Victoria, B.C. – A record amount of funding is being distributed through the Victoria Foundation’s Community Grants Program, with $4.899 million supporting 199 organizations in the capital region.
The 2023 Community Grants Program will provide an additional 13% in funding compared to 2022 and represents a doubling in available funding for the Community Grants program since 2018. 3 of 4 grants will support organizations or projects that significantly benefit equity-deserving populations including Indigenous, Black, People of Colour, 2SLGBTQIA+, women, children and youth, persons with disabilities, and newcomers.
The Community Grants Program funding announcement comes on the heels of the latest State of the Sector report titled Safety Net. The key themes in the report include organizations doing more with less, staffing concerns, uncertainty with rising costs, and that there is a feeling of hope but the future is unclear. The Community Grants Program is one avenue that will help address these challenges.
“The 2023 Community Grants Program will support organizations to make a lasting contribution to our community,” said Victoria Foundation’s CEO Sandra Richardson. “There are significant pressures on our region including the non-profit sector, and the funding will help many organizations better meet these challenges.”
The Victoria Foundation’s annual Community Grants Program supports registered charities and other qualified donees whose work benefits community wellbeing within the capital region. The program aims to help strengthen the charitable sector and long-term resilience of the community by providing organizations with flexible, general operating funding.
Housing is a significant issue in Greater Victoria and the housing issue area received a failing grade in Victoria’s 2022 Vital Signs report. A 2023 Vital Grant will support the Quadra Village Community Centre Housing Outreach Program.
“This Housing Outreach funding provides one-to-one housing support to numerous individuals and couples who are facing the immense challenge of needing to secure housing. This program is critical to community members who are overwhelmed by difficulty of housing applications and searches in an overwhelmed rental market,” said Kelly Greenwell, Quadra Village Community Centre Executive Director. “The Housing Outreach Program gives people a chance to find housing who don’t have the tools to succeed during this affordability crisis.”
The Victoria Foundation’s Community Grants program is built on Trust-Based Philanthropy principles, centering relationships and increasing accessibility of the program. The Foundation also recognizes the historical and systemic barriers to funding for some communities and encouraged applications from organizations who are working with equity-deserving groups.
Melanie Hudson, Executive Director of the Island Metis Family and Community Services Society explains how they will utilize the funding. “Our organization will use the funding for the community kitchen project to upgrade our kitchen’s equipment, educate youth on nutrition, foster their culinary talents, and provide healthy affordable meals for our participants. The community kitchen program aims to empower Métis youth and their families by improving food security, teaching valuable culinary skills, fostering social connections, and encouraging healthier eating habits.”
The 2023 Community Grants program included two grant streams including the Vital Stream with funding requests up to $30,000 and the Collaboration Stream with variable amounts available.14 grants were awarded in the Collaboration Stream, supporting organizations to work together to address systemic issues and increasing efficiencies in the non-profit sector through partnerships and networking.
To see a full list of organizations funded, click here.
The Victoria Foundation works closely with generous donors in our community to provide funding for the program. A majority of the $4.899 million distributed came from funds held and managed at the Victoria Foundation, where donors have given the Foundation the discretion to distribute annual grants. The remainder comes from donor advised funds and Community Action Funds where individuals have the opportunity to donate directly to issue-areas including housing, health and wellness, food security and more.
As a broad-based and place-based funder, Victoria Foundation staff work to ensure an equitable distribution of grants across the region and sub-sectors, including arts and culture, environment, and many more. The Community Grants Program is one part of the Victoria Foundation’s overall granting and leadership initiatives. In 2022, the Victoria Foundation distributed 1,742 grants totaling over $25 million.