Gadsden Initiative announcement coming with Rock for Relief

During CHEK TV’s Rock for Relief: A Living Room Concert for Vancouver Island, there will be a special announcement made about how the Victoria Foundation’s Gadsden Initiative will help support the Rapid Relief Fund…and how you can help.

The Gadsden Initiative is a Victoria Foundation program that brings together an innovative and engaged group, including GenX’ers and Millennials, to build relationships within the community through a series of learning sessions, community activities and networking opportunities based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Inspired by Burges Gadsden, whose vision led to the creation of the Victoria Foundation in 1936, the Gadsden Initiative engages a new generation of global citizens looking to make a lasting difference in their community through engagement, vision and philanthropy.

The initiative launched in the Fall of 2019 and will run until Spring of 2021. It includes a robust curriculum of learning activities such as site tours, speaker series and core sessions.

And now, the group is turning its sights to our current COVID-19, and the challenges it brings to our community, particularly to our most vulnerable residents.

“We are in extraordinary, challenging times, and the needs arising from the impact of the Coronavirus are many and seem overwhelming,” said Gadsden Initiative member Chanda Pacholuk. “The impact of the virus will vary greatly throughout the various segments of our population, and will be particularly impactful for our vulnerable populations. The Rapid Relief Fund recognizes this fact and, for us, answers the question: How can we best help the people who need it now?”

As the impacts of the novel coronavirus mount across every area of our community, a coalition of business and philanthropic partners joined together to launch the Rapid Relief Fund on Saturday, March 21 to quickly disburse funds to local registered charities and qualified donees providing frontline services to vulnerable populations whose staff, volunteers, programs, and operations have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Partner contributions include $500,000 from the Victoria Foundation, $180,000 from the Jawl Foundation and $100,000 from the Times Colonist Christmas Fund, among others.

“Many people who were already vulnerable or in borderline financial situations pre-COVID-19 find themselves facing very difficult circumstances now,” said Waheeda Esmail, Gadsden Initiative member. “In my view, it is not the time to agonize over where to donate funds but a time to throw everything we can at helping those in crises. The Rapid Relief Fund seems to be the best option to help realize this goal. I recognize that being able to participate in something like the Gadsden Initiative in the first place is a privilege, and one that I think my fellow Gadsden cohort members do not take lightly.”

To find out more about how the Gadsden Initiative will be supporting the Rapid Relief Fund, and how you can help, tune in to CHEK TV Friday, April 17 at 8pm for Rock for Relief, or watch the concert streaming on CHEK’s YouTube channel or Facebook page.

For more information on the Rapid Relief Fund, visit

The Gadsden Cohort Members: Aral Construction, Katherine and Kyle Blakeney, Mark and Kate Donahue, Bhupinder Dulku, Waheeda Esmail, Jenna Falk, Eryn Fitzegerald, Carol Hall and David Moffat, Stacey Lund and Trevor Mccall, Kyla McLeod and Gerrit Vink, Carly and Matt Milloy, Ruth Mojeed and Jonathan Ramirez, Chanda Pacholuk and Alan Gage, Stewart and Jennifer Story, Rishma Thomas and Zaman Velji, Richard and Kelli Van Leewan, Geoff Wong and Mandy Farmer and Samantha Wilson