“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.
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.
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 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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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)
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)
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.
Sarah Walsh (She/Her)
Administrative Support Coordinator
Sarah joined CVCF in 2022 after a 13-year career in the Comox Valley as an entrepreneur, producing and distributing local fresh pasta and operating a retail storefront. She has led and participated in many local food industry events which fueled her passion for community initiatives and giving back. Sarah enjoys mountain biking, snowboarding, and beach walks with her family and dogs