60 local programs supported in response to COVID-19

VICTORIA, BC JULY 14, 2020 – United Way Greater Victoria and the Victoria Foundation are investing $1.6 million into local charities to help them adapt their frontline services to support vulnerable citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A total of 60 grants will help organizations across the Capital Region District, the Gulf Islands and north to Cowichan thanks to funding received from The Government of Canada’s Emergency Community Support Fund (ECSF). A grant call that launched on May 19 asked local charities to submit proposals to receive funding for a variety of purposes, including to cover staffing and/or emerging needs especially related to transitioning to digital services and platforms. A collaborative community review panel between United Way and Victoria Foundation sifted through over 120 applications to determine feasibility and need.

Out of the 60 grants approved, eleven programs were co-funded by United Way and Victoria Foundation. Two examples of these are the Island Deaf and Hard of Hearing Centre Association, which received support to safely re-open and deliver hearing health services including hearing aids to people whose social isolation has been exacerbated by the COVID19 crisis, as well as the Victoria Native Friendship Centre, which received support to access technology to help transition to virtual programming for staff working with at risk children and youth as well as funding to fill food hampers for vulnerable Indigenous elders and families.

In the words of the Victoria Native Friendship Centre Executive Director, Ron Rice: “Our staff all breathed a sigh of relief when they got the news…this has a huge impact on our bottom line. We could not do all that we do without support from funders such as United Way and Victoria Foundation, nor could we continue to provide the services we do to urban Indigenous families, Elders, the disabled and the disenfranchised.”

Other grants being allocated include digitizing an opera performance and bringing it to schools alongside curriculum aid, haircuts for women in order to feel more confident during a job interview through a subsidy to the salon, and an intergenerational support program that matches Indigenous youth with vulnerable elders and a free online literary festival.

The Government of Canada announced the $350 Million Emergency Community Support Fund on April 21, 2020. The fund was administered across the country in partnership with United Way Centraide Canada, Community Foundations of Canada and the Canadian Red Cross.

“Charities and non-profit organizations are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic, acting as lifelines for many vulnerable Canadians. The Government of Canada is pleased to support these organizations through the Emergency Community Support Fund so they can continue their invaluable work”. The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development

“It’s a new world. Our focus is razor sharp: to help our community get through COVID-19, as we recover and rebuild. One of our main goals is to support the not-for-profit sector as it pivots to meet changing community needs and service delivery models. The creativity and resiliency we observed through the grant submissions was inspiring. We are grateful for the federal government’s funding and we thank them for entrusting in us to get the job done,” said Mark Breslauer, CEO, United Way Greater Victoria.

“Civil Society and the programs and services they offer are absolutely critical to the wellbeing of our community,” said Victoria Foundation CEO Sandra Richardson. “The funding provided via these grants will help to mitigate the devastating impacts the pandemic has had on the sector and the vulnerable populations they serve. The Victoria Foundation is pleased to work with The Government of Canada and United Way to provide this crucial support, and we look forward to continuing to work towards ensuring our community comes out of this crisis stronger, healthier and more resilient.”

For a full list of funded projects visit: uwgv.ca/news/ecsf and victoriafoundation.bc.ca/ecsf.

Funded by the Government of Canada

About United Way Greater Victoria
United Way is a leader, influencer and difference-maker in the lives of people living on southern Vancouver Island. People can still support the United Way’s Local Love in a Global Crisis campaign at www.uwgv.ca/covid19 as we move into the recovery phase of COVID-19. Last fiscal year United Way raised $4.35 million thanks to over 7,000 donors and over 250 workplaces opening their offices to run employee giving programs. These funds allowed United Way to support over 90,000 people, 63 agencies and over 90 programs.

About Victoria Foundation
Established in 1936, the Victoria Foundation is Canada’s second oldest community foundation and the sixth largest of nearly 200 nation-wide. The Victoria Foundation manages charitable gifts from donors whose generosity allows them to create permanent, income-earning funds. The proceeds from these funds are then distributed as grants for charitable or educational purposes. To date the Victoria Foundation has invested over $243 million in people, projects and non-profit organizations that strengthen communities in BC and throughout Canada.

Media Contacts:
Deepa Pillay
Beattie Tartan/United Way
Mobile: 250-619-7110

Robert Janus, Director of Communications
Victoria Foundation
Mobile: 250-886-6112