After the community has supported them after more than 30 years in business, Peter and Shelley Hyma are giving back to the community.
The former Agassiz OK Tire owners have donated $4,000 for the Kent-Harrison Foundation to be used as bursaries for secondary school students to advance their education.
“We just thought it was a good place to give back after all those years,” Shelley said. “I went to one of the first meetings when [the Kent-Harrison Foundation] first formed. I was very impressed, and it was always in the back of my mind that I was going to give one day.”
Peter said the bursaries would be given to students entering trades with preference given to those going into the automotive industry – a fitting legacy, given the Hymas’ business.
“The people who give us the money get to indicate what they want the graduating students to be doing [with their careers], where they would want to live; sometimes it has to do with volunteering and community participation,” said Kent-Harrison Foundation treasurer Judy Croft. Croft said once a year, the foundation gives out one $500 bursary.
The Kent-Harrison Foundation also gives out grants once per year, accepting applications from deserving organizations throughout the community with focus on a number of areas, including arts and culture, education and health. The grant budget per year is between $10,000 and $20,000. Every 18 months, the Foundation hosts a fundraising event.
The grants have gone to a number of organizations in the past, including the Agassiz Baseball Association for baseballs, the Kent-Harrison Arts Council for youth workshops and to the Senior Peer Counsellors operations, which brings seniors and teenagers together to bridge the generational gap in friendship and understanding.
The Kent-Harrison Foundation has been in place since 1994. The Vancouver Foundation at the time offered to match every dollar donated to the creation of the Kent-Harrison Foundation. More than 20 residents and organizations pooled together $85,000, which Vancouver matched, creating a fund of approximately $190,000.
Croft said the Vancouver Foundation invests the money, and the Kent-Harrison Foundation receives dividends on a quarterly basis.
The Kent-Harrison Foundation currently manages five endowment funds from five families – the Maguires, the McCoombs, the Prettys, Mayor Don Ramsay and the Hymas.
To learn more about the foundation and to donate to their cause, visit them online at http://kentharrisonfoundation.com.