Unraveling: New Research Reveals Vital Services in BC at Serious Risk

Non-profit organizations across BC continue to be at risk. Back in Spring 2020, the No Immunity report showed 15-19% of non-profits faced closure and 23% feel they may not last more than 6 months. This percentage has since grown, as seen in the new Unraveling report, to 48% of non-profits facing closure with 20% non-profits reporting a likelihood of having to shut down within 12 months. Arts organizations, sports and religious groups, and organizations who serve racialized communities report the most concern for shutdown, says the Unraveling report from Vantage Point and the Victoria and Vancouver Foundations. In the follow-up survey completed by over 900 non-profits across the province, it is clear that up to 48% of the sector may not survive the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our sector fills the gap between government and the private sector,” says Alison Brewin, Executive Director of Vantage Point. “After decades of focusing our resources on direct delivery of services, on the art and artists, on the needs of those we exist to serve, our capacity to be resilient and meet the increased demand from communities is unraveling. Non-profits and charities across BC are digging deep. And, not surprisingly, this report shows us that sector is more worried about the what COVID-19 has meant for those we serve than we are for ourselves. It highlights our optimism, capacity, and resilience. But we can’t keep doing it without support.”

Some of the key findings include:

  • 64% of organizations report a decreased ability to deliver programs, services, and activities.
  • 71% of organizations, especially smaller organizations, are expecting a budget shortfall in 2021
  • 59% of organizations report a drop in volunteer involvement. Decreases in volunteer involvement have hit arts & culture and sport/recreation the hardest.

“When it became clear in the spring of 2020 that large gatherings were prohibited for an indefinite period, Dance Victoria mobilized to do two things: create a virtual presentation season for its large, loyal audience sheltering in place, and develop opportunities for the region’s independent dance artists that included commissions, artist residencies at its studios, virtual workshops and watch parties,” said Steven White, producer. “With extraordinary funding from the Victoria Foundation, BC Arts Council and Canadian Heritage plus extraordinary support for Dance Victoria’s donors, we have been able to turn the crisis into an opportunity that will have impacts for years to come. That being said, we still all long to be back in the theatre with our enthusiastic and engaged audience.”

“We’re proud we were able to mobilize our donors and partners to get emergency funding into communities across BC when it was so urgently needed,” said Kevin McCort, CEO of Vancouver Foundation. “Now all of us — corporate donors, individuals, governments, and foundations — need to rally together to ensure the long-term sustainability of this sector, and the success of the people who rely on its services each day.”

“While some of the darkest days are behind us, this report is telling us we’re not in the clear quite yet,” said Sandra Richardson, CEO of the Victoria Foundation. “What gives me great hope, however, is how throughout this pandemic people and organizations have come together to support the sector in ways we could have never imagined. We have risen to the occasion. Now we need to continue on in this spirit to come out of this crisis stronger and more resilient than ever before.”

For more information please contact:

Victoria Foundation – Kyle Wells, Communications Manager at: 250-213-7131 or kwells@victoriafoundation.bc.ca


Download the full report

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Executive Summary