welcome to launch okanagan
what we do
Financial empowerment changes lives and builds futures
Launch Financial Education Society (Launch Okanagan) 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 financial education, mentorship and collaboration 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 Okanagan specifically designs its programs to be inclusive, encouraging and supportive.
Whether you’re a single parent, a struggling family or someone wanting to go back to school, 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 Okanagan are united in the mission of enabling individuals in our community to fulfill their potential through financial education, mentorship and collaboration. 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
Launch Vice Chair
Investment Adviser, Odlum Brown
Executive Director, Community Foundation North Okanagan
Director, Retail Banking, Valley First
Manager, Marketing, KPMG
Partner, Crowe MacKay
Retired Health Care Manager
Our Volunteer Facilitators are an integral part of Launch Okanagan and we simply could not do it without them. They bring experience, education, and skills from a variety of backgrounds: financial, business, not for profit, adult education, and the social service sector are just some of what our volunteers bring to Launch and to our participants.
This role offers a genuine opportunity to enable individuals in our community to fulfill their potential through financial education, mentorship and collaboration.
Julie currently facilitates 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 Okanagan volunteer.
Jones will be co-facilitating the Dollars and Sense class starting in January 2019. He started volunteering in September 2017 with our Matched Savings program. We welcome Jones enthusiasm and sense of humor when facilitating for Launch. As he works in the financial industry, his knowledge and expertise make him a great fit. He has a passion to help people succeed in all aspect of their lives and feels that Launch can be that positive impact in within the community. We are lucky to have Jones as one of our experienced volunteers.
Dip has been volunteering with Launch since 2016 and is the lead facilitator for the Primer for Life youth program.
Andrew facilitates Fall 2018 the Matched Savings class. This is the sixth class he’s taught for Launch Okanagan. 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.
Taylor will be co-facilitating the Dollars and Sense class starting in January 2019. She just finished financial literacy education training and is excited to start.
David will be co-facilitating the RDSP Matched Savings class starting in January 2019. He just finished financial literacy education training and brings experience in adult education.
join the team
Do you have a passion to teach and impact people’s lives in a positive way?
Do you have administrative and/or marketing experience?
Please connect with our Executive Director, we’d love to chat to see what type of volunteering interests you!
Like most good ideas, Launch Okanagan 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.”
In Fall 2011 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 Okanagan and are proud to be part of this not-for-profit.
Michael Wendland and Laurence East
Launch Okanagan 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 Okanagan 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