The proof is in the purchases - students in Okanagan College's wine, food and hospitality courses will benefit from a program that took place during the Okanagan Spring Wine Festival in May this year. Recently, American Express's Vice-President Sales, Global Commercial Card, Yasmin Kara, presented Kathy Butler, executive director of the Okanagan College Foundation, with a cheque for $5,000 that was raised through a partnership between the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society, American Express, and the Okanagan College Foundation. Through the month of May, including the Okanagan Spring Wine Festival (May 1 - 10, 2008), $3 from every American Express transaction at participating wineries was collected to go toward helping students and supporting the wine, food and hospitality courses at the School of Business at Okanagan College. The program's goal - $5,000 – was achieved. "This was a tremendous program, giving our Cardmembers and wineries the opportunity to support the development of the wine, restaurant and tourism industries in the Okanagan," said Kara. American Express and the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society have worked together on other projects, but this was a first where the co-operation was aimed to directly benefit students and programs at Okanagan College. "This partnership will pay real dividends for our members, said Gary Reynolds, President of the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society and the owner of Lake Breeze Vineyards in Naramata. "The School of Business at Okanagan College and its graduates have important roles to play training future team members for all areas of our wineries. Our society, its members, American Express and the College are investing in the future." In 2006, the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society created a new award program for students in the College's advanced culinary arts diploma program. 'We're pleased that the Wine Festivals Society and American Express have chosen to support students and programs through partnership with the Okanagan College Foundation, said Steve Tuck, President of the Okanagan College Foundation. About the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society: The Okanagan Wine Festivals Society now has 87 member wineries and over 45 tourism operators that work collaboratively to bring the world to Okanagan Wine Country. The society organizes four annual Okanagan Wine Festivals and pursues a high profile marketing strategy to attract wine tourists on a year round basis. The 10-day Okanagan Fall Wine Festival is the oldest of the four festivals and is consistently awarded the designation of "Top 100 Events in North America." Its success has led to the establishment of the 10-day Okanagan Spring Wine Festival, the iconic five-day Icewine Festival held in January at Sun Peaks Resort north of Kamloops, B.C. and the intimate two-day Okanagan Summer Wine Festival at Silver Star Mountain Resort near Vernon.
Source: Okanagan College, British Columbia