“Just taking care of business”
Walter and Betty-Jean Derkaz and their toddler daughter, Cindy, moved to Salmon Arm in 1958 after Walter was appointed manager of Shuswap Consumers‘ Co-op. They fell in love with the Shuswap and knew that it would be their permanent home. Two years later Walter and Betty-Jean made the big decision to take their few hundred dollars of savings and “go into business”. Derkaz Shoes opened on Alexander Street offering “a full range of footwear for all the family”.
Thanks to Walter’s extensive retail experience, a lot of hard work, lenient creditors, Betty-Jean’s flair for designing shoes and, above all, tremendous support from their loyal customers, the business thrived. Ten years later a second store opened in Vernon. Derkaz Shoes grew to be recognized as the largest independent shoe retailer in the BC interior. After retiring from the shoe business, Walter and Betty-Jean owned and operated the Red Barn in Sicamous as a community hall and market.
They found themselves welcomed in Sicamous by a community of friends and customers. In the mid-198o’s, they sold the Red Barn to the Sicamous Arts Council and were pleased to see it continue to operate as a community arts facility. When Cindy returned to Salmon Arm to open a law practice in 1981, Betty-Jean stepped in to help. She became an excellent legal assistant and office manager.
Walter and Betty-Jean always believed that you should support those who support you. They knew that the success they enjoyed in their businesses, and Cindy’s success in her law practice, was due to the loyal support of the local community. Walter liked the concept of a community foundation because it provides a simple way to give back to the local community. Being a careful businessman, he also liked that Shuswap Community Foundation is run by a group of dedicated volunteers with a wide range of expertise. And the Foundation does not charge administration fees against the funds under its management. When his beloved Betty-Jean died in 1997, Walter “kicked-off” the Foundation’s Seniors Project Fund with a donation in her memory. He continued to watch the growth of the Foundation and liked what he saw.
On his death in 2006, Walter left a gift to the Foundation in his Will of $20,000 in shares to establish the Derkaz/Derby Family Endowment Fund. In keeping with his management style, Walter made the gift completely discretionary. The directors of the Foundation will be able to use the income to meet the community’s need as they change over time – “if you have a good team working for you, give them the power to make their own decisions”. By making a gift of shares, Walter’s estate was able to reduce his final income tax bill by taking advantage of the 2006 change in the tax laws eliminating capital gains tax on public traded securities that are donated to registered charities, and by using the $20,000 charitable donation tax receipt issued by the Foundation.
Cindy and her husband, Don Derby, are proud that the Derkaz/Derby Family Endowment Fund has added to the Family Funds administered by the Foundation. They plan to keep the fund growing.