As the Victoria Foundation looks to the coming decade, most of its priorities remain unchanged.
According to Robert Janus, the Foundation’s director of communications, the only difference is how the organization’s ‘annual community check up’ will inform future work.
“We still use the guide as a reference for what we should be working on,” he says. “‘What does the community think is important and what does the evidence say is happening out there?’”
The Vital Signs report surveys residents to measure the vitality of the region, identifying concerns and issues that matter to the people calling Greater Victoria home. That information is connected with data from Statistics Canada and other organizations in an attempt to get an accurate picture of the region.
The Victoria Foundation, which provides more than 1,000 grants to 500 non-profits in the region every year, uses the report to inform philanthropic needs and opportunities for improvement.
Janus says based on the latest report, gender equity is a growing priority. Victoria was ranked the best city in Canada to be a woman for three years in a row, but in 2019 fell to third place behind Kingston, Ont. and St. Johns, Nfld.
He says the Victoria Foundation will continue a series of gender equity labs in 2020.
“We’re looking to explore the current situation here around gender equity – including the issues of employment and equity in the workplace.”
The Foundation will also work hard at building on its successes, Janus adds. The Vital Signs report shows Victoria ranking as the seventh most youthful city in Canada – and leading with education and creative arts.
“We’re working to make sure we continue work in those areas…and doubling down on good things that are happening.”
The report also revealed that Victoria itself had shifted focus in some areas. In a citizen survey of priorities, climate change jumped from ninth place to fourth. And addictions, which previously had not made the top 12, appeared in seventh place.
“We’re looking at ‘how do we take that as some guidance and move forward try to be more strategic? More targeted?’” Janus says.
In March, a conference hosted through a partnership of the Victoria Foundation, the City of Victoria and the New Cities organization will bring climate change experts to the city to talk about what comes next.
“It’s going to be a big event with international presence and many delegates both locally and from across the world,” Janus says. “That’s really exciting for us.”
Janus says the Victoria Foundation will also remain focused on its food security goals.
In May, a $3 million grant from the provincial government secured the purchase of the Mustard Seed’s Food Security Distribution Centre, a hub for the Foundation’s Food Rescue Project, which continues to redistribute fresh food to food insecure communities across the region.
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