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.

Craig Rennison – Vice President

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.

More About Craig

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.

Judith Marriott – Treasurer

Judith Marriott is a Chartered Professional Accountant and has taught at North Island College in the School of Business for many years.

More About Judith

Effective July 1, 2022, Judith was appointed as Chair of the School of Business and is also the Chair of the Planning and Standards Committee at North Island College. She believes strongly in giving back to the community. 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.

Russell Tibbles – Secretary

Russell and his wife moved here in 2004, seeking a smaller town to raise their two children. He believes strongly in the Comox Valley and all that it has to offer.

More About Russell

Russell spends his spare time enjoying the Valley’s many recreational offerings 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. His 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.

Rob Wolfe

Rob is actively involved in the community and serves on the Boards of Comox Valley Community Foundation and Comox Valley Transition Society.

More About Rob

Rob is a past President of the Rotary Club of Courtenay and a past President of the Comox Valley Aquatic Club. His 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.

Rob 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.”

Ashley Hawker

Ashley is a motivated, value-driven professional and outdoor enthusiast who loves living in the Comox Valley.

More About Ashley

Ashley has a keen interest in promoting community-based programs and building cross-organizational relations within her community. As a member of the Board of Directors for CVCF she 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.

Judy Moore

Write-up coming soon.

Jen Wrye

 Write-up coming soon.

Kathryn Pearson

Write-up coming soon.

Selen Tiryakioglu

Write-up coming soon.

Judy Village

Write-up coming soon.

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.

Jolean Finnerty (She/Her)
Executive Director

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.

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.

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

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