Members of the Board represent our community, offering their diverse perspectives and extensive knowledge to ensure the effective governance of the Foundation.

Christine Helpard – President

In addition to her role as CVCF president, Christine spends much of her time in a volunteer capacity in the Special Needs community. She is a current board member for the Child Development Agency, Special Olympics and the Vancouver Island Society for Adaptive Snowsports (VISAS). She teaches Nordic skiing with VISAS as well as coaches swimming and powerlifting with Special Olympics.

More About Christine

Born and raised in the Comox Valley, she attended the University of Alberta receiving a Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy. Christine then practiced as a Physical Therapist for four years in the Canadian Air Force, before obtaining her MBA with a major in Finance at the University of Iowa. She returned to the Comox Valley with her husband, Paul, to help him set up and manage his orthodontic practice.

Ashley Hawker – Vice President

Ashley is a motivated and value-driven professional and outdoor enthusiast who loves living in the Comox Valley. She has a keen interest in promoting community-based programs and building cross-organizational relations within her community. 

More About Ashley

As a member of the Board of Directors for CVCF Ashley contributes to her community in a meaningful way and works towards strengthening the resiliency and health of all residents of the Comox Valley.

Ashley’s previous volunteer contributions include Alberni Clayoquot Regional District Director for the Board of the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust, Area ‘C’ Representative for the ACRD Advisory Planning Commission, Staff Liaison for the Tofino Housing Corporation and CUPE 556 Shop Steward.

Summer Matthews – Treasurer

Summer is a Chartered Professional Accountant who received her Bachelor of Business Administration from Simon Fraser University. She then articled with Grant Thornton Chartered Accountants in Vancouver earning her CA designation in 2008.

More About Summer

Summer and Cam live in Cumberland with their two young daughters. Summer enjoys racing down Mt. Washington on her snowboard, hiking the trails in Cumberland, biking around town with her family and spending time with family and friends.

Rob Wolfe – Secretary

Rob is actively involved in the community. He serves on the Boards of Comox Valley Community Foundation and Comox Valley Transition Society. He is a past President of the Rotary Club of Courtenay and a past President of the Comox Valley Aquatic Club. 

More About Rob

Rob’s commitment to the investment business led him to Odlum Brown, attracted by its independence, solid long-term track record, and reputation in the industry that is second to none.

He started his career in 1978 specializing in estate and retirement planning and in 1994, was promoted to Office Manager with a staff of 25 at the London, U.K. branch. In 2001, Rob took on a new challenge and joined a small team in central London to launch a pension company, which became a great success within five years. In the U.K., Rob was highly qualified in his field and achieved “chartered status.”

Matt Beckett

Matt started his career with Coastal Community in 2004 and joined the wealth management team shortly after. He is now a Private Wealth Advisor where his expertise lies in financial planning with personal and business clients.

More About Matt

Matt has many achievements that include being nominated for the Top 40 Under 40 by the Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce in 2012 and awarded Vancouver Island’s Top 20 under 40 in 2016 for business accomplishment and community leadership. In 2016, Credential Financial recognized him as one of 30 top advisors in Canada.

Matt grew up on the island and enjoys golf and fishing. He explores everything the island has to offer such as hiking, snow sports, and camping with his wife, and their two daughters.

Frank Denton

A long time resident of the Comox Valley, Frank Denton has had a 33-year career with McElhanney, focused on transportation and municipal engineering, culminating as a senior vice-president. He retired in 2008, but remains active with the company, on a part-time basis, as chair of its holding company board.

More About Frank

His previous volunteer contributions include executive roles with the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC (President 2010/11), the Comox Bay Sailing Club (Treasurer 1996 to 2015, Commodore 1987, 1990 and 2016) and the Courtenay Rotary Club (President 1996/97).

Jeff Lucas

With a BA from the University of Western Ontario, he moved west and chose to work in the hospitality and beverage industry. He spent 12 years in the role of Labatt Breweries Sales Manager and is in his 10th year as Cascadia Liquor Store General Manager. He brings energy and excitement to the table and challenges others to think outside of the box to develop the most creative solutions possible. 

More About Jeff

Jeff is past President of the Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce; he’s a member of the Comox Valley Rotary Club and has served as a mentor for the North Island College Business Program.

You will often find Jeff paddle-boarding, road or trail biking, river and mountain exploring or snowshoeing and snowboarding. Jeff’s positive, let’s get it done attitude coupled with his easy team leadership skills make him an asset to this progressive board.

Jeff has immensely enjoyed his 22 years of living in the Comox Valley and by being a part of this growing community has been exposed to the many diverse needs of its members.

Craig Rennison

Craig Rennison is a fifth generation Comox Valley resident and second generation CVCF Board member, following the example of his mother Audrey Craig, a CVCF Past President.

A Commercial Broker at Waypoint Insurance, Craig is also actively involved with the Rotary Club of Courtenay, recently concluding his term as President in June 2021.

Colin Sauer

Colin Sauer was born in the Comox Valley and grew up in Kelowna, BC. He is an accomplished executive with significant expertise in all areas of business and non-profit management. A strong communicator and strategic leader, Colin has built a reputation for empathetic listening, effective mentoring, and unwavering commitment to the organizations he serves. 

More About Colin

He operates his business-focused consultancy – Colin Sauer Consulting, as well as his non-profit focused consultancy – The Governance Group. Colin clearly understands the value of community and he has contributed in a variety of ways to the communities in which he’s lived. He is a past secretary and board member of the Fanny Bay Community Association, past President of Business Network International, and contributes to select activities in the Ship’s Point Improvement District.

Russell Tibbles

Russell believes strongly in the Comox Valley. He and his wife moved here in 2004, seeking a smaller town to raise their two children. Russell enjoys all that the Valley has to offer including alpine skiing, mountain biking, hockey and boating. Community development – social, environmental and economic – has always been an integral part of Russell’s real estate development business activities.

More About Russell

Russell’s 25+ years of experience includes senior positions with Intrawest Corporation and Bentall Kennedy LP, where he managed a range of complex development projects, transactions and public consultation/approval processes. Russell is currently president of Island Places Property Corporation.

Penny Chase

Penny Chase recently moved back to the Comox Valley and initially became involved with CVCF by participating in the grants review process in the fall of 2021. She is Inuvialuit and was born and raised in the Northwest Territories. She holds a B.F.A. in Painting from the Alberta University of the Arts in Calgary. 

More About Penny

Penny has extensive experience working in the for-impact sector, having led a large senior’s organization in Calgary. She initially reached out to CVCF as she was interested in finding ways to both become an active, contributing member of the Comox Valley community, and invest volunteer time to help address the needs of the community.

Judith Marriott

Judith Marriott is a Chartered Professional Accountant and has taught at North Island College in the School of Business for many years. Effective July 1, 2022, she was appointed as Chair of the School of Business and is also the Chair of the Planning and Standards Committee at North Island College. Judith believes strongly in giving back to the community. 


More About Judith

Judith is a Past President and active member of the Rotary Club of Courtenay and currently serves as the District Secretary for District 5020 Rotary International. In addition, she is the Treasurer of the Comox Valley Community Justice Centre.

Meet our Staff

Our staff bring a wealth of experience in managing charitable and community-focused organizations to their roles with the Foundation, and work to ensure that both donors and local organizations are supported and have the information and resources needed with which to make decisions and take action.

Susan Auchterlonie (She/Her)
Executive Director

Susan joined the Comox Valley Community Foundation in June 2019, after 25 years working in post-secondary education in both Alberta and BC, including 11 years with North Island College. Born and raised in Cumberland, Susan returned home in 2005 to raise her own family.

She is delighted to be working with CVCF to serve this wonderful community. She enjoys spending time outside of work with her family and dog, traveling and gardening.

Miriam Myers (She/Her)
Finance Manager

Miriam moved to the Comox Valley in 2017 and joined Comox Valley Community Foundation in December of 2018. She previously lived in Saskatchewan where she worked in finance and human resources with a variety of organizations including public sector, aerospace, property development and banking.

Working with the CVCF provides Miriam with opportunities to learn more about the community and to experience the fulfilling nature of philanthropy/granting.

Sigourney Brown (She/Her)
Community Engagement Manager

Sigourney joined the Comox Valley Community Foundation in early 2018 after moving to the Comox Valley with her husband and dog.

Sigourney wears several hats for CVCF and enjoys the constantly changing environment. Sigourney is passionate about giving back to her community and enjoys supporting CVCF’s grants programs including the Community Enrichment Grants and Neighbourhood Small Grants.

Jolean Finnerty (She/Her)
Donor Engagement Manager

With 25 years experience as a public relations and communications professional, in the Comox Valley and beyond, Jolean loves connecting people, helping causes, and elevating community needs through CVCF. Outside of the Foundation and raising her own two fantastic kids, Jolean likes to escape with friends and her devoted King Charles spaniel for adventures in the Comox Valley outdoors.

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