Victoria Foundation’s Rapid Relief Fund raises $5 million in 31 days

Victoria Foundation's Rapid Relief Fund raises $5 million in 31 days
A month after it was first launched, the Rapid Relief Fund has raised more than $5 million.

A month after it was first launched, the Rapid Relief Fund has raised more than $5 million.

Established by the Victoria Foundation, Times Colonist and the Jawl Foundation, the Rapid Relief Fund helps people in need during the COVID-19 pandemic. Every dollar the fund receives goes directly to local charities in the Greater Victoria and Cowichan Valley.

At the time of writing, a total of $5,013,679 has been donated to the fund.

Sandra Richardson, chief executive officer of the Victoria Foundation, told CHEK News the fund exceeded its target goal sometime early Tuesday morning. She said she is grateful to all those who have stepped up during such a difficult time.

“I have absolute gratitude to everybody on the Island who has stepped up at this time to our charitable sector,” she said. “It is just heartwarming.”

Now having exceeded $5 million, the foundation is hoping the relief fund can reach $6 million.

“The need doesn’t stop at $5 million . . . this is a very tough time,” Richardson said.

The Rapid Relief Fund was officially launched on March 21 with an initial goal of $1 million. Within 36 hours, the fund had received over $1 million in donations.

“It’s just amazing,” Richardson said.

“We’re not normally a fundraising organization . . . but that first hurdle of $1 million seemed to have spoken to the community and then gradually what has happened is these different groups have come along to step up and that to me is quite surprising.”

Numerous other organizations and companies have come forward since then and donated their time and money to the fund.

CHEK recently hosted Rock for Relief: A Living Room Concert for Vancouver Island, a virtual concert that featured 88 singers including David Foster. The event raised approximately $400,000 for the fund, including the $100,000 donation from the Gadsden Initiative.

Thrifty Foods announced on Saturday that it would match all donations made to the Rapid Relief Fund up to $100,000 until midnight on April 22. By that point a total of $4.92 million had been donated to the fund and Thrifty’s pledge ensured that it would exceed $5 million.

Richardson said it is somewhat surprising that the fund has been able to raise $5 million. She said once the Rock for Relief concert aired, she was confident they would exceed their target.

“After seeing the results of the Rock for Relief concert on the weekend, it just made us humbled and fired up at the same time,” Richardson said. “I felt that the $5 million would be achieved quite quickly and when Thrifty’s stepped up and announced what they were doing, ‘I thought ‘oh my goodness.’”

About $3.5 million has already been given out to organizations so far according to Richardson, who said money raised from Rock for Relief will likely be given out in the coming week.

“As soon as we can, we get the money out right away,” she said. “Nothing is held in permanence. This is the community’s money and they want to see that money used immediately.”

Richardson credits the media for generating publicity about the Rapid Relief Fund.

“I don’t think the whole thing would have been as successful without the strong support of media behind us. The stories on CHEK TV, the updates from the Time Colonist, the radio stations leaning in to hear a little more,” she said, adding. “It’s pretty incredible.”

The Rapid Relief Fund disburses funds to local registered charities and qualified donees providing front-line services to vulnerable populations whose staff, volunteers, programs, and operations have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

For more information or to donate to the Rapid Relief Fund visit

READ ALSO: Rock for Relief: A Living Room Concert raises more than $500,000


Nicholas PescodNicholas Pescod

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