For the better part of 86 years, the Victoria Foundation, hand in hand with local partners, has leveraged the unparalleled generosity of donors to better the lives of people on Vancouver Island. Whether through endowments benefitting multiple generations or funds intended to have a more immediate impact, the Foundation connects people who care with causes that matter.
I joined the Board of Directors in 2020. Soon after came the pandemic, and with it, an illustration of the Foundation’s remarkable ability to grow, adapt and pivot to meet the needs of our community. First, the Rapid Relief Fund was a fast-moving effort, raising more than $6 million to support people most affected. Then, with the 2021 Community Recovery Program, the Foundation distributed an additional $3.1 million to more than 142 organizations, including the Victoria Community Food Hub, ensuring better food security on south Vancouver Island.
With assets under administration approaching $495 million, the Foundation is well poised to support the immediate needs of our community and continue that support for the generations that will come long after this one is gone. I am humbled to watch Foundation staff, donors, and partners repeatedly and quickly demonstrate their ability to identify where, when, and how to help those who most need it.
Prudent management and healthy year-over-year growth in donations, grants, and investments mean that, in 2022, the Foundation’s distribution rate will increase to 4.75%. Additionally, our impact investing portfolio has grown to $10 million, twice what it was before we ever heard the term COVID-19. This allows us to invest in organizations and causes that generate social or environmental benefits in addition to a financial return.
The need for a community foundation has never been more evident, and measuring its worth requires more than just counting dollars and cents. Challenges persist, some pandemic-related, some not. The Foundation continues to engage with several organizations to address hardships highlighted in the No Immunity (2020) and Unraveling (2021) reports and promote equity and inclusion, recognized in the 16th Vital Signs launched last fall. I invite the curious to visit victoriafoundation.bc.ca and to read the 2021 edition of the Foundation’s magazine, Pulse.
We are all a little weary after the past two years. Yet, as we inch our way out of this pandemic, I am optimistic that we will reap tremendous benefits from a renewed effort to embrace truth, accountability, and reconciliation with Indigenous communities and create a more compassionate, equitable, and inclusive community.
We all have a role to play, and while you don’t have to change the world, doing your part means that we can make this corner of it just a little bit better.
Chair, Victoria Foundation