Coquitlam Foundation announces new mobility-therapy & gymnastics fund

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

COQUITLAM – The Coquitlam Foundation is proud to announce the establishment of the new Symington Endowment Fund.

The fund will assist children living with autism and other mobility challenges through grants and bursaries for one-to-one therapy and summer camp programs. This fund will also assist athletes who are enrolled in competitive gymnastics programs and in youth-at-risk programs throughout the Tri-Cities area.

The fund has been launched with a donation of $10,000 from Vivien Symington, owner/founder of Club Aviva and the Empowering Steps Movement Therapy Program. Ms. Symington has dedicated the fund in honour of her parents, Dr. David and Evelyn Symington.

“We’re very pleased to be the vehicle through which Ms. Symington can express her philanthropic wishes,” says Colleen Talbot, chair of the Coquitlam Foundation. “Her generosity will undoubtedly benefit many Coquitlam-area residents.”

One of the fund’s chief goals is to facilitate the enrolment of autistic children in a movement-therapy program. Ms. Symington explains that movement therapy establishes a playful environment which encourages a child to participate in gymnastics, leading to improved peer interaction.

The program sprung from Ms. Symington’s work with one particular autistic child. “I was able to totally integrate this child into a regular program with six other boys his age without autism or learning disorders after one-and-a-half years of private lessons,” she explains. “He was able to work with his classmates in a cooperative manner and manage an entire class with no behavioural issues. This was the beginning of what we now call the Empowering Steps Movement Therapy.”

The Symington Endowment Fund is one of more than a dozen donor-directed funds managed by the Coquitlam Foundation. Established in 1992, the Coquitlam Foundation encourages and supports creative, targeted philanthropy that builds a vibrant, sustainable, and healthy community. As part of this, the Coquitlam Foundation offers local residents the opportunity to focus their donations in their own community and also to create a legacy for the future.

This year, the foundation distributed over $50,000 in grants, bursaries and scholarships. The foundation currently manages funds in excess of $1.6 million.

The Coquitlam Foundation is always pleased to accept donations, c/o P.O. Box 2, 1207 Pinetree Way, Coquitlam, B.C., Canada, V3B 7Y3. Donations can also be made through the Foundation’s website, The Coquitlam Foundation is registered with Canada Revenue as a charitable organization, Number 890762347 RR0001.

Vivien Symington (second from left) presents a cheque for $10,000 to Laurel Lawson (far left), executive director of the Coquitlam Foundation, to launch the Symington Endowment Fund.

Coquitlam Foundation Executive Director Laurel Lawson: 778.995.7152
Coquitlam Foundation Chair Colleen Talbot: 604.521.3454