61 Organizations Receive $1.1 Million to Fuel Vital Work in the Community

Victoria, BC – December 11, 2013 – Just in time for the Holiday Season, the Victoria Foundation has approved $1,126,961 in grants to 61 non-profit organizations on Vancouver Island. This brings to over $12.3 million the amount awarded by the Foundation so far this year and over $130 million awarded since the Foundation’s establishment in 1936.

Donors responded first to this year’s grant applications, recommending $306,150 from various donor-advised funds held at the Victoria Foundation. The Foundation’s Community Engagement Committee then allocated $784,092 from 30 discretionary funds. The balance of $36,719 was provided by a matching program administered by Community Foundations of Canada and True Sport Foundation.

“Our congratulations go to all of the applicants for our 2013 Community Grants,” said Victoria Foundation CEO Sandra Richardson. “Our region is so fortunate to have such an amazing array of dedicated people working and volunteering in these organizations and we’re thrilled to be able to help support such a fantastic variety of projects. Our thanks also go to all of the advisors, committee members, donors and Board Members whose enthusiastic participation makes these grants possible.”

Grants range from $4,000 to the local office of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind to provide canes to blind or partially-sighted seniors, to $55,000 to the LifeCycles Project Society to expand community food networks and link local food production from farmers and back yard gardeners to food banks and low-income citizens. 

The Victoria Foundation’s Community Grants have ties to Victoria’s Vital Signs®, an annual community report card produced by the Victoria Foundation and sponsored by Island Savings Credit Union. All of the grants have a connection to one or more of the 12 issue areas identified in the report, including Arts & Culture, Getting Started, Standard of Living, Learning, Belonging & Engagement, Safety, Sports & Recreation, Economy, Transportation, Housing, Environment, and Health & Wellness.

One of this year’s grants addresses mental health, an issue that rose from tenth place last year to the second most important concern facing Greater Victoria according to the 2013 Victoria’s Vital Signs® report. The local team at the Canadian Mental Health Association Victoria branch will use the $33,419 grant to provide skills to manage and support distress, anxiety, or anger and reduce bullying through education and facilitator training in three programs: Living Life to the Full for young persons; a coping skills program for their parents; and training in Mental Health First Aid for adults who work with youth. These evidence-based programs, based on cognitive behavioral therapy and a proven offering in Scotland, will involve 40 youth, 20 parents and 40 youth service providers in this series of workshops, with follow-up support referrals and a legacy of trained professionals.

“Adolescence is a high-risk time for mental health problems like depression and anxiety, and a key time to boost prevention and early intervention skills,” stated Ragnhild Flakstad, Branch Development Manager for the Canadian Mental Health Association in Victoria. “In the past year, 56% of youth who reported that they experienced a mental or emotional health condition had not accessed the mental health services that they felt they needed.” The CMHA project will reduce stigma by talking about mental health concepts among peers in a playful and interactive way without traditional ‘mental health’ or ‘illness’ language, to prevent stigma and encourage earlier help-seeking.

A full list and description of all 61 projects funded is available at victoriafoundation.bc.ca.

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Background: Established in 1936, the Victoria Foundation is Canada’s second oldest community foundation and the fifth largest of nearly 200 across the nation. 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 it has invested more than $130 million in people, projects and non-profit organizations that strengthen communities in B.C. and throughout Canada. Read more about the Victoria Foundation’s vision and mandate.

Editors Please Note: Full list of 2013 Community Grants available here.

For more information, please contact:
Robert Janus, Director of Communications
Victoria Foundation
P. 250.381.5532      C. 250.886.6112