How wonderful it was to be affiliated to Semiahmoo House Society (SHS), an organization whose great contributions generated amplitude of positive feedback from our community, thereby facilitating our work in creating awareness, marketing and fundraising.
While, we, at The Semiahmoo Foundation (TSF), purposely networked to expand our constituency, we were grateful for the connections that were made by Board members, staff, families and individuals. This web of connections was powerful and critical to the sustainability of a charitable foundation, and we had many examples this year how this linkage resulted in building new relationships and producing tangible results.
Additionally, we found it rewarding to witness dreams becoming reality for the 21 people who always wanted to live independently and were able to accomplish their goals with support as needed. It was heart-warming to see them walk across the street to go shopping or catch a bus to access their chosen destination, either on their own or as part of a group. Many formed a bond, allowing them to break their prior isolation and get a sense of belonging to the community in a safe and enjoyable manner.
Our Ambassador, Larry Shareski, continued to work his magic networking and connecting with members of the community. His fearless talents, including jumping on stage to assist the MC during events, were truly remarkable and contributed greatly to TSF. Our Event Planner, Deena Safi, demonstrated relentless energy as she courageously embarked on a year of change by bringing the date of the Golf Tournament forward in the early summer which, in spite of the continual rain, was a success; and by producing the newly created Gala of Shooting Stars in October and delivering results that exceeded all of our expectations. Miriam Castro, Administrative Coordinator (Temporary), worked hard at developing stewardship with donors, contributing to our social media presence and participating in event planning. She was missed as she returned to her work of Community Support Worker at SHS after fulfilling one year of secondment to TSF. After a talent search, we recruited Renee Blake to fill the vacancy and, after only a few months in the role, her abilities, creativity and good nature were already shining through. These team members had demanding jobs, and they approached their daily challenges with absolute professionalism. It was truly a privilege to work with them.
All of our team members engaged in community activities in one way or another. At the Impact West Summit, we joined leaders of other charitable organizations to share our respective experiences about fundraising and learn from each other. We attended a few events organized by our local politicians, including Diane Watt’s Garden Party and the MLA Christmas Party hosted by Tracy Reddies, Marvin Hunt and Stephanie Cadieux, where we connected, in a non-
partisan way, with many community leaders that shared the same interest in keeping the community vibrant. We contributed to YELL Canada (Young Entrepreneur Leadership Launchpad) by accepting their invitation to speak and empower the next generation of entrepreneurs. We attended events organized by the Surrey Board of Trade and the Surrey White Rock Chamber of Commerce, including Surrey Business Excellence Awards, Surrey Women in Business Award, Surrey Innovation Awards, Christmas Sizzle, Taste of the Peninsula, General Annual Meeting and New Member Induction. We were honoured to join the Self-Advocates of Semiahmoo (SAS) at the Surrey Cares Grant Awards and be with them as they thanked the Surrey Cares Foundation for funding their project, Chalk-Talk.
We were present at the Drishti Awards and expanded our reach into the South Asian community. We were also on Dreamzz Radio to promote the Gala of Shooting Stars, where we took the opportunity to talk about people with disabilities who wanted to live independently, the success of the Chorus model and the need for additional inclusive and affordable housing.
We registered to fundraising events organized by other charities, such as the Peace Arch Foundation and Peace Arch Hospice Society, to observe and learn about various fundraising practices.
As we feel it is important to recognize the work of individuals and organizations and their role in creating safe and inclusive communities, we submitted the following nominations. Paulina Weslowski, a member of our staff, to the BC Community Social Services Awards of Excellence; Christine Collision, a long-time volunteer, to the Fraser Valley Community Awards; Sue McIntosh of Seniors Come Share and Heather Martin of Comfort Keepers to the Surrey Women in Business Awards; UNITI to the Surrey Innovation Awards, Seniors Come Share Society to the Surrey Business Excellence Awards and Comfort Keepers to the South Surrey White Rock Business Excellence Awards. Paulina and Christine received awards and Sue McIntosh was a finalist. UNITI and Seniors Come Share were finalists and Comfort Keepers received an award.
We also participated on various community committees such as Seniors Health Network, RCMP Community meetings, and Semiahmoo Seniors Planning Table. These partnerships gave us the opportunity to be present and create awareness at community events, including For the Health of It and Community Resources Pop-up.
Awareness Creating and Appreciation Events
Business to Business: On September 21, 2017, we held our annual Business to Business Networking event in collaboration with the Surrey Board of Trade and the South Surrey White Rock Chamber of Commerce. Over 120 people attended.
Food for Thought: We organized the Food For Thought Dinner hosted by the Board of Directors on April 12, 2017. The focus was on employers and the importance of employment for people with disabilities. Sixty people attended.
Donor Recognition: We recognized our donors on March 8, 2018 at a party themed Diamonds and Denim, which was enjoyed by over 70 people.
SHS & IG Annual Golf Tournament: The event took place on June 19, 2017 at Morgan Creek Golf Course and raised over $21,000 for Recreation and Leisure Services. Although the event was nearly sold out, attendance declined due to the rainy weather.
A Taste of BC’s Finest Gala of Shooting Stars: After taking one-year hiatus to re-assess the event, A Taste of BC’s Finest was transformed into a gala format with a larger focus on fundraising, while preserving a component of tasting samples of wine and food at the beginning of the night. To attract a wider audience, the purpose was changed to benefit Inclusive and Affordable Housing, a cause that touches many people in the community. The gala generated in nearly $100,000 in proceeds which were designated to the Ankenman Associates Architects Endowment Fund.
Milestones Grand Opening: Milestones Restaurant in South Pointe celebrated its re-grand opening, after closing down for months to perform major renovations, by organizing a fundraiser that benefited The Semiahmoo Foundation, resulting in a gift of over $5600 which was designated to the Independence Endowment Fund.
Peace Portal Alliance Church selected Semiahmoo House Society as a beneficiary of their fundraising efforts and presented us with a gift of $10,500 that was to be designated to the Independence Endowment Fund.
We entered into agreements to initiate two newly created Endowment Funds. These funds are securely invested for steady growth and are deployed according to the specific instructions of the donor.
Ankenman Associates Architects Endowment Fund was created to support UNITI and contribute to funding for affordable and inclusive housing.
The Independence Endowment Fund was purposed to provide rent subsidies to people with developmental disabilities and people with mental health challenges who want to live independently and who cannot afford rent.
Previously established Endowment Funds included:
Dragonfly Endowment Fund: to provide registration funding to families who might not otherwise be able to utilize the Recreation and Leisure program due to financial constraints.
Legacy Endowment Fund: to support program operating costs and the most needed unfunded program.
SHS Employee Endowment Fund: to support the purposes of the SHS’s General program and/or the area of most urgent need.
Tennant Baranszky-Job Fine Arts Endowment Fund: to support the purposes of the SHS’s Recreation and Leisure program and to specifically support its fine arts activities.
Wheeler/Soucy Endowment Fund: to support the SHS’s Recreation and Leisure program, primarily.
Semiahmoo House Society had over 140 members in good standing, including corporations, families and individuals.
As part of our marketing efforts, we participated in the development of brand and communications strategy for UNITI and WISE. We reserved domains and created websites for UNITI, Peninsula Estates Housing Society and WISE. As the societies we support grew, it was important to preserve the integrity of the various brands as these represented what they were in the community.
We recognized and appreciated all contributions from volunteers, Board members, staff, corporations, families, individuals and all other constituents who collaborated to achieve our objectives and ensuring a sustainable future for Semiahmoo House Society.
Louise Tremblay, Director, Development The Semiahmoo Foundation