VICTORIA, BC – The Victoria Foundation announced funding this week for four projects targeting improved oral and mental health outcomes within the capital region. The grants – totalling $113,508 – were made possible through a partnership with Green Shield Canada (GSC).
Many people face significant difficulties accessing appropriate dental care and mental health supports, including financial barriers, regulatory challenges, specialized needs, transportation or mobility concerns and more. The grants announced this week are part of an initiative from Green Shield Canada (GSC) which established a program called Six 4 Six – $6 million to priority projects in oral and mental health across six Canadian communities – to mark their 60th anniversary in 2018. The grants are part of a total of $700,000 that GSC has allocated to the Victoria Foundation to help address mental and oral health care needs, gaps and priority areas.
Victoria Foundation CEO Sandra Richardson remarked on the value of collaboration that these grants represent. “These days almost every major initiative we undertake involves partnering with one or more organizations, collectively working together to achieve greater results than any one of us could do on our own,” Richardson said. “We’re extremely happy to have this opportunity to work with GSC to make real and lasting positive impacts in both oral and mental health, particularly among some of our most vulnerable residents.”
“Six 4 Six represents a new collaborative model of corporate philanthropy that’s all about community partnerships.” explains Sherry Peister, GSC’s board chair. “Back in 1957, the GSC founders identified the need for affordable pre-paid health benefits and met this need with Canada’s first pre-paid drug plan. Ever since, we’ve made ‘giving back’ a concept we live and breathe. Now looking ahead, ‘Six 4 Six’ reinforces GSC’s ongoing commitment to helping those most in need in these focus areas, and aligned with our strategy.”
Victoria Cool Aid Society – $24, 970
This project will engage a dental practice consultant to develop a fiscal and operational model for non-profit dentistry.
Inter-Cultural Association – $25,000
This project will scan and survey local dentists regarding participation in Interim Federal Health benefits; support dentists in registering with IFH; create a local network of dentists and health providers committed to increasing the long -term oral health outcomes for newcomers; and provide newcomer client oral health education.
Garth Homer Society – $25,000
This grant is for architectural research to determine the technical and design requirements for a clinic that provides special care dentistry services to be built within Garth Homer’s new building, and which could serve as a base for mobile dentistry units. Special care will include both general anaesthesia and other sedation, as well as innovative alternatives to sedation.
Salt Spring and Southern Gulf Islands Community Services Society – $16,318
This grant is to hire a dental navigator for Salt Spring Island, to increase access to oral health care, improve service delivery and network with private practice dentists and hygienists.
Island Community Mental Health – $7,700
This grant contributes to the planning and development of a new low-barrier social gathering place, designed to provide a range of evidence-based, recovery-oriented psychosocial rehabilitation services, including social engagement, peer support and health and wellness programming.
Island Health –$14,520
This grant provides funding for wrap-around mental health programming for a pilot school wellness centre at Shoreline Middle School. Programming will include group-learning sessions and workshops for parents and guardians as well as school staff, designed to bring the child’s whole team into their supportive strategies, and student skill-building groups addressing themes such as self-esteem and anxiety.
As the lead partner for the initiative in BC, the Victoria Foundation consulted with both experts and those with lived experience to help inform their granting strategy on how to most effectively improve access to oral health in the region. More information about granting from the Victoria Foundation is available on their website at victoriafoundation.ca or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.