LOOKING FORWARD- Janice Wing

Community leader Janice Wing — doing what needs to be done

Dedicated local citizen describes her passion for work and community

In every community there are people who get things done. These people, like Janice Wing, provide the leadership and support that a community needs to grow and develop.

Wing was born in Calgary, and the married mother of three grown children has resided in Innisfail since the mid 1980s.

Her community involvement and development as a community leader began, as it often does with women with a family, by volunteering at the Innisfail school her children attended.

It wasn’t long before she was the school’s business manager. Before that she picked up a diploma in geology at the University of Alberta and SAIT and worked in the oil and gas industry.

Now she is chief executive officer of the Red Deer & District Community Foundation, started in 1989 (Mayor Morris Flewwelling was a major force in its formation). Wing became a board member in 1997 and CEO in 2001.

“We’re a centre for philanthropy, and it’s a lot more than just writing a cheque. We are not a government foundation, we are a public foundation to build capacity for growth through endowments,” she explains. “Working with donors we set up permanent funds (legacy funds that survive in perpetuity), but also non-permanent funds where donors can direct grants to a huge range of projects in the community.”

In its early days the Foundation’s first projects included making every playground in Red Deer wheelchair accessible or providing then very expensive computer technology to community organizations.

“Now we’ve become more strategic, addressing what an organization needs for professional development, although we still do lots of straight grants, funding events like Open Doors and bringing in professional development. We especially respond to new needs in the community.”

The Foundation, which invests and grows the millions of dollars it manages, contributes between $300,000 and $350,000 into community projects annually in arts and culture, environment, sports and recreation and other areas. It doesn’t fund individuals (although it does fund scholarships), but funds projects through registered charities or organized bodies, like the Red Deer Public Library.

“Because we are able to focus on the whole community, we realize the whole community relies on each other for support.”

Wing says she is so passionate and positive about the Foundation “Because I live in the whole community and so do all of us. We are so lucky to live in a country and a community like this where things like growth and sustainability are so important to us.

“I love my job, I love the organization, I love the potential of the Foundation. In a perfect world I would continue to see it grow. It’s exciting. We get to work with philanthropic people, who have great knowledge and we get to translate that into action. We have a lot of amazing people in Red Deer.

“One of the benefits of working in the community foundation world and being able to work with a broad range of agencies, when I get together with my colleagues across Canada and internationally, is that you learn communities are identical. You also learn that people who live in communities want the best for their children, for the next generation and to create a place that they call home.

“Red Deer is unique and our history has caused us to be unique because we have people here who are very passionate about ensuring there is care and equity for folks. We have strong and open lines of communication and we work hard at it. It doesn’t happen by accident.”

She also holds a variety of volunteer positions, including chair of the board of governors of Red Deer College over the last year (she’s been on the board for seven years) and she sits on the community services panel in Innisfail.

“I would never ask someone to do something I wouldn’t do myself. I’m also not afraid to roll up my sleeves to get things done and I’m lucky to live in a place where I’m not the only one who feels that way,” she says.

“Some of us are silly enough to keep putting our hand up when something needs to be done.”

acryderman@reddeerexpress.com

Just Posted

Dan Davidson up for five ACMA Awards

Davidson will head to Red Deer with Brett Kissel in the New Year

Blackfalds RCMP respond to serious collision

Car collides with moose, driver suffers life threatening injuries

RCMP offer crime prevention tips for the holiday season

Red Deer RCMP give tips so holidays aren’t marred by theft or damage

Sagmoen neighbours recall alleged hammer attack

Woman was screaming outside Maple Ridge townhouse in 2013

Local family donates series of books to University of Lethbridge

Presentation recently made at the Dr. Dorothy Lampard Reading Room official opening

Troubled Monk releases new spirit

Troubled Spirit vodka was introduced in early December

Firefighter dies, thousands more take on California blaze

This is second death linked to the Thomas fire, northwest of Los Angeles

FCC votes along party lines to end ‘net neutrality’

Move rolls back restrictions that keep big providers from blocking services they don’t like

Truck driver volunteers to take dog lost in B.C. back home to Alberta

Frankie, a pit bull service dog, was found wandering in the Lower Mainland

Disney buying part of 21st Century Fox in $52.4B deal

Disney is buying a large part of the Murdoch family’s 21st Century Fox for about $52.4 billion

Bountiful polygamist believed he couldn’t be prosecuted: lawyer

Winston Blackmore’s lawyer says Blackmore did not believe he could be prosecuted

Woman charged after altercation injured baby in Toronto

Charges have been laid after a four-month-old baby girl was critically injured in Toronto

Ottawa Senators forward Chris Neil announces retirement

Veteran Ottawa Senators forward Chris Neil spent 15 seasons with the NHL team

Trudeau’s office confirms staffer being probed over allegations

PMO confirms staffer being probed over allegations of reported “inappropriate behaviour.”

Most Read