Our community and the charitable sector are deeply affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Edmonton Community Foundation has created the COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund to address the immediate and long-term needs of the charities working with our community’s most vulnerable.
So far, ECF has granted $1,304,350 to dozens of charities in greater Edmonton in response to COVID-19.
As a way to keep our stakeholders and community up to date in a transparent way, we have created this COVID-19 RRF resource. Here you will find regular updates on the work we are doing through the COVID-19 RRF as well as our other granting streams to support our community through the pandemic.
Emergency Community Support Fund
We are proud to have partnered with Community Foundations of Canada and the Government of Canada to deliver the Government of Canada’s Emergency Community Support Fund (ECSF) in the greater Edmonton area.
Launched on May 19, 2020, we’ve invested [an additional] $2,222,350 through the ECSF towards local charities and qualified donees supporting populations experiencing heightened vulnerability during this crisis.
Learn more about the program and its community impact by clicking here.
The Emergency Community Support Fund
- May 19: Edmonton Community Foundation takes part in new Emergency Community Support Fund
- May 14: Capital Power and its employees contribute $400,000 in support of Alberta COVID-19 relief efforts
- May 11: Edmonton Community Foundation Grants $1 Million in Response to COVID-19
- April 30: COVID-19 RRF Grants Surpass $800K to Community
- April 23: ECF applauds the federal government’s Emergency Community Support Fund
- April 21: Prime Minister announces further support to help Canadians in need
- April 21: Emergency Community Support Fund | Joint Statement: CFC, Canadian Red Cross, United Way Centraide Canada
- April 15: Charities receive more than $300K from COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund
- April 15: EPCOR contributes $300,000 to support community pandemic response
- April 12: Charitable donation matching program
- March 18: Community compassion during COVID-19
In the News
- Corporate Knights, June 25, 2020: Top 50 Corporate Citizens: Thought leaders, role models, change makers
- Edmonton Journal, June 1, 2020: Volunteers distribute food — and hope — to African community members affected by pandemic
- Edmonton Journal, April 21: COVID-19: New Edmonton Arts Council grant a $5,000 lifeline for artists
- CBC, April 15: Cooks from kitchens shuttered by pandemic keep Meals on Wheels rolling in Edmonton
- CTV News, April 12: Province to match donations to charities under pressure due to COVID-19
- July 10: Live Performances Rapidly Move Online
- July 8: Keeping Fridges Full During COVID-19
- July 6: Critical Support During COVID-19
- July 4: Un-Hampered Support
- July 3: Bringing Street Performances Indoors and Online
- July 1: Bringing the World to Edmonton
- June 29: Leftovers Connects the Food Dots
- June 27: Volunteering Strength
- June 23: Full Hearts and Food Hampers
- June 17: Theatre Live and Online
- June 13: Newcomers Overcoming New Challenges During COVID-19
- June 9: Communicating During COVID-19
- June 7: Seniors Still Getting Around!
- June 5: BGCBigs Heads Outside
- June 1: Making Connections During COVID-19
- May 28: You’ve Got Mail: A Text4Hope
- May 26: ABC Means TLC, for Young Families
- May 21: Bringing the Brain Trust Online
- May 18: Reaching out During COVID-19
- May 15: Community Cuisine To Go
- May 14: Creating a Virtual Community During COVID-19
- May 13: Creativity Strikes While Stuck in the House
- May 1: The Well Endowed Podcast Episode 70 – Rapid Response
- April 15: The Well Endowed Podcast Episode 69 – Vulnerable Neighbours
- April 2: Creative Solutions During COVID-19: A Q&A with Martin Garber-Conrad
- April 1: The Well Endowed Podcast Episode 68 – Stuck in the House
To date, ECF’s COVID-19 RRF has received almost $535,000 in new gifts, and $325,000 from existing ECF donors. This brings the total of new gifts and contributions to almost $860,000.
Paired with ECF’s initial contribution of $500,000, and $195,164 in gift matching from the Government of Alberta, the COVID-19 RRF has had almost $1.54 million allocated to support the community during the pandemic.
ECF is also proud to have partnered with Community Foundations of Canada and the Government of Canada to deliver the Government of Canada’s Emergency Community Support Fund (ECSF) in the greater Edmonton area.
We were able to deliver over $2.2 million in grants from ECSF, for a grand total of almost $3.7 million in COVID relief to 108 charities in the Edmonton area.
Since March 19th, ECF has granted more than $1.4 million to dozens of charities in greater Edmonton in response to COVID-19.
Below is a chronological list of grants that ECF has made since March 19th from multiple granting streams including the RRF. Click each tab to view grant details.
Project: Connecting Under Represented Artists with Audiences in a Pandemic
The Thousand Faces Festival will bring together under-represented multicultural artists and audiences. The Festival will produce high quality online programming featuring South Asian Dance, Flamenco Music, African Story-telling, and Indigenous Theatre, maintaining a real-time audience performer relationship and a festival feel.
Project: Online Programming
Edmonton Opera is providing online content for both adults and youth. This grant will support hiring artists to direct and host programming.
Project: Shumka Summer Dance Camps
Shumka has to make changes to their popular summer dance camps in order to follow current AHS protocols while keeping young dancers mentally and physically stimulated. Changes include teaching some classes by Zoom, and providing some small classes with appropriate precautions.
Project: Online Delivery of Workshops and Training
One of the Centre for Family Literacy’s core activities is the development and delivery of training to support people working in the literacy field. Transforming the training to a digital format that will allow them to continue to share the theory and best practices that support literacy development in families, as well as share their own experience delivering online programs.
Project: StreetFest Online
You can’t come to the Festival but you can still feel the Edmonton StreetFest spirit. This year, StreetFest will offer online ‘Troupe du Jour’ performances and a variety of workshops – juggling, hula loop, balloons, etc. – for their festival audiences of all ages, abilities, and cultures.
Project: Heritage Fest To Go!
Heritage Festival is recognized as the world’s largest festival of multiculturalism and been named an “intangible Cultural Asset” by UNESCO. This year, while the Festival can’t offer up their usual fare, they are going online by hosting an electronic and food delivery version. A grant will help provide a three-day live feed of performances, a virtual map including dances, recipes, and pictures from participating groups, and an online cultural food delivery/pickup program.
Project: Services for Seniors
The Lao Alberta Buddhist Temple is working in partnership with the Lao Canadian Seniors Club of Edmonton to provide resources such as food, social service support, technology needs, and translation to low-income Lao Canadian Seniors in Edmonton. Before the pandemic, these seniors have experienced low income, language and socio-barriers and the pandemic has highlighted these inequalities.
Project: Workshop Development and Delivery
CCI-LEX takes prides in both its excellent volunteer-led English as an Additional Language programs and its close-knit environment which builds personal and community connections. Moving language classes online has been challenging. To make the online class experience the best possible, a grant will help CCI-LEX provide training for volunteers/teachers and training and support for students.
Project: Food Basket Delivery
WECAN has been seeing increased demand for their food co-op service and increased requests for delivery from members with reduced mobility. A grant will allow WECAN to create a temporary delivery option.
Project: Re-entry and Digital Technology
While Dogs with Wings staff have been working from their personal computers, they are now starting to return to the office and to provide dogs with advanced training. A grant will help purchase a laptop for the trainer and webcams for the fosters, so they can see each other and complete the training of these assistance dogs.
Project: Nisa Homes
Nisa Homes, a shelter for Muslim women and their children leaving domestic violence, has had to reduce capacity due to current physical distancing restrictions. A grant will help provide food and emergency assistance to women who have left the shelter or who cannot move into the shelter, as well as hire additional relief staff and enhance the cleaning regimen.
Project: Activity Kits
BGCBigs has been delivering activity kits to families who have identified they need additional resources for their children during COVID-19. These activities kits are personalized for each child and filled with grade level worksheets, school supplies, board games, puzzles, sports equipment, and community resources.
June is usually a time of celebration for Edmonton’s LGBTQ2S+ community. A grant will help the Pride Centre develop Pride activities online or otherwise incorporating physical distancing. The Pride Centre will also support systems navigation, to help the community find other benefits and services.
Project: Student Support
Edmonton Catholic Schools has been helping some of their low income families with needs such as connecting to Internet, school supplies, utilities, rent, and moving costs (for families leaving domestic violence). A grant will help them continue to provide this support through the end of the current school year.
Project: Outreach Coordinator
A coordinator will help mobilize other NCSA staff and programs to ensure that past and current clients are connected to food security programs, receive physical, mental, emotional, and social support, and continue to be supported through changing justice and and child welfare systems.
Project: Systems Navigation for African Francophones
Systems navigation to help guide their Francophone (mostly from the African diaspora) community to existing services and benefits, such as food, mental health support, income benefits, etc.
Project: The New Experience Economy
COVID-19 hasn’t only impacted our ability to gather for arts, culture, sports, and recreation now; it may hav eimpacts for a long time to come. With partners, the Edmonton Arts Council will undertake research to help these organizations make decisions about the viability of future events, public perceptions as restrictions ease, and strategies for bringing audiences back.
Project: Remote Access
Jewish Family Services runs a range of programs for the whole community, including counselling and bereavement programming. Safety protocols require them to move these services online. A grant assisted with costs related to technology and implementation.
Project: Building Foundations for Employment Program
The goal of the Building Foundations for Employment Program (BFE) is to have participants gain the knowledge and skills to increase their likelihood of securing and maintaining meaningful employment. By purchasing laptops for use by participants, John Howard Society will be able to resume BFE programming and help clients become contributing and healthy members of their communities.
Project: Food Relief
As an organization focused on food security, Leftovers Foundation responded quickly to the food crisis for many low income Edmontonians. They are collecting food from restaurants and distributors, purchasing fresh food, and distributing it to ensure basic needs are met.
Project: Grocery Run
Opportunities for employment have vanished, particularly in service jobs, which employ a high number of newcomers. Further, emergency benefits implemented by the Canadian government are tied to work history, meaning that many newcomers to Canada do not qualify. A grant will assist with the collection and distribution of food to newcomer families.
Project: Food Program
Like other communities, Enoch Cree Nation has been working on multiple fronts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to assist staff, students and others who have been affected. A grant will help members who are living on reserve or in Edmonton who are in need of assistance with food costs.
Project: Food and Systems Navigation
Working with community members, the Africa Centre has identified several priority needs. With a grant and the assistance of volunteers, they will provide food and systems navigation, to help people in need access other existing programs.
Project: Counselling Services Technology
During this unprecedented time for our community, YWCA Edmonton is working hard to limit COVID-19’s impact on the vulnerable women and families they serve. A grant will help the YWCA adapt their Counselling Services to offer telephone, video, and online sessions & support to their clients.
Project: Food Program
SCERDO provides a range of social services to new immigrants in Edmonton, particularly the Somali community. Currently, the community needs a lot of help accessing food and medicine. A grant will assist SCERDO to deliver food to seniors, newcomers, physical challenged people, single parents, and other people in need.
Project: Dinner to Door Meals
In addition to the Al Rashid Mosque, the Arabian Muslim Association runs a range of programs for children, youth, seniors, and families. When the effects of COVID-19 reached Edmonton, they started a old fashioned phone campaign to help support a food and hygiene program. A grant will help with priority needs to provide dinners to 300 seniors, low income families, and others in need.
Project: Camping in the Backyard
Many recreational programs for children have been cancelled. To help address this gap, BGCBigs will pilot a program in Capital Regional Housing backyards for 30 families. Volunteers will put up the tents for kids to go in their backyard to read or have a break from large families.
Project: Digital Capacity
The number one bottleneck for SACE is their ability to deliver programming is in their digital communications, design, and web capacity. Content design, web development, and new platforms will help SACE keep doing their important work.
Project: Remote Consultation
CASA works to improve the mental health of infants, children and adolescents through family-centred clinical services and education. New hardware and software will allow CASA to maintain safety for staff and clients, while endeavouring to support their clients’ needs.
Project: Food Security for Women
Catholic Social Services runs two residences for women: subsidized, transitional housing for women in crisis and their children, and a second-stage shelter for women and their children who have left domestic violence. They also provide programming to help them upgrade their education, find employment, seek counselling, and address other needs. These wommen are experiencing increased financial need and a grant will allow CSS to purchase food and basic necessities in bulk and distribute hampers.
Project: Information Technology Infrastructure
It is more apparent than ever that Volunteer Alberta‘s core functions of connecting, strengthening and promoting the non-profit sector will require a greater focus on digital delivery. A grant will support IT, an overhaul of their website to an online e-learning and active resource platform, and a crisis communications plan.
Project: Prosper Place Meal in a Box
Prosper Place clients live with mental illness; most also live below the poverty level. Many also fear that going to the grocery store or the food bank will put them at risk. They are worried about their food supply, yet also worried about going out in public. Prosper Place will start delivering packages of healthy food to clients weekly to help address food security and reduce anxiety.
Project: Online Curriculum
AdaptAbilities helps individuals with special needs to develop the essential life skills they need to grow, succeed and belong. They will pilot an online curriculum with programs in social and job skills.
Project: Purchase of Bikes
Sport Central has been making adjustments to protect staff and volunteers, but is still working hard to fulfill their mandate of providing sports equipment to low income families. A grant is helping them buy a few new bikes to fill in gaps in some sizes and to purchase some new tools and parts to keep up with bike repairs.
Project: By hosting webinars, virtual panel discussions, and online community of practice meetups, EHC will provide training and mentorship for amateur and emerging practitioners, ensuring stories and documentation of Edmonton’s history are reflective of the diversity of our community. Funds will also support Project Accelerator grants to individuals from or organizations led by equity-seeking communities.
Project: Expand Service
Usually, Drive Happiness volunteers drive seniors to appointments and errands. Now they have expanded their services to include delivery of groceries, medication, and activities for seniors. They are creating car-kits for drivers to keep everything clean and actively recruiting new volunteers (while asking older volunteers to protect their own health).
Project: Information and Systems Navigation
Connect Society works towards full inclusion of the Deaf community. They have found that many Deaf people do not have full information about protecting themselves from COVID-19. A social worker will provide Deaf community with information about COVID-19 and systems navigation to facilitate equity of knowledge and services.
Project: Essential Food and Supplies
ABC Head Start works with many young families in need. Currently, they are helping families make food bank requests and have volunteers picking up the food for families (as this is a struggle for many families) but they still have unmet food, formula, and diaper requests. A grant helped with purchasing some food, supplies, and grocery gift cards.
Project: Food Program
C5 is a collaboration of Edmonton agencies who operate the North East Community Hub. When COVID-19 forced them to close their doors, they quickly adapted to serving their community in new ways, including online programming and delivering to doorsteps responses to families’ needs: things like Early Childhood Development kits, essentials such as diapers and hygiene items, and laptops through their laptop drive. They have now seen an increasing number of families experiencing a food crisis. C5 has again responded, by delivering food hampers.
Project: Infection Prevention and Control
Basically Babies works with other community organizations to ensure that families in need get a layette with clothes, toys, books, and other necessities for their newborn’s first year. COVID-19 has changed how they have t operate but hasn’t changed the need. Assistance was provided to purchase hands-free devices (paper towel, soap and sanitizer dispensers), personal protective equipment, and hygiene and disinfecting products.
Project: Outreach Support
The outreach department at Westend Seniors Activity Centre has been swamped with an enormous workload supporting the most vulnerable seniors, who in addition to existing barriers, are further isolated by COVID-19. Additional staff will provide enhanced outreach services and assistance getting connected through technology, with specific Chinese language services for that community.
Project: Food Program
St. Faith’s Anglican’s food program is oversubscribed for everything from (non) school lunches to meals and food for AISH recipients. They are an approved site despite COVID-19 so are very well used in the Alberta Avenue area.
Project: Food Program
Part of taking a human rights based approach to addressing a crisis is to focus on the most marginalized and centre on the values of dignity, security, freedom and justice. Therefore, John Humphrey Centre has established a Facebook Group (YEG Community Response to COVID-19) and with assistance from 150 volunteers have started distributing food hampers and information on information on financial benefit programs. A grant supported supplies.
Project: Emergency Response Coordination
Thanks to our generous community, EMCN has received gifts of home kits, laptops, and food hampers. Staffing will help with eligibility screening and delivery. This connection will also allow EMCN to assess the other needs of recipient families and to make other referrals to services that could help at this time.
Project: Emergency Food and Supplies
Action for Healthy Communities has developed an emergency response plan to reach out to those people who are most vulnerable due to COVID -19. Through a team of volunteers, they are delivering food, milk formulas for infants, prescription drugs, etc. to their doorsteps. A grant assisted with the costs of food and supplies.
Project: Online Counselling Platform
Little Warriors is committed to the awareness, prevention and treatment of child sexual abuse, work that obviously cannot take a hiatus. They’re building three custom online programs that will give their therapists, counsellors and care teams the ability to connect with and serve the children and teens who rely on them for support.
Project: Food Hamper Program
One of the issues that has come up is the ability for food banks to now purchase the bulk of the items that they use to make up hampers. A grant assisted with some of the costs of non-perishable food and gift cards to allow recipients to purchase dairy and produce.
Project: Technology Supports
With so much need suddenly for access online, the partners in All in for Youth – a collaboration providing coordinated supports for socially vulnerable children and their families – stepped up. With the support of several funders, 420 laptops will be provided to families served by All In For Youth, so children can continue learning and being supported.
Project: Bring the World Project
Like many seniors living in care, residents at the Edmonton Cinatown Care Centre and particularly isolated these days. To address loneliness among seniors, the Care Centre will purchase additional technology to allow regular video visitation with loved ones and increased access to online recreation and entertainment from around the world.
Project: Communication and Coordination for Early Learning and Care
Early learning and care services have been closed or severely attenuated in response to the COVID-19 crisis. This could result in negative consequences for children, families, communities, and staff. A co-ordinator will support organizations and operators to address both current problems and long-term issues for the early learning and care sector.
Project: Free Online Arts Education
Like other education programs, the Citadel’s Theatre School and Artistic Professional Development programs are moving online. The Citadel will be providing is continued learning in theatre arts for all ages in the month of May with free online workshops and masterclasses.
Project: Enhanced Access
Elizabeth Fry Society works with women and girls who are or are at risk of becoming crimilinalized. As many community resources go online, this extremely vulnerable group was left in limbo, unable to access the resources and benefits for which they were eligible. A grant for technology and barrier reduction helped vulnerable clients access resources online.
Project: IT Upgrades
Brain Care Centre provides support and programs for people with acquired brain injuries. To maintain programs follow their office closure, they needed new software to allow them to work securely remotely, and a new phone system that could work outside a physical office.
Project: Community Kitchen
The YMCA Collective Kitchen provides the skills and knowledge necessary to achieve food sustainability, through hands-on learning about nutritional food choices, healthy lifestyles, low-cost food options, and access to nutritious food. Since they can’t meet face-to-face, the facilitator will connect with participants through phone or video chat, and develop a virtual kitchen, to continue their learning, reduce social isolation, and connect them to resources.
Project: Youth Support Worker
The Youth Transitions Program (YTP) has served Edmonton’s at-risk youth (ages 13-19) for more than 20 years, helping them in the areas of education, employment, social and basic needs. They quickly shifted the program online, but have also seen emerging needs in the area of mental health, social isolation, and ttrauma. An additional staff person will support at-risk youth and development of resources on topics such as mindfulness, coping strategies for stress, anxiety and self-isolation.
Project: Mental Health Support
With physical distancing protocols, St. Albert SAIF Society had moved all its counselling to phone. They quickly learned that for youth, telephone counselling wasn’t an effective tool. A grant helped SAIF implement the hardware and software upgrades they needed allow secure online mental health supports.
Project: Food security
To support the needs arising from Covid-19, JPWC and its Food4Good division have prioritized emergency food support for their community. Many food depots have closed, children can no longer rely on meals at school, and many low income workers have lost income. JPWC is now providing hampers of nutritious food to help close the gap in the West Edmonton.
Project: Computer Infrastructure
While the doors to the Art Gallery of Alberta are now closed, a great deal of work still needs to be done. Like many non-profits, the AGA didn’t have the IT equipment to allow staff to work remotely. A grant helped them purchase new workstations to improve their ability to work from home and to develop new online programming.
Project: Virtual Services
Clients of the Cerebral Palsy Association already face social barriers and mobility limitations that restrict their ability to access public facilities and activities in their day-to-day life; these barriers have been exacerbated with current restrictions. A grant is helping CPA develop virtual recreational and therapy programs, support groups, and resource kits.
Project: Food handling Equipment
With spiking demand for their services, Edmonton Meals on Wheels needed to determine how they could meet that demand safely. A grant supported the purchase of new equipment which allows them to seal whole meals, improving food safety and significantly expanding capacity.
Project: Creators Reserve
Creators’ Reserve is a new stream for individual artists. These funds will allow artists to explore, develop and create new artistic work or to substantially revise an existing piece of work. We have contributed funds which will be specifically allocated for Indigenous artists and artists from equity-seeking groups.
Project: Digital Art Fund
The Digital Art Fund will focus on the digital dissemination of artistic work. These funds will allow artists and arts and festival organizations to engage Edmontonians through a wide range of artistic works. Edmonton Arts Council is working with partners such as Latitude 53, Rapid Fire Theatre, Film and Video Arts, and others, to administer payments to artists to share their creative works online.
Based on their experience with the Fort McMurray fire, a group of mental health professionals and organizations developed Text4Hope, an accessible tool to support healing in a time of stress and isolation. Albertans will have access to free, evidence-based public health support when mental health resources are stretched.
Project: Stuck in the House Series
The arts and artists have been hit hard by physical isolation protocols. Events have been cancelled and artists have lost their source of income. The Citadel’s Stuck in the House series showcases diverse performers (complete with closed captioning), provides artists with an honorarium, and is a platform for public donations which will be split among artists. Visit the Stuck in the House page!
Project: Emergency Response
One of the first organizations to feel the impact of COVID-19 protocols was the Food Bank, which could no longer accept gifts of food from the public and needed to start purchasing most food. Thanks to a partnership with the Moffat Fund at Winnipeg Foundation, we were able to provide a grant to assist.