Northern B.C. charities, non-profits eligible for support

The United Way of Northern B.C. will be distributing more than $708,000 in federal funding to local charities looking to adapt their frontline services to support vulnerable people during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Tuesday, the United Way announced it is accepting applications from charities and non-profits for funding through the Emergency Community Support Fund. The fund was created by the federal government to support the organizations that help the most vulnerable and is jointly-administrated by the United Way, Canadian Red Cross and Community Foundations of Canada.

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"In our outreach, we have seen an increase in the need across northern B.C. for services to support our most vulnerable in response to COVID-19. This incredible influx of funds will help us to reach all corners of the region and help bring relief at this uncertain time,” local United Way executive director Trista Spencer said in a press release. “We are truly grateful for the support Canada is providing for this essential sector."

In order to move the money out to where it is needed quickly, a review committee from across the north will start making grant decisions in the first week of June. For more information on how to apply, go online to unitedwaynbc.ca/ECSF.

“At the United Way of Northern BC, we are committed to ensuring this generous support gets to the most vulnerable and where the need is greatest throughout our entire northern B.C. region," local United way board chairperson Sotirios Korogonas said in a press release. "On behalf of the board of directors at United Way of Northern BC, I would like to thank the federal government for recognizing the magnitude and urgency of the incremental needs created by this pandemic."

The funding comes on the same day as the results of a survey of B.C. non-profit organizations were released by Vantage Point and the Victoria and Vancouver Foundations.

The survey of more than 1,000 non-profits across the province showed 15 to 19 per cent of non-profits face closure, and 23 per cent feel they may not last more than six months if things don't change.

Among the organizations surveyed, 74 per cent have seen their funding decrease, 68 per cent have struggled working from home and 95 per cent reported higher stress levels because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The bottom line of this report is that many charities and frontline agencies in B.C. are at risk and the people and communities they serve are going to fall through the cracks if we don’t rally together to act” Vancouver Foundation CEO Kevin McCort said in a press release.  “Our economy will not recover without the vital services non-profit organizations provide every day. We all depend on this sector doing its part to get BC back on its feet.”

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