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Supporting Communities Affected by COVID-19

I know we’re all feeling the discomfort that comes from the current unprecedented time we that have been living in over these last few weeks. Like me, I hope you’re also feeling inspired by the outpouring of generous and creative responses to the pandemic and support for those most affected.

At VCIB, our client base is exclusively made up of organizations driving social, environmental and economic change. These are non-profits and social enterprises who do challenging work even in the best of times. We have always said that what makes us different than a traditional financial institution is our ability to design creative solutions for our clients’ needs, and we will continue to do so during this time.

Community is at the heart of our name and our mission, and we’re proud to share that we’ve partnered with the Toronto Foundation to launch the Better Toronto Coalition. This initiative will connect concerned residents with non-profit leaders and help deliver rapid-response support to organizations delivering essential services to our city’s most vulnerable.

We know that not all Torontonians will be equally affected by this crisis, and this coalition will bring us together to help our neighbours and friends whose lives have been turned upside down by loss of income, lack of access to services and mental health challenges.

Here’s how to get involved:

If you’re a donor, community partner, or concerned Torontonian, join the Better Toronto Coalition on weekly webinars where we’ll hear from non-profit leaders about what they’re seeing and feeling in response to COVID-19. We’ll talk about where donations are most needed and what other kinds of supports are valuable.

For those looking for a central place to give, Toronto Foundation has established the Better Toronto Coalition Fund where you can pool your donation to support organizations on the front lines. All funding will be 100% unrestricted. By supporting a coordinated effort, we ensure that no one is left behind.

To learn more about how you or your organization can support or contribute to the coalition, please visit:

With all that said, you do not have to contribute to the fund to be part of the coalition. Anyone can participate in the webinars to meet and hear from the organizations keeping our communities afloat. We also encourage you to give directly to any number of vital organizations on the ground. The Toronto Foundation is keeping a great list of organizations on their website for you to consider.

What’s next

At VCIB we believe that financial institutions can and must play a key role in enabling and shaping ambitious solutions — this applies to the climate crisis, the affordability crisis, issues of economic injustice, and to this pandemic. In addition to the philanthropic community, we also hope to see other financial institutions participate in this coalition and fund and we are working to engage other banks, credit unions and insurance companies to be part of scaling this work.

It is easy to feel isolated right now – both figuratively and literally – and that can be deeply unsettling. One thing research tell us is that one of the best ways to stay resilient in the face of challenges is to reach out, to act, and to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. And this is what continues to motivate me and my team.

What we’re doing here today is the kind of work that will sustain us as individuals and organizations. The COVID-19 crisis will stabilize and pass, but the work that we do to create more inclusive, affordable and sustainable communities will remain and will be as critical as ever.

I’m looking forward to being part of this coalition and continuing to foster these impactful partnerships as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

Jay-Ann Gilfoy

Chief Executive Officer

Vancity Community Investment Bank

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