Victoria’s new philanthropic frontier

City considers asking for donations toward capital projects

Crews work on improvements to Fisherman’s Wharf Park last month. Capital projects that improve quality of life

Call it a sign of the times.

Victoria residents will soon have the opportunity to make a donation toward their city’s capital projects, if a new legacy fund gets the green light from city council.

While endowment funds are typically directed to a social service or centre for the arts, the proposed Shape Your Future Legacy Fund will direct citizen donations to such projects as bike lanes, playgrounds or bus shelters.

“In the long term we could use this fund to build a new swimming pool, or do anything that citizens want to do,” said Coun. Lisa Helps.

She is scheduled to introduce the idea to council at its governance and priorities committee meeting tomorrow (July 19).

At a time when the city faces an infrastructure deficit of approximately $500 million, the fund could help the city achieve the types of things that improve quality of life, freeing up money to deal with necessary infrastructure projects, such as sewers and roads.

If council approves the fund – alongside a $7,500 contribution – it would likely be the first in Canada. It could prove to be the new frontier of philanthropy as municipalities across North America find creative ways to deal with crumbling infrastructure and declining revenues.

Whether Victoria residents will have an appetite to donate is another question. Taxpayers have come to expect their tax dollars will pay for the types of projects that this legacy fund targets.

“It may very well have some appeal, but it’s hard to say,” said Sandra Richardson, CEO of the Victoria Foundation. “It’s perhaps not as appealing (as other endowment funds), but if you think about all the wonderful things that are in the city and if people think ‘my goodness, the city can’t afford to do this, maybe if I left something of my estate, the Crystal Pool could continue to exist.’”

When Richardson first heard of the idea, she called Helps and offered to partner with the city to manage the fund.

The Victoria Foundation has offered $7,500 on condition the city matches the contribution.

People could make a small monthly donation, or make a large one-time donation, Helps said.

Crystal Pool, she pointed out, was built thanks to a legacy from the McPherson family. Today, the pool is nearing the end of its serviceable life, but the city has no funds allocated to replace the facility. A new campaign through the Legacy Fund could put donations to work to build its replacement.

Embracing this type of fund will take an attitude of ownership, said Richardson.

“It should be more about ‘If this is our community, how do we keep it to be this beautiful, vibrant community?’ Funding in all three government sectors has really been pushed back, so it does cause people to say, ‘how can we work differently?’ It will be quite interesting to see the result of this.”

rholmen@vicnews.com

Just Posted

More wind storms to hit Vancouver Island, expected to taper off for Christmas Day

Another special weather statement in effect for evening of Dec. 19

Councillor criticizes board overseeing wastewater treatment project

Coun. Judy Brownoff accuses project board of ignoring public input

Catch last call and a cheap ride home: Late night buses coming to Victoria in 2019

New plan will extend service on weekends with last trip leaving downtown at 3 a.m.

West Shore RCMP investigating after parking lot carjacking in Langford

Man was thrown from his vehicle near Millstream Road McDonald’s Monday night

Courtesy parking tickets invite Victoria to pay it forward

Christmas program to cut drivers a break in the city has run for more than two decades

Santa visits some of Victoria General Hospital’s littlest patients

Santa flew in to the hospital via air ambulance helicopter

READER POLL: Do you have turkey or ham for Christmas dinner?

What are you having for Christmas dinner? Canadians gobbled up 3.3 million… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 18, 2018

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

UBC study could spare cancer patients from side effects of radiation

Her research has drawn a connection of Chromosome 6 genes to pulmonary fibrosis susceptibility.

‘Laverne & Shirley’ star, ‘Big’ director Penny Marshall dies

Marshall died of complications from diabetes on Monday, Dec. 17, 2018, at her Hollywood Hills home. She was 75.

B.C. Court of Appeal to rule in terror case that centres on RCMP conduct

B.C.’s appeal court is scheduled to release a decision today on a couple whose guilty verdict over plotting to blow up the provincial legislature was thrown out by a lower court judge.

Trump backs off on demand for $5 billion to build a border wall

Congress and President Donald Trump continue to bicker over his demand that lawmakers fund a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Canadian detained in China, not clear if related to two other detentions

Reports suggest the person is not a diplomat or entrepreneur doing business in China.

Trudeau sees 2019 election as choice between positive Liberals, divisive Tories

Trudeau is drawing much the same battle lines that propelled the Liberals to a come-from-behind victory in 2015

Most Read