85th Anniversary: The Grants – from $7,000 a year to $2M a month!

Since 1936 the generosity and commitment of our community has enabled the Victoria Foundation to fulfill its vision of connecting people who care with causes that matter® for 85 years. We are fortunate to be associated with so many people who care about the wellbeing of our community.

We recognize that investing strategically to meet our community’s needs through leadership and partnership has a lasting impact. That partnering with our community helps to create legacies that will long outlive each of us.

The connections that the Foundation has with the charitable sector make us the go-to resource centre for community philanthropy; they allow us to respond to the needs and opportunities in our community through leadership, stewardship, strategic initiatives, and granting.

To assist donors with meeting their charitable goals, the Foundation helps them to create permanent endowment funds that will support the causes most important to them, for the long-term. The reach of the Foundation is broad in scope as it takes the widest possible view of challenges and opportunities in the region and makes grants to support the organizations committed to addressing them.

The impact of this collective support over 85 years is more clearly felt as we reflect on the history of our grants.

From Burges Gadsden’s mother Fannie’s first gift of $20 in 1937, the Victoria Foundation had a quiet, but determined start. With $22,000 in assets, the first grants of $7,000 were made in 1969 to the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Victoria, Maritime Museum of British Columbia, and the Association for Community Living. Jumping forward, by 2000, the permanent endowment held $20 million in assets and the Foundation granted $1 million that year to local charities.

By the 70th anniversary in 2006, the endowment had grown to $70 million. The growth has continued through contributions and investment returns, and in partnership with donors and fund holders, First Nations, governments, societies, and businesses.

The Foundation is privileged to administer over $418 million in assets and since those early days in 1936, has granted $269 million to charities in our region, and across Canada.

Whether through a donor advised annual grant or our proactive grants from discretionary funds, established by donors who trust we will exercise due diligence to know best how to support the causes they care about, the impact of the $269 million in grants over the decades is a testament to the belief by Burges Gadsden that people would choose to support each other if they were given the opportunity.

The impact we have now is due to the vision of the hundreds of donors who chose the Victoria Foundation to be their philanthropic partner. Their gifts enable us to work towards a more food secure region, address issues of gender equality, racial equity, and reconciliation, focus on where we can support those dealing with climate change, support regional arts and culture, foster a sense of belonging for newcomers, and create a vibrant, caring community for all.

Residents of Greater Victoria have always shared a strong sense of community. This has never been more evident than in this last year, with the number of people who joined together, through their gifts to the Rapid Relief Fund and other Community Action Funds, to support organizations helping their neighbours deal with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As we look ahead to the next decades and our changing communities, we thank you for joining us knowing that we will be here for those who want to support each other.