Vancouver Island Steps Up - Community Relief Fund

Video Credit: Ciel Arbour-Boehme

What are we doing? 

We have created this fund as a way to bridge the gap for members of our community that are currently being left behind in the rapidly changing situation we all find ourselves in. One size fits all methods are a good start, but we are not a one size fits all community. Vancouver Island is weathering this storm, but we do not all have the same resources to keep us safe.

This fund is a community-based initiative, born out of the belief that no one should be left behind. We are collecting money to redistribute it based on the individuals who apply - this approach will allow us to optimally meet the needs of our diverse community which can’t be adequately characterized by standardized aid programs. 

Community action is one of the most powerful tools we have. As a community, we are always more than the sum of our parts. As different forms of assistance continue to emerge, there will always be people who fall through the cracks. We can get through this together without leaving our neighbors behind.

How Will It Work?

We will be distributing funds to as many applicants as possible on Vancouver Island and will be prioritizing asks using an intersectional needs-based assessment. We will do our best to meet the needs of as many people as we can - and that impact depends on you! 

This fund aims to have an open application process in order to accommodate our diverse community. Applicants will submit their applications through an online form that allows for a variety of financial support requests and collects information on their location, current financial situation, and access to government social programs.

 Through a panel deliberation comprised of the organizers, we will prioritize recipients based on the urgency of need and ability (or lack thereof) to access other forms of support.  Grants will be distributed by e-transfer. 

The fund organizers will publish regular anonymized reports describing the types and amounts of financial support that have been made available to our community. 

Why Should You Give?

Because this is our community, and we need to come together to lift each other up in the wake of this pandemic. Because regardless of your race, socioeconomic status, gender, religion, cultural identity, ethnicity, sexual orientation, we all have been affected by COVID-19, but not all of us are paying the heavy financial price. 

If you can afford to give, every dollar counts and can make a tremendous difference in someone’s life. Community care is paramount to propelling Vancouver Island forward.  In this regard, VISU is committed to give 100% of all funds raised to the selected applicants of this initiative. We are all stronger together as a community and have the power to step up and take an active role in creating the future we want. 

Who Is Eligible?

In order to be eligible, recipients must live on Vancouver Island and have a pressing financial need that is not adequately met through other funding sources. We specifically are focusing on low-income individuals and/or families who have disproportionately been affected by the crisis. 

If you’d like to apply please click here  to access the application form. If filling out a google form is inaccessible for you, please email the organizers at [email redacted] to arrange an application format that works for you. 

Anticipating that there will be a high demand, priority will go towards those with the greatest need in our community. The number of people we are able to help, and the amount they are able to receive, will depend on the success of the fundraising. Therefore, there is a possibility not all applicants will receive funding.

All of the information collected through this form will be kept confidential. The organizers will review the applications in alignment with the BC Personal Information Protection Act. However, if you don't feel comfortable disclosing this information, please email us at [email redacted] and we will work with you on your application.

How Will You Vet Recipients?

 As a grassroots community-based fundraiser aimed at supporting residents in Vancouver Island, we do require proof of address to ensure that the support is going to members of our local community. We want to offer a social safety net, and a certain level of trust is required to extend that support. 

Who Is Organizing This Fundraiser?

Emily Percival-Paterson (aka Percy) (she/her) 

Percy is a settler who grew up in Sooke (T’Sou-ke Territory), and identifies as queer. She has just returned to the island due to COVID-19 from undertaking her MSc in International Public Health (Sexual and Reproductive Health) at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. 

Shayli Robinson (she/her) 

Shayli is a proud queer woman from the Lyackson First Nation with family lineage to the Lekwungen, Quw’utsun’, and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh mustimuhw, and has lived her whole life with gratitude on the lands of her Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ relations. She is an interdisciplinary performing artist, community organizer, and contract worker, isolating during COVID-19 with her grandparents on W̱SÁNEĆ territory.

Pamphinette Buisa (she/her)

Pam is born in Ottawa, Ontario and lived most of her life in Gatineau, QC on unceded Algonquin Anishnaabeg territory for the majority of her life. She moved to Victoria, BC to pursue her Olympic dreams and is currently competing on the National Sevens Women’s Rugby Team. She is currently studying Political Science with a minor in Social Justice and is passionate about evoking intersectional approaches to support local communities. 

Caroline Crossley (she/her)

Caroline is from settler and Métis heritage who has lived her whole life in Victoria, B.C. which lies on the unceded Coast Salish territories of the Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ nations. She has been competing full-time on the National Women’s 7s Rugby team for the past 6 years and is pursuing her education in Justice Studies. 

Ciel Arbour-Boehme (She/They)

Ciel has lived as an uninvited settler on Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ territories for 23 nearly years. Ciel has a Bachelors Degree in Political Science and Visual Arts; she works in design, development, and curation and plans to study Social Systems Design in the near future. Ciel is self-isolating with three close friends and is grateful to live on this island.

To apply for a grant from the relief fund, please go here. We will be taking a look at the first round of applications from Friday, May 1st at 11:59 pm PST onwards. Applicants who will be receiving funds can expect to receive an e-transfer by May 8, 2020. 

For more information or have any question or concerns: 

Check out our website

Facebook Page: Vancouver Island Steps Up 

Our email: [email redacted]

Instagram: @vanisle.stepsup

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    • $20 
    • 23 mos
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    • $10 
    • 24 mos
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    • $100 
    • 25 mos
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    • $40 
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    • $50 
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Fundraising team (6)

Pam Buisa 
Raised $3,750 from 104 donations
Victoria, BC
Emily Percival-Paterson 
Caroline Crossley 
Team member
Raised $4,330 from 25 donations
Shayli Robinson 
Team member
Raised $700 from 9 donations
Ciel Arbour-Boehme 
Team member
Raised $75 from 3 donations