A letter from the Victoria Foundation’s Board Chair, Zaman Velji
As the Chair of the Board of Directors for the Victoria Foundation, it is my privilege to help guide an organization with a long history of achievements and a truly promising future. The challenges of 2020 were great, but I am proud to report the Victoria Foundation has risen to the occasion and has thrived as a leader in our region.
Since 1936, the generosity and commitment of our donors has enabled the Victoria Foundation to fulfill its vision of connecting people who care with causes that matter®. To assist donors with meeting their charitable goals, the Foundation helps them to create permanent endowments that will support the causes important to them.
Thanks to the support of so many people who care about the ongoing betterment of our community, we currently hold over $421 million in total assets under administration and have awarded over $269 million in grants since our inception.
Some recent selected highlights include:
- Our ten-year annualized average investment returns have remained healthy at 8.38 percent.
- Our fund distribution rate increased in 2021 to 4.25 percent.
- Last year we awarded over $25 million in grants to 580 organizations, much of it specifically towards COVID-19 pandemic relief and recovery.
- This includes over $6 million raised through the Rapid Relief Fund, in partnership with the Times Colonist and the Jawl family.
- It also includes 126 Community Recovery Program grants totaling over $2.3 million to help local charities weather the impact of the pandemic.
- Federal funding and a partnership with Community Foundations of Canada and United Way Greater Victoria resulted in the granting of $2.3 million through two rounds of the Emergency Community Support Fund.
- Further federal funding resulted in $280,000 distributed to 11 social purpose organizations through the Investment Readiness Program.
- The 15th annual Victoria’s Vital Signs report was released via a virtual launch in November. The launch was attended by a record number of people and the report included specific COVID-19 related data.
- In May, the Victoria and Vancouver Foundations, with Vantage Point, released the No Immunity report, which revealed the hardships the civil society organizations are facing due to the pandemic. A follow-up report, Unraveling, was released in February 2021.
Now in our 85th year, another challenging one, we continue to approach our work with optimism and enthusiasm. Our endowment is invested with a long-term view, so that even in uncertain markets, we expect to see good returns. To address immediate needs, our Community Action Funds now offer donors the opportunity to contribute directly to the causes of their choice. Our fundholders continue to make considered granting decisions and the charitable organizations we support continue to make a difference every day.
This is your foundation. We welcome your interest in strengthening the wellbeing of our community, both now and in the future.