The Columbia Valley Community Foundation has officially announced the appointment of a new executive director and several new members of its board of directors.
Laurie Klassen is the new executive director, replacing Wendy Rockafellow, who stepped down to pursue a career with the RCMP. Klassen has been working in the private sector since moving to the valley 23 years ago.
“I have worked for a lot of the main economic drivers,” Klassen said. “I have worked in ski, I have worked in golf and I have worked in real-estate.”
Roberta Hall, chair of the foundation, described Klassen as an ideal candidate to takeover leadership for the foundation as it continues to grow.
“Laurie’s experience in project management and stakeholder relations will help the foundation achieve success in growing the endowment funds,” Hall said. “She will be working with community leaders to identify pressing needs and increasing the public presence of the foundation.”
Klassen has previously held volunteer positions with a variety of community organizations, including serving as treasurer for the Invermere and District Curling Centre and as secretary for the local Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce.
“I am excited to continue to contribute to the community and to work with the foundation’s board of directors to build community legacies,” Klassen said.
Along with Klassen, seven new directors were sworn in, replacing three outgoing directors. There are now 11 sitting directors, whereas previously there were only seven.
“We looked at getting people to represent our whole valley from Canal Flats to Spillimacheen,” Hall said. “We tried to select key people in our community that would really help our organization move forward. We are on the cusp of some amazing things.”
Klassen noted that the new directors represent diverse areas of knowledge in the valley, from educators to small business owners. The new directors are Dawn Attorp, Cathy Cowan, Cameron Dow, Katherine Harmsworth, Craig Knapp, Dean Midyette and Barbara Morris.
Moving forward, the foundation’s first major project with its new board of directors is to finalize its student awards. The foundation recently received grants for the awards.
“We are really excited,” Hall said. “By the end of June, all of the awards will be handed out. There will be about $60,000 worth of awards.