Pacific AIDS Network (PAN) has been built on a strong belief in strength in numbers and power in working together. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, rocking our collective world, we immediately made three commitments to our members and have kept working for them since then in this crisis. The need to present the concerns of our sector (to government, funders and health authorities) naturally brought us into contact with other umbrella organizations across the province and country.
At the end of summer, PAN had the privilege of meeting up (virtually, of course) with the following highly influential, and richly diverse organizations concerning funding sustainability for our sector. Below we want to highlight some of their great work:
Vantage Point (VP)
Founded back in 1943, Vantage Point exists to support the people moving non-profits forward – Executive Directors, board members, senior leaders, managers, staff, and volunteers. Although relatively new to advocacy, they have been doing a wonderful job connecting with similar groups across Canada, and were quick to partner on a COVID-19 impact survey, called No Immunity, quickly turning around a report to help provide evidence-based advocacy for the non-profit sector.
“Not-for-profits are vital to our communities – sparking change, inspiring creativity, and bettering lives.”
VP followed this up with community engagement that led to the submission of three key recommendations to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services for the provincial budget 2021 consultation. They were quite pleased with the report from the Committee that recognized “the immense financial impact due to COVID-19 and strong need for stabilization supports. The report also echoes the reality that the pandemic has revealed the need for resources to address gaps in supports and services for British Columbians. These are all encouraging signs that budget 2021 may reflect the needs and supports we have collectively identified for our sector.”
The report recommended a need for urgent recovery funding and multi-year stabilization supports; recognized the necessity of affordable internet access throughout the province (especially rural and remote areas); and stated the need to address inequities and make significant progress on reconciliation, diversity and inclusion, and accessibility” in all areas.
- Please consider completing the No Immunity Survey #2 by November 30th, to help VP seek understanding about the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here.
- PAN encourages agencies to become a member of Vantage Point, and right now, that is for free.
Federation of Community Social Services of BC (The Federation)
Since 1982, the Federation represents, strengthens and supports over 140 agencies who provide support to individuals and communities in BC – including people living with physical and mental challenges, vulnerable children, youth and seniors, new immigrants, people living with addictions or mental health issues, and those living in poverty – by networking, exchanging information, building skills, and consistently bringing a balanced perspective to discussions with provincial and national decision makers. Currently their advocacy focuses on: Wages and Compensation; Recruitment and Retention; Childcare Resource and Referral (CCRR); Supports for Young People in Care; Reconciliation & Resurgence; and Health & Safety.
All their members (but one) have provincial government funding, supplemented by grants and fund development, and so when the immediate and predicted economic impacts of COVID-19 began to show, there were tremendous concerns around staffing, recruitment and retention, and sustainability of funding.
Remarkably, a year ago, the Provincial Government created a Social Services Sector Roundtable – chaired at the time by Minister Simpson from MSDPR and comprised of The BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres, the BC CEO Network, EVA BC (Ending Violence Association of BC), PARCA (Provincial Association of Residential and Community Agencies), Board Voice, and themselves – to bring together the social care ministries and representatives from the community sector to work on strategies to address compensation and sustainability issues. The Federation reports that this mechanism gives immediate response for almost all sector issues brought to the table. We hope that they continue after the election dust settles.
“It is amazing the extent to which the province engages (in the work of the Roundtable)”
To support the work of the Roundtable, the Federation also created a Reference Group – a broader and larger group of organizations that meets to provide input. PAN has attended and the concerns of PAN members are now represented there.
BC Non-Profit Housing Association (BCNPHA)
For almost 30 years, the BCNPHA has been the provincial umbrella organization for the non-profit housing sector that manages more than 60,000 units of long-term, affordable housing across the province.
When COVID-19 hit, they began advocating for PPE and stabilization funding for all existing programs. They have been in weekly meetings with BC Housing over the needs for more staffing (esp. in supportive units) and food programs. This has included finding ways to promote the need to workers moving from the hard-hit service industry to housing. The economic recovery conversation has been a helpful gateway for the BCNPHA to advance affordability issue.
At PAN, we recommend that you take time to find out more about these important groups – and if your work falls under their umbrella, consider the benefits of joining. Their ongoing support for our sector is much appreciated, and we will continue to connect with them on issues that our relevant to our membership. Thank you all!
Questions? Feedback? Get in touch!
Simon Goff, Executive Assistant and Collective Impact Coordinator, [email protected]