Be part of the future of philanthropy in Greater Victoria

For some participants in the Victoria Foundation’s Gadsden Initiative, the program is an opportunity to connect with other like-minded people keen to give back to their community.

For others, the program is a way to feel more empowered to make a difference and create a legacy of giving.

“The Gadsden Initiative is a wonderful opportunity for me to expand my horizons in the city, and make sure the breadth of giving is there,” says Andrew, a Gadsden member who was inspired by a connection he made with the Mustard Seed during his time in the program.

The Victoria Foundation launched the initiative in 2019 as a way to engage new generations of philanthropists and to help make our community stronger. Over the course of a year or longer, the program helps participants explore causes that matter to them, connect with local changemakers, and ultimately design their own legacy. Since it launched, the initiative has grown to represent more than 80 members and 50 funds at work in the community and continues welcome new members year-round.

Contribute to causes you want to support

As a collaborative learning experience, the Gadsden Initiative’s core sessions and hands-on activities guide new donors through different ways to give, all while working to build a fund at the Victoria Foundation.

Among the diverse activities this past year were a ‘social enterprise mini market,’ where members networked with local vendors whose products benefit social causes, and a cooking class at Power to Be’s community kitchen that explored the trust-based philanthropy movement and reimagined food systems based on equity and biodiversity.

Throughout the program, participants learn how their interests align with a wide variety of local organizations and explore how to further their efforts to enrich the region through impactful annual grants.

Participants have up to three years to contribute $5,000 to a donor-advised fund, after which the Victoria Foundation matches contributions with another $5,000. With the $10,000 permanently invested, a portion of the returns is available for annual grant-making to the charities of their choice.

Gadsden member Lindsay says she’s focused on a few areas with her fund, including food insecurity, domestic violence, and children with illnesses and special needs. She says she’s satisfied that her fund can grow with her, and that she can change its charitable focus at any point in her life.

“For me the biggest benefit of the Gadsden Initiative has been the opportunity to connect with other people, (…) and also understand some of the needs that are in the community,” says Lindsay.

“I think a lot of people think that in order to be philanthropic you have to have a lot of money or a lot of time, (…) and the Gadsden program shows that you can give back in lots of different ways and have a big impact even at a smaller level.”

To learn how you can be part of the future of philanthropy in Greater Victoria, visit

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