While others moan about the lack of funding for good causes around Greater Victoria, the Victoria Foundation continues quietly to do something about it. More evidence of that dedication arrived this week with the announcement of two new programs that will help a variety of community groups find donors and even loans to carry out their missions.
The foundation, which produces the Vital Signs report every year, is the second-oldest community foundation in Canada. It takes donors’ charitable gifts and turns them into permanent funds that will earn income to fund the causes those donors support. The foundation administers $183 million in assets, whose income goes to groups in arts and culture, community services, education, environment, and health and recreation.
The two new programs offer something for those who give and something for those who receive.
On the giving end is the new Community Knowledge Centre, which is an online database of 50 groups and the work they do.
Do you want to put your money toward services for people with disabilities? The site serves up a list that you can search by region or by Vital Signs issues. Is housing on the top of your priorities? How about housing for First Nations people? The site can narrow your quest.
Each link on the site takes you to a detailed page about the organization, its goals, its history, its impact and the groups it serves. Video clips show the group at work. You’ll see what impact your donation will have.
On the receiving end is the Vital Loan program. In concert with Island Savings, the foundation has created a $4.5-million fund to provide loans to groups in the community like Pacific Opera Victoria. The opera, the first recipient of one of the new loans, signed on for $150,000 to help with its three-production Benjamin Britten series.
The loans are to be paid back in less than 36 months; POV plans to repay its loan by June. The limit is $500,000, and the money can be used for bridge financing, capital projects, renovations and similar one-off expenses.
The program will help groups that might have difficulty getting regular bank loans for these projects.
While the foundation’s yearly Vital Signs report shows areas of need in our region, initiatives like these show the foundation is a leader in not just identifying problems, but also in fixing them.
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