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Sandra Richardson: A summer of sun, a sea of support

Pausing to reflect on the question “Is what we’re doing today, enough for tomorrow?”
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The Victoria Foundation office in downtown Victoria. TIMES COLONIST

As the days grow warmer and summer approaches, it signals a time of rest and relaxation. Schools close and summer camps open. As time slows for the summer, I find it even more important to pause and reflect on the question “is what we’re doing today, enough for tomorrow?”

The season may signal plans for vacations and gatherings. It can be a break from the stresses of everyday life. However, charities in our community continue to work to help create a vibrant, caring community for all, year-round.

Issues such as housing, food security, and equality are ever present, even through the summer months. They continue to affect the quality of life in our region. That’s why the work of the charitable sector is so integral to keeping our community moving forward for tomorrow.

Some of summer’s greatest joys are supported by charitable organizations. This includes the Art Gallery’s Moss Street paint-in, or the Victoria Symphony’s outdoor concerts that bring life to our region. Look to summer camps for our youth led by organizations like PISE. These are the staples of a joyous summer, yet a lot of work goes into organizing these events year-round.

I offer my utmost thanks to these organizations and individuals. Times may be challenging, but the care and forethought they show for our community illustrate we are in good care.

However, for our community, I offer a reflection. As we prepare for a well-deserved summer, we can also take a moment to pause and — like a good neighbour — step forward and show support for the work of these organizations.

At the Victoria Foundation, we’ve seen a record number of organizations come forward requesting funding. That need for support is higher than ever as the gap between funding and need grows. That gap continues through the summer. The Victoria Foundation and other funders are seeing significant increases in funding requests. This is true for our annual Community Grants Program, which is expected to provide a record amount of funding yet still leave a significant gap based on need. Housing, cost of living and staffing are just a few of the issues that add to the pressure on the charitable sector.

However, as times get tough, I’m encouraged by the thought of friendly neighbours stepping up in times of need. What it takes is everyone stepping forward and connecting with these charities at the centre of our community. We’re fortunate to work with them year-round, and the Victoria Foundation is only one phone call away to connect you to these organizations that are the backbone of our community.

So, as we prepare for a well-deserved summer of vacation and rest, let’s all acknowledge our community and what keeps it moving through the season. We may not be able to offer a day off, but we can step forward to all be champions of the charitable sector.

Because when we do that, we take one step forward to help our community tomorrow.

Sandra Richardson is CEO of the Victoria Foundation.

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