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Sandra Richardson: Bringing our voices forward, together

Every year, Victoria’s annual Vital Signs Report provides a snapshot of the vitality of our region
The Victoria Foundation office in downtown Victoria. TIMES COLONIST

Sometimes, the first step to addressing issues in our community can come from a simple question. This month, we can look around our community and ask, “what can we do, together?”

There are many issues across our community, from the costs of housing and food to staffing shortages, and more. While these issues put a strain on many families and individuals, it’s also important to remind ourselves that charitable organizations at the core of our community are not immune to these challenges either.

These organizations employ staff, put meals on tables, rent office space, and even work to address physical and mental health. As costs go up, so do the costs for the charitable organizations in our community. So, this month we can ask the question of what we can do together and share our opinions through one small act.

The Victoria Foundation’s 18th annual Vital Signs Survey is open now, until June 2. The survey covers 12 key issues areas including housing, standard of living and the economy. Results from the survey are used in the annual Vital Signs report in the fall.

Every year, Victoria’s annual Vital Signs Report provides a snapshot of the vitality of our region across 12 issue areas. The report is a tool used by the Victoria Foundation, donors, and community leaders to drive change and action in our community.

One example is the Victoria Foundation’s Vital Youth program. We recently gathered to celebrate the program’s 20th year with students from this year’s program. Every year, students in leadership groups engage with their community, learning first-hand from registered charities on Southern Vancouver Island about the work they do and the issues they address.

Each group is granted $3,000 to grant to registered charities of their choice. They research issues, learn about organizations and conduct site visits. Over the program’s 20-year history, Vital Youth has granted over $400,000 back into the community. One of the tools the students use is Victoria’s annual Vital Signs report.

The Vital Signs report helps drive action in our region, which drives support for the charitable sector. It helps keep the Victoria Foundation on track to best meet the needs of the community, and all of this starts with the annual citizen survey.

This year, when you take the survey, you can complete a short or long-form version. Just by completing the short-form survey, you also are entered into a draw for one of three $100 gift cards to Country Grocer. You can head to our website,, to complete the survey today.

And yet, those minutes it takes to complete the survey pale in comparison to the hours, days, and months of work charitable organizations pour into our community. So, even though times may be tough for many of us, let us not forget about the organizations working diligently for our community. By joining our voices together, we can answer the question of “what can we do, together” with a resounding chorus of support.

Sandra Richardson is CEO of the Victoria Foundation.

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