Victoria Foundation’s Vital Youth Philanthropists Present Grants to 18 Local Charities

Victoria, B.C., May 3, 2012 – Representatives of the Victoria Foundation’s Vital Youth program presented a total of $17,684 in grants to 18 local charities last night.

The Vital Youth program provides students with hands-on experience in philanthropy and community development. Formally launched in three schools in November 2003, the program – previously named Youth in Philanthropy – has grown to include seven high schools in three school districts:

• Belmont Secondary School
• Frances Kelsey Secondary School
• Oak Bay High School
• Reynolds Secondary School
• St. Michaels University School
• Stelly's Secondary School
• Victoria High School

Schools participate in the program through a leadership class or a youth advisory committee. The Victoria Foundation allocates each project team $2,500 annually to distribute to federally registered charities on southern Vancouver Island. Using the foundation’s Victoria’s Vital Signs® community report as a tool, the students learn about critical issues in their community. They then research potential charities, conducting interviews and on-site visits. Each participant provides input and the team as a whole decides how to allocate the grant funds.

This year’s grant recipients included groups conducting eco-system restoration work, housing programs for at-risk populations, and a program that has youth volunteers fixing bikes to give away to vulnerable youth (see the full list of grants at the end of this release).

“This is a one-of-a-kind program as it directly gets students involved in their community and gets them making a difference,” said Bree Neale, an Oak Bay High School senior who addressed the event with fellow Vital Youth participant Emma Thompson.

“It’s amazing to see how much of an impact the Vital Youth group makes on not only the charities who receive the grants, but also the students,” said Thompson.

The Vital Youth program is supported by fund-holders at the Victoria Foundation (see backgrounder for list). The program also deposits $500 annually in each participating school’s endowment fund account to generate funds for future granting.

“The size of the grants is relatively small but the impact of the program is unquestionably large,” said the Victoria Foundation’s Board Chair Deirdre Roberts. “Students gain analytical skills and an appreciation of community leadership that supports their future academic and professional endeavors. The program also fosters philanthropic literacy that we hope will encourage participants to support their community throughout their lives.”

The Vital Youth event took place at the Canadian College of Performing Arts, whose students performed an excerpt from their recent musical production of Footloose.

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Vital Youth Grant Allocations – 2012

Belmont Secondary School
Victoria Cool Aid Society – Downtown Activity Centre, Every Step Counts    $625
Victoria Disability Resource Society       $1,250
Wild ARC             $625

Frances Kelsey Secondary

KidSport Canada – Cowichan Branch         $200
Cowichan Search & Rescue Society          $450
Canadian Mental Health Assoc. Cowichan Valley Branch for Bike Works     $650
Cowichan Historical Society           $600
Cowichan Women Against Violence Society for Somenos House      $600

Oak Bay High School
PEERS Victoria Resource Society       $2,500

Reynolds High School
Victoria Integration Society        $2,500

St. Michaels University School
Extreme Outreach Society        $1,000
PEERS Victoria Resource Society          $884
Anawim Companion Society           $750

Stelly’s High School
Victoria Riding for the Disabled       $1,000
Creating Homefulness Society       $1,000
Peninsula Streams Society           $500

Victoria High School
Threshold Housing Society for Mitchell and Holly Houses       $625
Fernwood Community Association          $625
Garry Oak Ecosystem Recovery Team         $625
Victoria Cool Aid Pandora Youth Housing Youth Support       $625



Donations support the Vital Youth program. The following supported the 2011/12 Vital Youth program:

  • Honorary Governors' Millennium Fund (including personal contributions from a number of the Victoria Foundation’s Honorary Governors)
  • Robert and Jane Rogers Fund
  • Saanich Peninsula Foundation Fund
  • Victoria Foundation Vital Youth Program Fund (including contributions from various donors)
  • Anonymous Donor

Grade 12 students Bree Neale and Emma Thompson of Oak Bay High represented Vital Youth participants at the grant ceremony. Both attended the international conference of community foundations in May, 2011, where they met dozens of other youth leaders, grappled with questions of youth engagement, produced video clips on community issues and learned about the community foundation movement.

The Vital Youth grant event was held at the Canadian College of Performing Arts, which Victoria Foundation donors have supported through previous grants for refurbished flooring, lighting and a rehearsal piano.

For more photos, please click here.

For more information, please contact:

Stephanie Slater
Director of Communications, Victoria Foundation
250.381.5532 ext. #227 Cell: 250.686-8477