Even the smallest charity fundraisers take several months to organize. CHEK-TV pulled one together in a matter of weeks — and a big, starry one at that.
Rock for Relief: A Living Room Concert for Vancouver Island airs tonight at 8 on CHEK. The joint fundraising initiative by CHEK, the Victoria Foundation and the Nanaimo Foundation came about with generous support from a range of hometown notables, from former NBA star Steve Nash to musician David Foster.
Both will appear alongside more than a dozen other musicians and celebrities, including some with roots on Vancouver Island.
“It was a combination of people at the station who knew people,” said CHEK station manager Rob Germain.
“Everyone we talked to just readily agreed that this was the right thing to do.”
The fundraising effort put together by the TV station will raise money for those most in need in Vancouver Island communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Donors will be able to direct their funds to either the Rapid Relief Fund, which supports Greater Victoria and the Cowichan Valley, or the Community Response Fund (also called the Island Response Fund), which assists communities north of the Cowichan Valley.
CHEK broadcasters Stacy Ross, Joe Perkins, Ed Bain and Jeff King will host the hour-long benefit concert. In pre-recorded segments, Foster and his wife, Katharine McPhee, will perform, as will former Salt Spring Island resident Randy Bachman and his son, Tal Bachman — who will be premièring a new version of the Bachman-Turner Overdrive hit Takin’ Care of Business, re-written as Takin’ Care of People.
Two “virtual choirs” led by choir director Marc Jenkins will deliver a rendition of the Beatles’ With a Little Help from My Friends, with 88 local singers participating.
Silken Laumann, Rick Hansen, Lauren Spencer-Smith, the Tenors, Jesse Roper, Carmanah and Michael Kaeshammer, among others, will appear.
“Doing something that’s this big, this high-profile, it’s all new to us, for sure,” said Robert Janus, director of communications for the Victoria Foundation.
“It’s overwhelming and inspiring at the same time, and humbling, the amount of support that is pouring in from all corners of our community. It’s incredible.”
The Victoria Foundation, the largest non-government funder of charities in the region, works behind the scenes with donors who contribute to its permanent endowment fund, and distributes almost $2 million in grants each month, Janus said.
While their work with donors happens year-round, they have never seen anything like the community’s support for the Rapid Relief Fund, an initiative with the Jawl Foundation and the Times Colonist, which has raised more than $4.3 million in just over three weeks.
“We’ve got passing $5 million in our sights with Rock for Relief,” he said. “I’m looking to that as a goal.”
Kathryn Calder, the City of Victoria’s artist in residence, who will perform Adventures in Solitude by her band the New Pornographers, didn’t hesitate when she was asked to participate. In the absence of concerts and festivals, Rock for Relief gives viewers the experience of a performance from the comfort — and safety — of their own homes. “I’m really proud of how our community has stepped up,” Calder said. “Everybody’s doing what they can, even if that means staying home. This is kind of the next best thing — being together, even when we’re not together.”
Germain seconded Calder’s sentiments. “A lot of people are looking for a sense of community right now, while we’re all forced to be apart. This is the kind of event that’s going to bring us all together.”
Rock for Relief airs tonight at 8 on CHEK and on the station’s Facebook and YouTube pages.
> For more information on the Rapid Relief Fund, established by the Victoria Foundation, the Times Colonist and the Jawl Foundation, go to rapidrelieffund.ca.
> For more on the Community Response Fund, created by the Nanaimo Foundation and the Tom Harris Community Foundation, go to islandresponsefund.ca.
HOW TO DONATE
Tax receipts will be issued. If you are open to receiving your tax receipt by PDF, please include an email address with your donation.
• Online: RapidReliefFund.ca
• Phone: 250-381-5532
• Mail: Send cheques (made out to the Victoria Foundation) to RapidRelief Fund, Victoria Foundation,
200-703 Broughton St., Victoria V8W 1E2
The Rapid Relief Fund was created by the Victoria Foundation, the Jawl Foundation, and the Times Colonist to help people in need as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. CHEK Television, Coast Outdoor Advertising and Black Press are helping to boost awareness. Every dollar received from donations goes out as grants to the community.
Donations are being distributed through the Victoria Foundation.