Community Knowledge Centre and Vital Loans Programs Launched


NEWS RELEASE –   February 18, 2013

Victoria, BC– Being a local charity got a little easier today, as the Victoria Foundation launched two new programs aimed at helping agencies connect with each other and with donors, as well as helping them meet short-term financing needs.The first program to be announced, the Community Knowledge Centre, is an online knowledge hub that extends and complements the impact of the Victoria Foundation’s annual Victoria's Vital Signs® report.  It does this by highlighting the innovative and effective solutions that local organizations are undertaking to address issues raised in the report.

“Our Vital Signs report is now in its 8th year and has been a huge success,” noted Victoria Foundation Board Chair Deirdre Roberts. “It has informed and inspired people who care about this wonderful community.  The Community Knowledge Centre is the next step in turning that inspiration into action by helping to answer the question: ‘Now what?’”

By showcasing information about the broad spectrum of local charitable organizations in a single place, the Community Knowledge Centre allows donors and other interested parties to easily navigate the complex array of programs and projects needing support.  Fundamental to the new site is a search function that allows visitors to filter listings for those that support a particular population, serve a particular geographic area, or address a particular issue area.

“We hope that Victoria's Community Knowledge Centre inspires people to participate in these vital activities and take part in the transformational change in our city to make Victoria the best place to live, work, learn and grow,” continued Roberts. “The community can find out how to contribute to immediate needs, and the organizations themselves can discover ways of working together to help address complex issues.”

The Community Knowledge Centre was made possible thanks to the partnership and support of IBM Canada and the Toronto Community Foundation.  More information can be found at

In the second program announced today, the Victoria Foundation has partnered with Island Savings to create and administer the Vital Loans program aimed at providing financial support in the form of loans to registered charities on southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands.

“We’re very pleased to see our relationship with the Victoria Foundation grow,” said Bill Snell, Chief Financial Officer for Island Savings.  “The Victoria Foundation’s unique knowledge of the community – and the charities within it – combined with Island Savings’ financial expertise and understanding of the local economy makes Vital Loans an initiative that can truly benefit Islanders.” 

Using the combined expertise of the two organizations is a first for Vancouver Island, and is expected to open up new opportunities for charities that may not have qualified for a conventional loan from a bank or other lending institution.

Pacific Opera Victoria was announced today as the first recipient of a Vital Loan. The organization will be using the funds for bridge financing to produce an upcoming city-wide festival to engage hundreds of children and families, not only in the experience of opera, but in the designing, creation and performance of opera as well.

“An important part of making this festival happen was acquiring the short-term capital we would need to finance three productions simultaneously,” commented Pacific Opera Victoria Executive Director Patrick Corrigan.  “Vital Loans was able to help us move forward and we are very grateful to the Victoria Foundation and Island Savings for their support.”

“The Vital Loan program is designed to provide charitable organizations with access to critical funding at favourable rates,” explained Roberts.  “Depending on the strength of the application, charities that require a short-term loan will now have the potential to access as much as $500,000 for up to 36 months.”

Besides the benefits to charities, Vital Loans offers a unique opportunity for the donor community as well.  Donors to the new Vital Loans fund at the Victoria Foundation can see their contributions used over and over in the community.  As loans are provided to charities – and then paid back – the monies are recycled back into the fund, perpetually having a positive impact.  More information can be found at

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Background: 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. Established in 1936, the Victoria Foundation is Canada’s second oldest community foundation and the sixth largest of 183. To date it has invested more than $116 million in people, projects and non-profit organizations that strengthen communities in B.C. and across Canada. Read more about the Victoria Foundation’s vision and mandate.

For more information, please contact:

Robert Janus, Director of Communications
Victoria Foundation
P. 250.381.5532      C. 250.886.6112