Sandra Richardson, CEO of the Victoria Foundation, says the diversity of projects who apply for the community grants is incredible. Don Descoteau/Victoria News

Victoria Foundation hands out record number of community grants

Annual year-end program tops $2.3 million, 2017 total awarded reaches $20 million

The Victoria Foundation set a record this month, allotting $2.3 million in community grants to help 104 non-profit organizations across Vancouver Island.

Awarded each December, the grants are supported by the foundation’s Vital Victoria Fund as well as individual donors.

“Each year, we see such a diversity of amazing projects that apply for our community grants,” said foundation CEO Sandra Richardson. “From tackling the opioid crisis, to supporting single parents, fostering environmental stewardship, to 25 different arts and culture projects, the range is incredible.”

The Victoria Foundation board has made homelessness and food security its top priorities for the Vital Victoria Fund.

To that end, 2017 grants included a $15,000 award to the Victoria Native Friendship Centre, supporting their youth leadership programming in Indigenous food knowledge; and $35,000 for the Salt Spring Island Farmland Trust Society’s Food Hub, which supports sustainable local food production.

Bruce Parisian, executive director of Saanich-based Victoria Native Friendship Centre, was grateful for the grant and the foundation’s continued recognition of their work. The funding enables the centre to continue its cultural teachings through the Youth Leadership Program.

“The revitalization of Indigenous food systems and knowledge are essential to the preservation of the cultural identities and self-esteem of these young people, and empowers them to live healthier cultural lifestyles,” he said.

The Victoria Foundation – the region’s largest non-government funder – has awarded $20 million over the course of 2017 and $196 million since it began in 1936.

A full list of all 104 projects funded is available at VictoriaFoundation.ca

kristyn.anthony@vicnews.com

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