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Sandra Richardson: Refocusing and reconnecting with community this September

September is a wonderful time of year for refocus and reconnection, to donate our time, talent or treasure, and to create a sense of belonging for all.
Sandra Richardson from the Victoria Foundation. ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST

Always, on the brink of autumn, my thoughts turn to the needs of the community with a little more intensity. September is a wonderful time of year for refocus and reconnection. Children are settling back into their classrooms; many in the community have returned, refreshed and motivated, from some time off enjoying the hot summer sun.

It’s a time of year when we often sink back into rhythms and routines, take deep breaths and refocus our minds and our schedules with a renewed sense of motivation.

We can also harness this rejuvenation to connect with the broad scope of people in our community, to donate our time, talent or treasure, and to create a sense of belonging for everyone.

At the Victoria Foundation, we’re reconnecting with all the wonderful organizations, businesses, and individuals who are working to make our region a healthy and caring place to live, as we move into the cooler months.

Thanks to our generous donors, we have a healthy slate of initiatives this September.

We revived our local Will Power campaign, part of a national initiative to inspire the community to use their wills as powerful tools for giving, and we’ve begun accepting applications for this year’s Neighbourhood Small Grants program for those looking to lead a project — perhaps a multicultural event or a skill-building workshop — aimed at strengthening their neighbourhood.

I’d also like to recognize our community’s ever-growing support for local Indigenous groups, in the lead up to National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Sept. 30. I’m grateful that the foundation is working with a new Indigenous granting advisory co-ordinator, and that a new funding initiative is being led by strong Indigenous women.

I’m further inspired by the relentless work of local Indigenous organizations, such as the Hulitan Family and Community Services Society that is working to provide programs and services for resilience in children and families, and the First Peoples’ Cultural Foundation, whose mission to support Indigenous language, art, and cultural heritage has made great impacts in Victoria and the rest of B.C.

Of course, there are many more, and the well-being of Indigenous communities would not be the same without them.

As we prepare to release our annual Vital Signs report, I’m pleased to say that our event to celebrate its launch will be open to the general public on Oct. 5, at 4 p.m., at the Victoria Conference Center. Please RSVP online at Eventbrite and come listen to our magnificent keynote speaker, Dr. Robyne Hanley-Dafoe, whose awe-inspiring speech on resilience will surely captivate the audience.

Finally, the Victoria Foundation has refreshed its purpose statement to better reflect the agency our generous community has to give to those who need it most. The foundation seeks to create a sense of belonging that inspires philanthropy, essential partnerships, and collaboration, and makes a lasting contribution to our community.

These initiatives owe everything to the compassionate people dedicated to every sector of local well-being, from housing and food security to Indigenous and LGBTQIA+ issues.

So, I extend my sincerest thanks to you, for reconnecting with your community this autumn, for tuning into causes that matter most to you, and for continuing to support your home.