With $20 donated by his mother, Fannie, Burges Gadsden, right, founded the Victoria Foundation out of the Sunshine Inn, a soup kitchen he ran on Pandora Avenue.

With $20 donated by his mother, Fannie, Burges Gadsden, right, founded the Victoria Foundation out of the Sunshine Inn, a soup kitchen he ran on Pandora Avenue.

How an innovative idea + $20 created 85-year community legacy

Back in 1936, Burges Gadsden had a seemingly simple, yet innovative, idea: Build an organization that with a solid source of funds could provide support to local charities.

Inspired by that vision – and with $20 donated by his mother, Fannie – Gadsen founded the Victoria Foundation out of the Sunshine Inn, a soup kitchen he ran on Pandora Avenue. In 1969, with $22,000 in assets, the first grants of $7,000 were made to the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Victoria, Maritime Museum of British Columbia, and the Association for Community Living.

Fast forward to today, and that ingenuity and generosity continue to have an enormous impact on the community they called home. So as the Victoria Foundation marks its 85th anniversary, it’s equally important to reflect on its recent years of incredible growth, and equally incredible community impact.

In 1969, with $22,000 in assets, the Victoria Foundation’s first grants of $7,000 were made to the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Victoria, Maritime Museum of British Columbia, and the Association for Community Living.

In 1969, with $22,000 in assets, the Victoria Foundation’s first grants of $7,000 were made to the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Victoria, Maritime Museum of British Columbia, and the Association for Community Living.

A legacy of trust

Under the guidance of current CEO Sandra Richardson, the Foundation has enjoyed unprecedented growth.

From 59 active funds in 2001, that number had grown to 640 by the end of 2020. Similarly, assets at the Foundation have grown from $23.7 million in 2000 to more than $351 million today.

And the impact? In 2000, just over $1 million was available to be disbursed as grants. Last year,the Foundation distributed more than $25 million – more than $2 million a month!

Key to that growth has been the community’s generosity and its trust in the Victoria Foundation, from large organizations to individuals and families who’ve established donor-advised funds and legacy gifts to ensure their money is granted to the issues that matter most to them.

Innovations have continued through programs like the Community Action Funds, which give donors the opportunity to give directly to the causes that matter to them the most. Whether the arts, health, the environment, social justice or one of the many other cause areas, donors again put their trust in the Victoria Foundation to ensure their gift is put to the highest and best use.

The next 20 years, and beyond

Today, the Foundation builds on this legacy, looking forward to the next 20 years and beyond.

It remains firm in its commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, a collection of 17 interlinked global goals to achieve a more sustainable future for all, and to growing its commitment to equity and diversity, both in our community and within the organization itself. Key to that will be the next iteration of the Foundation’s Gadsden Initiative, engaging a new generation of global citizens looking to make a lasting difference in their community.

After all, throughout its evolution, the Victoria Foundation has remained committed to helping everyone realize their philanthropic goals, from $10 to help the environment to a legacy gift to support the community in perpetuity.

Help guide community giving

And donations aren’t the only way to help build community. Individuals from throughout the region are also encouraged to participate in the 16th annual Vital Signs Survey – a quick, simple way to help guide community giving in a meaningful way. Click here to have your say through July 1.

READ MORE: Take the 2021 Vital Signs Survey, help the region chart a course forward

CommunityPhilanthropyVictoria Foundation

Just Posted

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Jesse Roper tackles weeds in his garden to kick off the 2021 season of What’s In My Garden Man? (YouTube/Whats In My Garden)
VIDEO: Metchosin singer-songwriter Jesse Roper invites gardeners into his plot

What’s In My Garden, Man? kicks off with the poop on compost

Barriers to rental housing brought on by no-pet rules add stress to renters, says councillor. (Pixabay)
Saanich councillor wants to remove barriers to housing for pet owners

Motion calling for province to amend lease stipulations against pet ownership defeated in 5-4 vote

(Victoria Cool Aid Society/Facebook)
Victoria food drive aims to feed those also struggling with housing

Quadra Village furniture store hosting drive-thru event Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Karl and Stephanie Ann Johanson were thrilled to spot a pair of Sandhill Cranes in the Panama Flats this month, an unusual appearance for such birds. (Photo by Stephanie Ann Johanson)
WATCH: Sandhill cranes an unusual, joyful sight in Saanich parkland

The birds don’t often touch down in the south of the Island

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Freighters have becomd abundant in the Trincomali Channel on the east side of Thetis Island.
Nanaimo ponders taking on waste from nearby anchored freighters

Vancouver-based Tymac petitioning the Regional District of Nanaimo to accept waste at its landfill

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Most Read