$75,453 bound for Island Communities

Established in 2015, the Island Savings Community Endowment was created by Island Savings with a $2 million donation to the First West Foundation as a lasting legacy for the communities served by Island Savings. We are very pleased to announce the 2018 grants for the Island Savings Community Endowment totaling $75,453.

Grants from this fund are aimed at promoting resilient and sustainable Island communities.

Below is an overview of the 16 charities and the projects that are being funded this year:

Organization Name /

Project Name

Project Description


Grant Amount

Greater Victoria Volunteer Society 

Senior Circles

Senior Circles is a year-long research project working with vulnerable seniors living in specific neighbourhoods in the West Shore. The project will map the informal volunteer habits and needs of up to 30 seniors, identify home-based volunteering activities and small projects in each of the neighbourhoods, and host a series of informal volunteering events that connect seniors and their neighbours to the projects. The project will help reduce senior isolation, develop intergenerational connections, and create new and meaningful informal volunteer activities. 



Umbrella Society for Addictions and Mental Health


Understanding Addiction: A crisis in our community

Funding to run a 5 week learning series of workshops.  Appealing to concerned community members who want to understand or enhance their current understanding about addiction in our community. This project will teach facts, dispel myths, break down stigma and encourage community engagement. Each learning session will take place at a different, yet critical community resource in Victoria, with an expert speaker, two facilitators, a person with lived experience and an evaluator.



Oaklands Elementary School


Oaklands Legacy/Totem Project

Students, staff, parents, and community will participate in a school-wide construction and study of BC First Nations totem poles under the voluntary guidance of renowned Kwagiulth artist, Carey Newman. The log/pole will be set up in the school’s courtyard on large timbers, and under a large tent, so students can work on it year-round., Students will also study the cultures of British Columbia Aboriginal peoples in their classes -- as part of this minds-on, hands-on multi-grade, collaborative, and cross-curricular project. The end result will include a documentary.



The Mustard Seed Street Church  

Family Centre

Funding to help run the Family Centre, which empowers families in need through education and training. The Centre provides a variety of services to support families, including workshops on financial literacy, parenting, cooking, employment strategies, and goal setting. Funding will assist with skill development opportunities, including Cash Register Training, pre-employment support with resumes, job search strategies and coaching.



SeaChange Marine Conservation Society  

Blue Grouse Teaching House

Funding to support the expansion of the floating classroom which is used as a key part of the EcoRowing environmental education program in Tod Inlet.  The floating classroom will accommodate a marine science lab and an indigenous science and SENĆOŦEN (Saanich First Nations) language lab. Understanding the way to break down misunderstandings and ignorance between different cultures is to expand and deepen hands-on learning together within the eco-rowing program.

Brentwood Bay


Nanaimo Science and Sustainability Society  

Preschool Science Explorers

Funding to grow the early years program and a partnership with local libraries.  The goal of this initiative is to encourage science literacy at a young age and to foster children's inherent curiosity and creativity as they explore the world around them.  Science Kits will be put together and made available for check out through the Vancouver Island Regional Library, and included in their current literacy kits.



Nanaimo Community Kitchens Society  

Bellies to Babies and Beyond

Funding for a 10 week cooking and skill building program for pregnant women, first time parents and young families.  Participants learn about healthy lifestyles for pregnancy and infancy, community supports and each week prepare a meal to fit their family size.  Health professionals are invited to the program to explain their services.  Upon completion of the program, participants receive a cookbook, certificate of completion and binder of resources. 



Pender Island Child Care Society  

Making Connections: Nourishing Families

Funding to run a nutrition program for the children in child care once a week to enhance their understanding of healthy food. Aiming to show them how vegetables are grown by collaborating with local growers to give small presentations, create simple nutritious recipes, and create a sharing plate at lunch.  Funding will also go towards hosting a workshop once a month to increase parents’ knowledge of health and nutrition. Knowledgeable community members will teach about fermentation, wild herb harvests, budgeting, and foods to boost families’ immunity.

Pender Island


Northwest Wildlife Preservation Society  

Wildlife in Schools

Funding to provide low income schoolchildren and youth at risk with free in school wildlife education programs. The programs are designed to teach children about local wildlife and environmental stewardship. Programs are aimed to give this demographic an equal opportunity to connect with wildlife and the environment in their community and to give them new practical skills and experiences on environmental stewardship, so they can have a positive impact on the environment in their community.

Lake Cowichan, Mill Bay, Pender Island, Chemainus


Ladysmith Resources Centre Association  

Seniors Information Sessions

Funding to present ten information sessions a year, where guest speakers present topics, with the goal of enabling seniors to maintain their independence longer.  The objective is to promote awareness of available services for seniors and their families, by presenting relevant topics such as Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s, Driving Refresher, Safety at home, Hearing Tests, Elder Abuse, Pensions and Government programs, Wills and Power of Attorney. Seniors are healthier, and age better when they remain in their own homes as long as possible. The LRCA strives for a balance of information covering the senior’s social, emotional, physical, and mental resilience.



Cowichan Neighbourhood House Association  

Healthy Food

Funding for the Healthy Food Program which provides free daily food, free health and consumer literacy for adults and youth, community dinners, and builds social networks for seniors. Most of the food is free, reclaimed food though the Zero Food Waste project, with the work being free volunteer labour.

Nanaimo, Salt Spring Island


Stigma-Free Society** 

Stigma-Free Zone School Presentations

Funding for the school presentations program, which is an educational initiative delivered via classroom and community presentations for Grades 7-12.  The presentations create awareness of the stigmas that exist in society, help youth develop an understanding of the challenges that numerous people face and encourage youth to foster acceptance of themselves and others. Helping individuals manage their personal mental health by connecting them to effective community resources.

Nanaimo, Cedar, Salt Spring


Salt Spring Elementary School – School District 64 

Greenhouse Project

Funding the construct of a greenhouse to complete the active garden program, which teaches students how to grow food, eat more healthily, and much more. The greenhouse would also serve families that participate in the ELF Strongstart Program, and students at Saltspring Middle School, including many with special needs. It would allow for more year-round garden activities and would be a social enterprise opportunity to further fund the garden program.

Salt Spring


Cowichan Community Land Trust**

Experience the Estuary: School Programs for Youth

Funding to run the nature based school programs and camps for children in preschool through to grade 12.  The Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre is one of the primary accessible locations to learn about estuaries, the ocean, and marine habitats in the Lower Vancouver Island area. The school programs and camps are focused on fun, engaging, hands-on experiences; forming personal connections to the land and learning ways that individuals and communities can make a difference in their local environment.


Duncan, Mill Bay, Ladysmith, Chemainus


Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Cowichan Valley

“Go Girls” Program

Funding in support of an initiative delivered in partnership with local schools serving girls at risk aged 11-15.  The program helps vulnerable young women to develop healthy lifestyles (including nutritional eating and appropriate exercise); resilient self-esteem (building confidence, independent thinking and positive body image); and supportive relationships (between mentors, peers, family, & community) during a highly transitional life-phase.




Literacy Now Cowichan Society

Pathways to Learning

Funding to support the ongoing community adult literacy program, offering free one-to-one literacy lessons using a highly trained volunteer tutor. Our “learner centered” program focuses on the needs and skill level of each individual. Learners build skills and resiliency and the courage to move onto the next phase of their life goals.