In less than 36 hours, the Rapid Relief Fund, through the Victoria Foundation, collected an amazing $1 million to disperse to five local groups representing more than 80 organizations: the Mustard Seed; Stan Hagen Centre for Families; Salvation Army Addiction & Rehabilitation Centre; the Food Share Network; and the Coalition of Neighbourhood Houses Capital Region.

Community comes together to fund Rapid Relief

Entrepreneurs, community, Victoria Foundation fight local impact of COVID-19

In challenging times, communities come together.

Proof of that is as close as a coalition of Greater Victoria business and philanthropic partners who in the face of mounting COVID-19 impact in the local community, created the Rapid Relief Fund.

In less than 36 hours, the fund collected an amazing $1 million to disperse to five local groups representing more than 80 organizations: the Mustard Seed; Stan Hagen Centre for Families; Salvation Army Addiction & Rehabilitation Centre; the Food Share Network; and the Coalition of Neighbourhood Houses Capital Region.

As community need continues to grow, so does this campaign.

Donations beyond the first $1 million will be used to support additional urgent community needs identified by community leaders working in coronavirus emergency relief.

Victoria Foundation CEO Sandra Richardson has assembled a voluntary advisory group of community partners who will provide input before bringing a recommendation to the Victoria Foundation Board of Directors, who will approve all grants to registered charities and qualified donees across the region.

“We’ve adapted very quickly to be able to respond appropriately to the local need while still ensuring the proper transparency and accountability, and that’s the benefit of working with an organization that has served the community for 84 years,” Richardson says.

Funds will be released on a rolling basis, throughout the outbreak and recovery phases of the crisis, making it possible to move resources quickly and adapt to evolving needs, likely supporting everything from shelter to childcare to health needs, says Rob Janus, Victoria Foundation Director of Communications.

How you can help:

“Everyone is invited – and encouraged – to contribute to the fund as we move through this crisis together,” Richardson says. “The need continues to evolve, and whether through economic challenges, health concerns or the impacts of isolation, this is affecting your friends, your family, your neighbours.”

Visit RapidReliefFund.ca to donate safely and securely online – with your credit card or PayPal account. Mailed cheques and donations via phone at 250-381-5532 are also welcome.

Spearheaded by Robert Jawl, of Jawl Properties and the Jawl Foundation, the Times Colonist and the Victoria Foundation, the Rapid Relief Fund also includes support from CHEK TV, Black Press Media and Coast Outdoor Advertising. To get things rolling quickly, the Victoria Foundation contributed $250,000, and the Jawl family $100,000; last week, a group of 9 entrepreneurs led by Andrew Wilkinson of Tiny Capital, pledged to match all funds received between March 25 and 29, up to $355,000!

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Established in 1936, the Victoria Foundation is Canada’s second oldest community foundation, managing charitable gifts from donors whose generosity allows them to create permanent, income-earning funds. As the capital region’s largest non-government funder, proceeds from these funds are distributed as grants for charitable or educational purposes.

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