Community Social Planning Council of Greater Victoria
Our Impact Why We Exist
The Community Social Planning Council is a social planning, research and community development organization organizing and planning programs for the social benefit of the community. We lead change on our most pressing social issues by introducing and supporting fresh ideas and solutions. We use evidence-based research to inform policy and action on the social issues that challenge our community’s future, such as poverty, housing affordability and neighbourhood resilience. We promote local investment to build sustainable livelihoods for all of our residents.
Here are a few examples of how the work of Community Social Planning Council impacts lives in the community:
- We provide high-quality research on social issues used by media, government and agencies to inform policy and funding priorities.
- We coordinate community-based initiatives to respond to ongoing and emerging social needs:
- Since 2010, we have been increasing our community economic development work, supporting youth in social enterprise, working with local providers of financial literacy programs and incorporating a new co-operative venture to manage Vancouver Island’s first Community Investment Fund.
- In the past year our Building Resilient Neighbourhoods project, run in partnership with Transition Victoria, has provided community workshops and micro-grants for planning and running small neighbourhood projects.
- Each year our BC Transit Ticket Assistance Program helps 60 local social agencies provide access to transportation in the form of free bus tickets and in some cases monthly bus passes.
Our Story What We Do
A part of the Community since 1936
The Community Social Planning Council was formed in 1936, the height of the Great Depression, as a non-profit, non-partisan and charitable social planning society.
Since its inception, the Council has responded in a variety of ways to addressing social issues, alleviating poverty and promoting social justice. Over the years, the organization has reinvented itself several times to remain relevant and effective in providing social infrastructure and support.
Priority Areas of Work
In recent years the Council’s priority areas have expanded to include Community Economic Development (CED) as both a pathway out of poverty and a belief that a strong local economy lifts the quality of life for all citizens. This new priority complements our work in Poverty Prevention and Reduction, Housing Affordability and Community Sustainability.
The photo is of one of our founders, Dr. Olga Jardine. The documents are the minutes from the 1937 meeting of the Welfare Maintenance Committee of the Council of Social Agencies (our original name), which created the Community Chest, later to be renamed the United Way of Greater Victoria.
Our Programs How We Do It
Our current programs include:
- BC Transit Ticket Assistance Program (BCTTAP)
- Building Resilient Neighbourhoods Project
- Community Action (Plan) on Poverty
- Community Investment Fund
- Financial Empowerment Resource Network
- Living Wage and Living Wage Employer Certification
- Youth Program Quality Initiative
Some of our programs last many years past their initial round of funding. We have managed the BCTTAP since 1997 and have been calculating the Living Wage for the Capital Region since 2006. The Quality of Life CHALLENGE was hugely successful, and we are proud that the spirit of the QOLC lives on in the poverty prevention and reduction work of the Community Action Plan on Poverty, for which the Community Social Planning Council acts as a convener and coordinator.
A special few programs literally develop a life of their own. The Community Chest, which later became the United Way of Greater Victoria, was borne of one of the Council’s committee meetings. Volunteer Victoria, Victoria Human Exchange and Bridges for Women Society all sprang from our walls.
Our most recent success story is CR-FAIR the Capital Region Food and Agriculture Roundtable which became their own non-profit society Spring 2014.
We have also incorporated a sister organization, the Vancouver Island Community Investment Co-operative to manage the island's first Community Investment Fund.
What You Can Do
You might notice in our literature we often use the term, “Your Community Council,” because that is what we are. We are a community-owned, non-government, non-partisan, member-supported organization.
You can participate in your Community Council in many ways. You can:
- Become a member
- Become a donor*
- Become a volunteer (events | office admin | writing | join a committee)
- Subscribe to our eBlast
- Like and follow us on social media (and share our posts)
- Attend our community events
- Participate in focus groups
- Explore our website and visit our micro-sites
- Hold a fundraiser for us
* Here are some examples of how your donor dollars make a difference:
- $85 will provide not just one, but two, bus passes to a women’s shelter so residents can attend medical and counselling appointments or job-readiness courses
- $200 will provide a micro-grant to kickstart a neighbourhood project such as a book-box or tool exchange
- $300 enables us to highlight and share pivotal community-building stories, critical research and actions to end poverty through our website and social media channels
- $500 will sponsor a professional development day for youth program workers
- $750 will sponsor a forum to bring community partners and the public together to discuss common goals and leadership of action on poverty
- $1000 will help us launch an innovative, 100% Vancouver Island, ethical Community Investment Fund