In a year unlike any other, it can be easy to forget all we’ve accomplished while we navigate the ever-changing pandemic landscape.
In fact, while the pandemic has remained very much at the forefront of our lives, so too have reconciliation, gender equity, inclusion, the environment and more – matters that if not addressed will continue to present challenges to many who live and work here.
That understanding is at the heart of the Victoria Foundation, which has had its own busy year, committed to building a community that works for all.
From the annual Vital Signs report to a brand new granting fund, here’s a look at just some of what the Victoria Foundation undertook in 2021:
- In January, the Victoria Foundation launched locally the Fund for Gender Equality, a new collaboration between Community Foundations of Canada and the Equality Fund, supported by the Government of Canada. The Victoria Foundation announced distribution of $300,000 to 12 organizations at the heart of the women’s movement, working toward the advancement of gender equality.
- On Feb. 9, the Foundation partnered with Vantage Point and the Vancouver Foundation to publish the Unraveling report, revealing the ongoing struggles of charitable organizations during the pandemic. A follow-up to spring 2020’s No Immunity report, which revealed 15 to 19 per cent of non-profits faced closure, Unraveling found that percentage had since grown: to 48 per cent of non-profits reported facing closure, with 20 per cent indicating that could happen within 12 months.
- The Victoria Foundation marked an amazing 85 years in April, a chance to celebrate some amazing milestones. From its first donation of $20 back in 1936, the Foundation today administers 680 active funds with assets of more than $394 million. Back in 2000, just over $1 million was available to be disbursed as grants. In 2020, the Foundation distributed more than $25 million!
- As local organizations were still weathering the COVID storm,the Foundation distributed $3.13 million in July through its Community Recovery Program, designed to support vulnerable communities affected by the pandemic and strengthen the charitable sector more generally.
- Fall brought the release of the 2021 Vital Signs report, with a focus on equity and inclusion. Partnering with CHEK for the online launch, the event also heralded a new online data hub, Vital Victoria. The companion website offers a wealth of community information, including more than 60 measurable indicators on quality of life, plus news and reports related to the indicators and issue areas, measurements tracking the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and an exclusive feature series.
- Also in October, the Victoria Foundation partnered with Coast Capital to host Vital Conversations: Building an Inclusive Economy at the Canadian Urban Institute’s CUIxVictoria event. Building on the Vital Signs report, the event presented three days of discussions focused on the challenges and opportunities facing the region, and focusing on voices that are often marginalized, including Indigenous, Black and people of colour, youth and newcomers to Canada.
“Looking back at how much has been accomplished over the last year is remarkable, but we also know much work remains to ensure Greater Victoria becomes a community that works for all residents,” says Foundation CEO Sandra Richardson. “As we look ahead to the new year, we invite you to join the discussion, and to consider how you can contribute to a vital Victoria.”