Several weeks ago, we set an optimistic goal of $125,000 for this year’s Times Colonist literacy fundraiser. I say “optimistic” because the pandemic meant that in place of our usual book drive and sale, all we could do was ask for donations of money.
Yet generous readers blew that goal out of the water, donating an amazing $164,300 to the Times Colonist Literacy Society by this year’s deadline. That included a major boost from a $27,200 bequest from an estate.
The non-profit literacy society raises money for school libraries and literacy organizations. Donations are boosted by a contribution from the provincial government, via Decoda Literacy Solutions on behalf of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs.
The more we raise, the more we get from Decoda, and the more we can put to work. Since we started raising money for literacy in 1998, we have distributed $5.8 million throughout our coverage area.
This year’s money came in several ways, donated amounts ranging from $5 to $15,000.
That $15,000 came from David Bird, who was also a major supporter of last year’s effort. A local family (anonymous, please) gave $25,000. The Golf for Kids organization donated $15,000.
We had a mini book drive in August, with all of the books turned over to Russell Books. That brought $30,000 into the society, and as a side benefit put more books into hundreds of the little free libraries throughout Greater Victoria.
The end of this year’s drive brings a start to the next one. The need for literacy never ends, so our fundraising cannot end either. Donations made now will count towards next year’s fundraising, which will — fingers crossed — involve a public book sale for the first time since 2019.
Don’t forget that a $1,000 donation challenge is still open. Andrew Beckerman has put up $1,000, and is urging others to do the same.
People like Bird and Beckerman see the value of literacy in the community. It is the difference between being able to function in the world and not. The Times Colonist fund provides teachers and other literacy champions with the tools they need to do their vital work.
If you donate online at canadahelps.org/en/dn/36542, you will get an immediate tax receipt. Or you could mail a cheque to the Times Colonist Literacy Society, 201-655 Tyee Rd., Victoria, B.C. V9A 6X5.
Thanks again for your support!
Dave Obee is editor and publisher of the Times Colonist.
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