New $3 million fund launched to help non-profits on front lines

Emergency grants will go to food banks, shelters and other charities cope with COVID-19

Vancity CEO Tamara Vrooman says new fund provides emergency operating grants to font-line charities whose resources will be strained by pandemic. | Vancity

What Happened: Vancity Credit Union, the Vancouver Foundation and United Way have pooled donations to launch a $3 million fund that will disperse emergency grants to charities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why it matters: Non-profits like food banks and homeless shelters are expected to feel increasing strain from job losses and reduced access to services by the most vulnerable -- seniors and the poor. 

The new Community Response Fund will support charities that provide front-line services to people who are disproportionately affected  by the COVID-19 virus and containment measures.

The grant is starting at $3 million, though the funding partners hope to grow it.

Priority will be given to non-profits that serve the most vulnerable communities, including those groups that are seeing their own staff levels drop due to sickness or mandates to self isolate.

“People want to support one another during tough times, and we encourage them to participate in this unique initiative,” said Michael McKnight, CEO of United Way, Lower Mainland.

“By being nimble and responsive to the evolving needs of the crisis, the Community Response Fund will strengthen our community’s long-term resiliency.”

The funding will be granted as emergency operating grants to help non-profit groups maintain or expand their services.

"The idea is to create money and have an expedited approval process for emergency grants for not-for-profit organizations that are serving the most vulnerable populations," said Vancity CEO Tama Vrooman. 

The Vancouver Foundation and Vancity are each contributing $1 million. The United Way is contributing $500,000.

To find out out to contribute, click here. 

nbennett@biv.com

@nbennett_biv