Deepak Binning Foundation creates $250,000 scholarship endowment at UBC Okanagan

An endowment of $250,000 from the Deepak Binning Foundation means more students than ever will soon be eligible for Community Builder Scholarships to UBC Okanagan. Their success will honour the memory of a determined and enthusiastic young man, Inderjeet Deepak Binning, who died of cancer soon after graduating from Richmond's J.H. Cambie Secondary School in 1999.

In 2000, family and friends created the Deepak Binning Foundation to honour Deepak's memory and spirit. Through fundraising efforts in Vancouver, Kelowna and Edmonton, the foundation has now created the Deepak Binning Foundation Community Builder Scholarship Fund which will impact generations of new students entering UBC Okanagan from throughout the B.C.'s Southern Interior.

"Deepak's name, in Punjabi, means 'a light,' and everyone who knew him agrees that there is no better way of describing his life," said Paul Binning, Deepak's father and founder of the Deepak Binning Foundation. "Despite the overwhelming obstacles he faced, Deepak remained courageous and positive in the face of adversity, ready to lend support to whomever needed it. These are the qualities we hope to encourage among future generations of high school and university students through the scholarship endowment."

Each year, the endowment will provide three scholarships of $3,500 each. Community Builder Scholarships are awarded to students based on their academic merit, leadership and community service in high school. They are available to students applying to UBC Okanagan from high schools throughout the Southern Interior.

The foundation raises funds through an annual Deepak Binning Foundation Celebration of Life Walk in Richmond, and Indo-Canadian dinner and dance galas held in Kelowna and Vancouver each year. This year's fundraising dinner and dance in Kelowna is tomorrow night, Saturday, Oct. 27, at the Rutland Centennial Hall. Tickets to this very popular event are sold out.

"We believe strongly in post-secondary education. We want to create opportunities for students, and be part of the success of UBC Okanagan," said Chanchal Bal, a director of the Deepak Binning Foundation chapter in Kelowna.

"We are very grateful to the Deepak Binning Foundation for such outstanding and very meaningful support," said Doug Owram, Deputy Vice Chancellor at UBC Okanagan. "This is the first such endowment to be established at UBC Okanagan by a cultural foundation. Awarding scholarships in Deepak Binning's memory is a fine tribute to a young man who did not have the opportunity to attend university. Many students will benefit from this lasting gift, and on their behalf we thank the entire Binning family and the foundation."

Funds from the Kelowna dinner and dance will support both the Cancer Centre for the Southern Interior, and the Deepak Binning Foundation Community Builder Scholarship Fund.

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