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Three deserving community initiatives to receive $15,000 each from FortisBC

Sep 13, 2022

FortisBC announces organizations from Fernie, Kelowna and Maple Ridge as this year’s Community Giving Award recipients

Surrey, B.C.—September 13, 2022: FortisBC Energy Inc. and FortisBC Inc. (FortisBC) has announced the recipients of three $15,000 Community Giving Awards on the opening day of the 2022 Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) conference in Whistler. The following organizations will receive the funds to help advance the positive work they are doing in their communities: The Bridge Youth & Family Services, Elk River Alliance and Friends in Need Food Bank.

“At FortisBC, we’re passionate about supporting the communities where we live and work,” said Doug Slater, vice-president of external and Indigenous relations, FortisBC. “We’re extremely pleased to provide grant funding for these initiatives and support the outstanding work these organizations are doing to benefit their communities.”

Each year, FortisBC invites local government officials from across the province to nominate a charity or non-profit project for the Community Giving Awards. Consideration is given to projects that promote safety, education, the environment and Indigenous initiatives. This year’s awards will support grassroots initiatives in Kelowna, Fernie and Maple Ridge.

The Bridge Youth & Family Services

The Bridge Youth & Family Services, nominated by Councillor Loyal Wooldridge, City of Kelowna, provides support to children, youth and families in marginalized communities in the Central Okanagan. The $15,000 will help fund the Etcetera Youth Program, which facilitates a space where youth who identify as 2SLGBTQIA+ can come together in a supportive environment to explore identity, create friendships and find resources for mental and physical health.

“Having grown up gay in Kelowna, there’s a dire need to support queer youth so they can be the best they can be in their lives,” said Wooldridge. “They are the future of our communities and empowering them is only going to help make our community stronger.”

“Queer youth often don’t have a space in the world where they feel safe and accepted and are able to be themselves fully and authentically,” said Vesper Parkinson, program coordinator with Bridge Youth & Family Services. “The funding from FortisBC will help us be able to offer our weekly program to support some of our most vulnerable youth.”

Elk River Alliance

Elk River Alliance, nominated by Councillor Troy Nixon, City of Fernie, is a community based water charity that connects people to the Elk River. The funds from FortisBC will be used towards the Elk Valley Cottonwood Project, which aims to improve the value of the terrestrial and aquatic habitats, connect floodplain cottonwood ecosystems and mitigate floods in the area. In addition to benefiting local wildlife, the project will also contribute to tourism in the Elk Valley region.

“This project is important to everyone in the Elk Valley – every human, every animal and every plant,” said Chad Hughes, executive director, Elk River Alliance. “We’re going to see improvements to almost every aspect of the environment for the Elk River and with the funding from FortisBC, we will be able to get started on the ground work right away.”

“The Elk River Alliance is the single loudest voice for the Elk River,” said Nixon. “They are fantastic stewards and have spearheaded numerous great initiatives that continue to benefit our community.”

Friends in Need Food Bank

Friends in Need Food Bank, nominated by Councillor Ahmed Yousef, City of Maple Ridge, delivers food on a weekly basis to schools throughout the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school district. The funding from FortisBC will be used towards their school meal and snack program. The program provides sit-down breakfast, lunch and snacks, giving the students the opportunity to connect with peers, teachers and counselors. As of November 2021, more than 3,000 students benefit from this program on a weekly basis.

“We know that outcomes are far better when kids come to school and have something to eat,” said Evan Seal general manager, Friends in Need Food Bank. “Anything we can do to help get kids in school and continue their education is so important to us.”

“The program is more than just the food, it’s about the connection it brings for the kids to their school and the community,” continued Seal. “We couldn’t do it without support from community partners like FortisBC.”

The annual Community Giving Awards is just one of the ways FortisBC contributes to the communities where its employees work and live. From matching donations to employee giving days, supporting grassroots initiatives in B.C. communities is an integral element of FortisBC culture and its dedication to sustainability.

More information about the recipients and FortisBC’s community investment initiatives is available at


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FortisBC Inc. and FortisBC Energy Inc. do business as FortisBC, a regulated utility focused on providing safe and reliable energy, including natural gas, electricity, Renewable Natural Gas and propane. FortisBC employs approximately 2,630 British Columbians and serves more than 1.2 million customers in 135 B.C. communities. FortisBC owns and operates two liquefied natural gas storage facilities and four regulated hydroelectric generating plants, approximately 7,304 kilometres of transmission and distribution power lines, and approximately 50,493 kilometres of gas transmission and distribution pipelines. FortisBC is indirectly, wholly owned by Fortis Inc., a leader in the North American regulated electric and gas utility industry. FortisBC Inc. and FortisBC Energy Inc. use the FortisBC name and logo under license from Fortis Inc. For further information on FortisBC, visit For further information on Fortis Inc., visit