Message from the RDC Foundation Board
Friday, April 17, 2020 - 13:12
Greetings from the RDC Foundation Board
By way of introduction, I am Kevin Beattie. I am a partner with the law firm of Sully Chapman Beattie LLP in Red Deer, and the current Chair of the RDC Foundation Board of Directors . I have served as a director on the RDC Foundation Board since 2016, and sat on RDC’s Fund Development Advisory Group for the 5 years prior to that. In my time in both of these roles, I have been inspired to see the deep connection between RDC and our community. I was motivated to volunteer my time to the College because RDC is a vital member and contributor to the prosperity of central Alberta. As a University, this role will undoubtedly take on more importance and significance for the educational and economic benefit for our city and our region.
Our current reality presents significant challenges for many of us, but it has also served as a reminder of the resilience and entrepreneurial spirit that defines our region – and this spirit is as strong in our students as in any of us. Just as many of us were transitioning to work from home, so were many RDC students. Together, we learned new ways to work, while also adapting to school and child-care closures. Just as many in our community faced layoffs and economic uncertainty, RDC students learned to navigate the supports that are available to them. Just as we are all concerned for the health and safety of our loved ones, our neighbours, and those working on the front lines of this pandemic, our learners have quickly and gracefully adapted to heed the advice of medical experts. We know that RDC prepares students for real-life work experiences, and the current situation demonstrates that across the entire institution.
The primary focus of the RDC Foundation is to raise funds for the direct benefit of RDC students. This includes raising monies to support new and existing scholarship funds and bursaries, as well as procuring funds and developing strategic partnerships to help fund capital projects. Our volunteer board members work hard to connect business and individual donors to the needs of students, and together those combined contributions achieve incredible things! The most recent large-scale coordinated effort added three new facilities to main campus – the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre, new Residence and Alternative Energy Lab – all of which support program development and delivery, enhance the RDC student experience, and promote wellness and environmental sustainability. It’s hard not to see these physical assets as markers of a job well done.
These structures are only a part of the story. At the heart of these initiatives lie student needs. It has always been the goal of the RDC Foundation to rally community support for the projects that will best support access to education, enhance programming, and empower graduates to impact their communities in meaningful and lasting ways. With your support, Red Deer College now awards more than $1,000,000 in scholarships each year, and delivers more than 100 programs to support the lifelong learning of approximately 7,000 students each year. This past work has created an important base for the work the RDC Foundation takes on now.
This year, our Board will begin work to double the amount of scholarships available to students in 2021. This is admittedly an ambitious goal but we have confidence that our community sees the value Red Deer College brings to our region, and we believe it can be reached. We know that Central Albertans are personally invested in the success and excellence of RDC learners and that, when we combine our efforts and our resources, we can make a real difference.
We know that access to education is the most valuable tool for economic recovery. When we consider our post-pandemic world, and the increased financial strain on our community, we know that many students might feel pressure to reimagine, or abandon their dreams of post-secondary education. We also know that RDC will have a key role in retraining many people in our existing workforce to adapt to new industries and opportunities. As University students, future learners will require increased financial support as their programs increase in difficulty and time commitment. It is the mission of the RDC Foundation to provide pathways for learners to attend and excel in post-secondary, and our community will need this work more than ever in the months and years to come.
We are so proud of the resilience and ingenuity of RDC graduates. Alumni from the School of Health Sciences are saving lives, alumni business owners are pivoting their business models in real time, and all of our alumni are facing unique challenges and finding creative ways to overcome them. The RDC Foundation is committed to putting the whole of our effort behind garnering support for scholarships and awards to support more students to attend and excel at Red Deer College.
Despite the uncertainty of the immediate future, I am confident that, with continued hard work, the RDC Foundation will once again receive the generosity of our community in spirit, goodwill and financial support. I am also excited to tackle the new challenges and opportunities that will come when we shift to become the Foundation for Red Deer University. Finally, I would like to take this opportunity, on behalf of the Foundation, to express our sincere gratitude for all those contributions and support given to us in support of the College. Whether large or small, every gift has helped to make a real difference for all of RDC’s past, present and future students.
With warm regards,
Kevin A. Beattie
Chair, Red Deer College Foundation