Rapid Relief Fund crosses $1M mark, expands to new agencies for second round

The generosity of Victorians was in full force as the Rapid Relief Fund in support of our region’s most vulnerable residents surpassed $1 million in less than 48 hours.

The fund was established by the Victoria Foundation, the Times Colonist and the Jawl Foundation on Saturday, March 21 to raise money for vital local charities working on the front lines to meet the needs of Greater Victoria during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first $1 million is being distributed to five local agencies and networks: the Mustard Seed, the Stan Hagen Centre for Families, the Salvation Army Addiction and Rehabilitation Centre, the Food Share Network and the Coalition of Neighbourhood Houses Capital Region.

“COVID-19 has brutally impacted Greater Victoria low-income families and our senior clients,” said Janiene Boice, Mustard Seed senior director. “This Rapid Relief campaign is an incredible gift in such a dark season and we are incredibly grateful to the generous donors of Greater Victoria. With these fund we are able to continue to do what we do: serve the most vulnerable and provide essential services that impact lives.”

With the first $1 million raised, organizers of the fund are now looking towards the next million.

“We have been so inspired and moved by the reaction of our community to this effort to help the most vulnerable among us during these trying times,” said Victoria Foundation CEO Sandra Richardson. “But the effort is not over. We’ve seen a wonderful response so far, and we know we can keep this going, to raise even more money to help additional agencies and reach new regions in need.”

To help reach this goal, a challenge has been issued and funded by local entrepreneurs to match all funds received between Wednesday, March 25 and Sunday, March 29 up to $355,000. The nine matching partners include Tiny, the Lake Family’s All One Fund, an anonymous Victoria entrepreneur, The Jawl Foundation, Cork & Barrel Spirit Merchants, Rajiv Khaneja of Sparklit Software, Frosty Pop, Toro Consulting and Pilothouse.

To help determine the next recipients for funding, a community advisory committee is being established.

All donations will receive a tax receipt and can be made online by credit card, as well as via cheque, PayPal, Interac e-Transfer (for donations over $5,000) or gifts of securities. Donations by phone can be made at 250-381-5532.

All information and donation options can be found at RapidReliefFund.ca.