Thanks to the inspiration provided by an anonymous donor, Victoria Hospice will receive $250,000 over the next five years, which will be used to restore lost funding for its community counselling program, hit hard by funding cuts two years ago.
The seeds of this incredible gift were planted when the anonymous donor made a $50,000 donation to the Victoria Foundation last year. Working with Victoria Foundation staff, the donor decided to direct their $50,000 to the Victoria Commandery of the Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem – a non-political, ecumenical, international Christian philanthropic organization founded in the eleventh century whose mandate is to offer support to the sick, the poor and the needy.
The Members of Victoria’s Sovereign Order were both surprised and energized by the donation, and challenged themselves to match the anonymous donor’s generosity and raise a total of $250,000 over the next five years. They started fund-raising and, after meeting with several local charities, selected Victoria Hospice’s community counselling program, thereby ensuring that some of Victoria’s most vulnerable citizens will now benefit from Hospice’s end-of-life support.
Deedrie Ballard is the commander (DCJS - Dame Commander Of Justice) of Victoria’s Order, a group of forty members. They are all philanthropists and business people who meet to plan how they can make a difference in the lives of the less-fortunate. Its members include lawyers, accountants, financial advisors, hotel owners current and retired business owners, and realtors - a group of individuals who know how to get things done.
“The Victoria Hospice staff was amazing to work with,” says Deedrie. “They bent over backwards to accommodate us. We know that the community counsellor will help vulnerable clients facing end of life decisions to have some closure.”
She adds that her group is aware of the funding and service-delivery issues facing at-risk palliative care clients. “They are people too. And if we can do anything to help them be more comfortable as they face the end-of-life, then that’s what we want to do.”
Caelin Rose, one of Hospice’s community counsellors, says the Order’s donation means a lot. “This incredible gift means that Victoria Hospice's counselling support in the community can now do more to directly help palliative clients who are living with financial hardship, drug and alcohol addictions, mental illness, or at risk of social isolation and homelessness.”
Talk about a gift that will keep on giving! Thank you to the anonymous donor and the Victoria Foundation who set the whole process in motion.