It’s a model that’s been called the “YouTube of philanthropy.”
The Victoria Foundation announced an initiative Monday called the Community Knowledge Centre, an online hub showcasing the work of local charities to potential donors and others, based on a similar site in Toronto.
Foundation CEO Sandra Richardson called the Community Knowledge Centre the “next step” for Victoria’s Vital Signs report, which provides a snapshot of quality of life in the city.
The site hosts videos and information about the ways community organizations respond to problems identified in the report. Visitors can filter listings by issue, geographic area or population served.
The foundation also unveiled the Vital Loan program, offering short-term loans to arts organizations through a partnership with Island Savings.
Victoria is the first city outside of Toronto to launch the centre, with 50 participating groups. It’s located at ckc.victoriafoundation.bc.ca.
The Toronto Community Foundation pioneered models for both the Vital Signs report and the centre.
“When you have that knowledge of what’s happening, you really should have a sense of what the solutions are,” said CEO and president Rahul Bhardwaj, who described the centre as the “YouTube of philanthropy.”
About 200 organizations in Toronto have participated. “Donors are very keen on it because it helps connect them with impactful activities and programs in the community,” Bhardwaj said. “[The public] can get a sense of just how many people and groups are out there building stronger communities.”
The Vital Loan program aims to support charities on southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, with an emphasis on short-term bridge funding. The total Vital Loan fund is just over $4 million. “Some loans may be $20,000,” Richardson said. “But [charities] could access as much as $500,000 for 36 months.”
Pacific Opera Victoria received the first loan, valued at $150,000, which the company will repay by June. “They’ve really expanded out to the community this year in a very collaborative way and that’s something that we like to support,” Richardson said.
POV director Patrick Corrigan said February and March are the company’s leanest months. This year, the Britten Festival — a three-production celebration of composer Benjamin Britten involving school and community groups — added extra strain. “I don’t think it would have quite been possible to pull off without this money,” Corrigan said.
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