Dozens of charity organizations are breathing a sigh of relief after learning they’ll receive federal government relief from its Emergency Community Support Fund.
United Way Greater Victoria and the Victoria Foundation are administering 60 federal grants worth $1.6 million to charities around the south Island. The money is intended to help organizations adapt frontline services to support vulnerable citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Victoria Native Friendship Centre was among the recipients, receiving funding to help transition to virtual online programming for staff working with at-risk children and youth, and for filling food hampers for vulnerable Indigenous elders and families.
“This has a huge impact on our bottom line,” said executive director Ron Rice in a release. “We could not do all that we do without support from funders such as United Way and Victoria Foundation, nor could we continue to provide the services we do to urban Indigenous families, elders, the disabled and the disenfranchised.”
More than 120 grant applications were received for the program, many of which related to staffing, and technology needs related to shifting services from in-person to digital platforms. United Way and Victoria Foundation jointly went through the applications to determine feasibility and need.
Among the grants issued, the Island Deaf and Hard of Hearing Centre Association received support to safely re-open and deliver services, including hearing aids to people whose social isolation has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis.
Other grants helped digitize an opera performance and bring it to schools, provide haircuts for women before job interviews through a subsidy to a salon, fund an intergenerational support program that matches Indigenous youth with vulnerable elders, and launch a free online literary festival.
“The funding provided via these grants will help to mitigate the devastating impacts the pandemic has had on the [service and charitable sector] and the vulnerable populations they serve,” said Victoria Foundation CEO Sandra Richardson.