welcome to launch kelowna
what we do
Financial empowerment changes lives and builds futures
Launch Community Development Foundation (Launch Kelowna) helps people move forward in life by providing them with the financial knowledge, confidence and community support to take the next step towards greater independence and sustainable positive change. Our programs increase participants’ understanding of their personal finances while also helping them to save their money, start a business, embark on post-secondary education or increase their skills in a trade. By providing people with a hand up – not a hand out – we aim to strengthen the independence and resiliency of our participants.
Living pay cheque to pay cheque is hard on people and their families. Getting out of that cycle and creating strong money management habits is even harder. That’s why Launch Kelowna specifically designs its programs to be inclusive, encouraging and supportive.
Whether you’re a single parent, a struggling family or a student, everyone can benefit from better understanding their money and how to budget for a brighter future.
towards local continuing education
towards children’s RESPs
towards tools for work
towards local small businesses
where do the funds come from?
The funds that support our programs come from a number of granting organizations, endowments and generous donations from the community. We work hard to ensure every dollar is maximized to support as many participants as possible.
who we are
The board members of Launch Kelowna are united by a common belief that financial training combined with a “hand up” philosophy to education can change people’s lives for the better. Each member has a passion to work in the community and be a part of the solution to Kelowna’s issue of economic inequality.
CEO of Refresh Financial
Partner, Doak Shirreff LLP
Launch Vice Chair
Lawyer, Farris, Vaughan, Wills & Murphy
CPA, Trident CPA
Executive Director / Lead Pastor - Metro Community
Investment Adviser, Odlum Brown
Consultant, Dot To Dot Philanthropic Consulting
Marketing Business Partner, Valley First
Certified Financial Planner - Peacock Sheridan Group
Educators are the life-blood of Launch Kelowna and we simply could not do it without them.
This role offers a genuine opportunity to teach money management skills and empower others to be more financially independent. The difference between poverty and progress is education and our money management programs deliver the right mix of education and hands-on experience to equip applicants with the knowledge and skills to make better financial decisions for them and their families.
Julie currently co-leads the Dollars and Sense class at Karis Society. We welcome Julie’s expertise and willingness to teach. One of Julie’s particular passions is to see women and youth equipped and empowered to confidently manage their finances. This is just one reason why Julie is great Launch Kelowna volunteer.
Andrew leads our Fall 2016 Matched Savings class. This is the third class he’s taught for Launch Kelowna. We are grateful to have Andrew teach the Matched Savings classes as he brings with him not only a wealth of financial knowledge but real interest in the financial well being of his class participants. Born and raised in the Okanagan, Andrew has a vested interest in the well being of this community. He resides here with his wife Katrina and their four children.
Metro Community, a street level church based in the Okanagan and focused on caring for the most vulnerable in society, has launched a number of social purpose initiatives over the last decade. Possibly one of the most significant and successful initiatives has been Launch Kelowna.
Like most good ideas, Launch Kelowna was birthed over a coffee and a serious conversation between great friends and co-founders Michael Wendland, a local entrepreneur and Metro Community’s lead Pastor, Laurence East.
For Michael, a successful business owner who was passionate about the needs of the vulnerable and the importance of giving back, the question was simple: “How do I add value and help change lives? I’m not sure I have that much in common with a man or woman in a shelter or experiencing homelessness.” Laurence, who worked daily to restore dignity and hope for the marginalised and vulnerable, responded: “Let’s take what you’re passionate about and use it to bring change and affect lives.”
Looking at the needs of those who work but remain in poverty and those who find themselves stuck in the “welfare trap” of dependency led both Michael and Laurence to look more closely at the issue of financial literacy and the glaring absence of any such training in the city.
In Fall 2011 Metro Up and the first matched savings programs were established along with delivery of a licensed curriculum so desperately needed in the community. Both Laurence and Michael remain deeply involved in the work of Launch Kelowna and are proud to be part of this award-winning endeavour.
Michael Wendland and Laurence East
Launch Kelowna Founders
partners and supporters
It takes a community to change the life of a single individual and we sincerely thank our partners and supporters for collaborating with us to create sustainable positive change in our community.
Both programs were enriching. I would recommend the programs to others. I especially liked the accountability built into the Matched Savings program. It helped to teach me new habits with my money. I also feel good knowing I now have savings to put towards furthering my education.
Sabrina*, Dollars & Sense and Matched Savings graduate
I took the Dollars & Sense class more than once! It made me feel like I could do better with my money. I finished feeling more confident in myself.
Debbie*, Dollars & Sense graduate
I would recommend the Matched Savings program to anyone. I appreciated that Launch Kelowna was able to work with me in contributing towards my education when I was ready. As a single mom, I had to wait for the right time to take on the demands of continuing my education. I’m now furthering my education with a program that works for me and my family due to the help and support I received from Launch.
Dawn*, Matched Savings graduate
*names have been changed