KELOWNA– Five Kelowna organizations have each been awarded a $2,480 multiculturalism grant to promote British Columbia’s rich multicultural heritage, and nurture empathy and inclusion.

The recipients and projects include:

  • Kelowna Visual & Performing Arts Centre Society: the grant will help the society host a public consultation process called Dream Lab, bringing together various arts and culture groups.
  • Centre Culturel Francophone De L’Okanagan: the grant will support Maple Fest, a cultural event that shares traditional elements that are important to Francophones in the Okanagan.
  • Okanagan Korean Culture and Knowledge Society (OKCK): the grant will support the film ‘Immigrating to Okanagan: Raising Awareness about Racism Through Documentary.’
  • Kelowna Community Resources Society: the grant will assist with ‘Breaking Down Barriers’ Community Forums to help the community understand the social and economic impacts of immigration in the Central Okanagan.
  • Kelowna Canadian Italian Club: the grant will support the Kelowna Canadian Italian Club’s 50th anniversary gala event weekend.

“These are small grants that make a big impact—fostering a sense of belonging and understanding in our communities,” says Norm Letnick, MLA for Kelowna-Lake Country. “As a bilingual British Columbian myself, I particularly look forward to Maple Fest and take pride in the cultural traditions celebrated at this event.”

“Community organizations have the ability to nurture B.C.’s diversity and make our society stronger,” says Steve Thomson, MLA for Kelowna-Mission. “That’s why I am proud of these Kelowna organizations and the work they do to promote empathy and understanding in our community.”

“B.C. was built with the hands of various cultures, traditions and backgrounds that have each contributed to the rich social and cultural fabric of our province,” says Premier Christy Clark, MLA for Westside-Kelowna. “These grants are an effective way of connecting communities across our province.”

More than 120 community organizations throughout the province, from 100 Mile House to Abbotsford, are receiving funding to support multicultural initiatives, projects and events. In total, the Ministry Responsible for Multiculturalism is contributing a total of $300,000 in Multicultural Grant funding in 2015-16.

The Multiculturalism Grant Program celebrates British Columbia’s cultural diversity by funding projects which raise awareness of B.C.’s rich multicultural identity. This can include festivals, community forums or cultural celebrations that support positive expressions of multiculturalism. The grants also support projects that challenge racism and hate, especially those that utilize a collaborative community approach.

Quick Facts:

  • As the most ethnically diverse province in Canada, almost 30% of British Columbians have emigrated from another country.
  • B.C. welcomes nearly 40,000 new immigrants every year.
  • Over the past three years, an average of $1.7 million has been spent annually on programs that promote multiculturalism and address racism.

To learn about what the province is doing to promote multiculturalism and address racism in B.C., please visit: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/multiculturalism-anti-racism.