When the Victoria Foundation launched its 13th annual Vital Signs survey last month, it did so with an eye to attracting respondents from far beyond “Victoria.”
Through the online survey, the Foundation asks Capital Region residents to weigh in with their opinions on 12 issue areas critical to our community. Respondents are asked to identify what they think are the most important issues facing the region today as part of the community check-up.
“We really want to encourage as much input as we can from throughout our community,” notes Rob Janus, Victoria Foundation Director of Communications. “While we typically get good response from the four core communities, we don’t hear as much from the Saanich Peninsula, West Shore and Sooke.”
Your voice has an impact
However, given the magnitude of Foundation grants distributed – $20 million last year – plus the many decision-makers who weigh feedback from the survey in their various initiatives, it’s vital to get an accurate view from throughout the region, Janus says.
“Vital Signs is our guiding document as to how we can distribute funds most effectively, so the impact of that publication is huge,” he says. “We provide grants across the region, so we want to hear from all areas – what do residents think are the priorities? If we’re not hearing from people in the West Shore or on the Peninsula, we may be missing something.”
Vital Signs check-up
Once responses are tabulated, the Victoria Foundation publishes Vital Signs, a combination of public opinion and statistics that provides a snapshot of livability and wellbeing throughout the region. The 2018 survey, open through July 1, is easily completed on mobile and tablet, so respondents can participate no matter how they get online. New this year, the Foundation has added a panel survey, whose respondents will mirror the demographic makeup of Greater Victoria, offering a second source of data, Janus says.
Vital Signs is a national program co-ordinated by Community Foundations of Canada that leverages community knowledge to measure the vitality of our communities and support action towards improving quality of life.
“At our foundation, we make granting decisions based on the top issues and opportunities identified in Vital Signs,” says Victoria Foundation CEO Sandra Richardson. “Citizens play a key role in helping to guide our organization and the many others who also use Vital Signs as a reference for granting, planning or other strategic activities.”
Established in 1936, the Victoria Foundation is Canada’s second oldest community foundation and the sixth largest of nearly 200 nation-wide. Managing charitable gifts from donors whose generosity allows them to create permanent, income-earning funds, proceeds from these funds are distributed as grants for charitable or educational purposes. To date the Victoria Foundation has invested more than $200 million in people, projects and non-profit organizations strengthening communities in B.C. and throughout Canada.