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Vancity responds to refugee crisis with humanitarian fund

UPDATED: February 29, 2016 — As of today, Canada has reached its commitment to bring 25,000 Syrian refugees into Canada. About 2,200 have arrived in B.C. In response to the current refugee crisis and to provide ongoing support for other humanitarian issues, Vancity has developed an endowment fund with the Vancity Community Foundation and is matching all donations to a total of $125,000. For example, a $50 donation will become a $100 gift.

By the end of 2015, members and employees donated $33,333 which was matched by Vancity and donated to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).The federal government also matched the initial donation, so that in total $100,000 went to provide relief on-the-ground in refugee camps.

In early 2016, we raised more money for local settlement agencies helping refugees in our communities. By mid February, employees, members and the public donated another $50,000, which Vancity also matched, and gave to the Immigrant Services Society of BC. This money will be redistributed across Metro Vancouver to local charities doing on the ground work with refugees — providing trauma counselling, language training, childcare while job finding, and other important aspects of settlement.

Now, we want to raise additional funds to share with settlement agencies working in the Fraser Valley and in Victoria, where refugees started arriving 10 days ago. We have $41,666 left in our matching commitment — members and employees and neighbours: let’s do our best now to raise that amount to support settlement work for our newest neighbours! There are a number of ways to contribute, detailed below.

From Dec. 1 onwards and throughout the coming year, funds donated to the Vancity Humanitarian Fund will be designated to local charities that help refugees settle in our communities. These funds are not federally matched, but Vancity will match them.

There are three ways to donate online (the simplest and most efficient way):

Gifts of $20 or more will receive a tax receipt.


Vancity members can give through online banking using the “Pay Bills” function and choosing the VCF Donation form (in the right side bar menu). Select the Vancity Humanitarian Fund from the drop down menu.


Give directly to the Vancity Community Foundation. Anyone can make a donation using Visa, Mastercard, or Amex to the Vancity Humanitarian Fund directly. Receipts are generated automatically.

Donate now.


Vancity Visa* cardholders can donate as little as 2,000 points online at myvisarewardsplus.com1or by calling Vancity Visa at 604.877.4999 or 1.800.611.8472

1Instructions to donating points online: Click here and select “Donate now”. Log-in. Click “Donate now” again and enter number of points you'd like to donate, then enter “Vancity Humanitarian Fund” in the “Name of registered canadian charity” box. Then hit "Submit".

Linda Morris, Vancity’s senior vice president, announced the new fund on Thursday, Sept. 10, at an Immigrant Services Society of BC’s (ISSofBC) event that called on the federal government to take a more active response to the current refugee crisis and that showcased the construction progress on the society’s new Welcome House facility for refugees. In 2013, Vancity provided a $1 million capital grant and a $200,000 pre-development loan towards its construction.

*Visa Int./Vancity, Licensed User.


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