What do you do when a core reason for your organization’s being – to share creative talents with an audience – is suspended? And when the halting of those performances also eliminates essential revenue?
These are questions local arts organizations have faced this year as they, like so many others, struggle to navigate the impacts of COVID-19.
They’re also why the Victoria Foundation’s Community Recovery Program grants have been crucial to arts organizations like Intrepid Theatre, which in any other year would have hosted major in-person events, including the Victoria Fringe Festival and the Uno Festival.
“Support from the Victoria Foundation’s Community Relief Program has been vital to Intrepid Theatre’s overall stability while pivoting all operations,” says Heather Lindsay, Intrepid’s Artistic and Executive Director. “From discovering online adaptations to our festivals, to reconfiguring our venues to be able to safely open our doors when the time is right, to finding ways to keep artists and audiences connected, every aspect of Intrepid’s operations has changed, and having the Community Recovery Program support allows us to continue to stay creative, hopeful, and operating.”
The arts grants are part of more than $2.3 million distributed by the Foundation to help 126 Southern Vancouver Island organizations weather the pandemic’s catastrophic effects. Through the Community Recovery Program, flexible, general operating funds help provide financial security now and moving forward, and strengthen the charitable sector more generally.
Of the $2,389,996 the Foundation is granting, just over $750,000 has come from direct donations made either to the Community Action Funds or from Donor Advised Funds. Launched in September 2020, these Community Action Funds let donors give directly to issue areas in our community. For example, the JAYMAC Fund, a donor-advised fund held at the Foundation, contributed a $100,000 gift to the Arts & Culture Fund, in support of the arts sector.
Other funds target groups working in support of the environment, mental health, racial equity and housing – organizations responding directly to community needs that are often exacerbated by the ongoing impact of the pandemic. Pandemic recovery is also supported through the ongoing Rapid Relief Fund, launched quickly after the pandemic made its way to BC in early spring.
“The pandemic has had a dramatic impact on local charitable organizations, including longstanding arts groups that have also seen key revenue streams halted. At the same time, we know how vital these groups are to the overall well-being of our community, and we are grateful for the generosity that allows us to offer this support,” says Victoria Foundation CEO Sandra Richardson.
Moving forward, the Victoria Foundation will continue to evaluate funding opportunities as community needs evolve. To help in these efforts, contribute to the Community Action Funds at victoriafoundation.bc.ca.