The Victoria Foundation & Vital Signs
A question facing anyone who wants to engage in meaningful community service is this: where will my time and energy be most impactful? The Victoria Foundation has made answering this question easier. Each year, they produce a report known as Vital Signs. The report focuses on twelve issue areas, such as Economy and Housing, and gives each area an overall grade. Vital Signs allows partner organizations, like Leadership Victoria, to identify areas where Victoria’s population needs the most support. In fact, reading the Vital Signs report is how we choose our Community Action Project focus for the following year. When we concentrate on issues that need more support, we know we're working on causes that matter.
Vital Signs was one of the topics of discussion during our most recent Community Learning Day. Leadership Victoria had a special visit from the Victoria Foundation, one of our key sponsors. Carol Hall and Jonathan Dyck represented the Victoria Foundation and gave an informative presentation about the foundation’s history, mission and ongoing work.
The Victoria Foundation was founded in 1936, during the Great Depression, and is the second oldest community foundation in Canada. The foundation harnesses the philanthropic potential of the Victoria community, and partners with non-profits, businesses and local government, to enact change where it is most needed. This is, of course, dependent on identifying the needs of the community as they shift with the times, hence the production of Vital Signs.
The theme of this years’ Vital Signs report is Equity and Inclusion and it contains some disquieting statistics: 42% percent of Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) respondents do not feel included in Victoria’s community. Similarly, 40% of BIPOC respondents reported that they did not feel respected. As Hall notes, “This is a stark wake-up call for how much work we have to do to create a vibrant, caring community where every person feels like they belong.”
Hall and Dyck encouraged the current Leadership Victoria cohort to consider how they would respond to these concerns in their upcoming Community Action Projects. This year, the focus of these projects is oriented around newcomers to Victoria. Through our Community Action Projects, Leadership Victoria aims to help address the concerns highlighted by BIPOC respondents in Vital Signs.
Stay tuned for more information about Leadership Victoria’s upcoming Community Action Projects, which will be completed in early 2022.
The Victoria Foundation has a fantastic online portal to view the Vital Signs report. To view the report, visit: https://victoriafoundation.bc.ca/vital-signs/