Vital Youth Program (Victoria Foundation)

The Vital Youth program (previously Youth in Philanthropy) provides students with hands-on experience in philanthropy and community development.

Our Impact Why We Exist

Our Vital Youth program has proven to serve as an ongoing catalyst for positive change in our community. Since the program’s inception in 2003, it has grown to include eight high schools in the Capital Region. On average each school  year, more than 100 students take part in Vital Youth. Over the life of the program, students have made grants totalling $154,946 to organizations throughout our community.

"Being in Youth in Philanthropy, I now understand the importance of giving to your community. When I'm 75 I'll still be giving - and you can count on it." - Mack Edwards, Youth in Philanthropy alumnus

"We do have such a strong community here in Victoria. Youth in Philanthropy and Victoria Foundation really bring out that sense of community." - Lisa Brownlow, Youth in Philanthropy alumna

Our Story What We Do

Through their participation in Vital Youth, students gain lasting analytical skills and an appreciation of philanthropy and community leadership that together support their future academic and professional endeavours. It is the hope of the Victoria Foundation that participants will be inspired to practice philanthropy and support the community throughout their lives.

Our Programs How We Do It

Schools participate in the Vital Youth program through a youth advisory committee or a leadership class. The Victoria Foundation allocates each project team $2,500 to distribute to federally registered charities on southern Vancouver Island.

The Vital Youth process is proactive, and the students work together to determine which areas they would like to address in their community using various tools, including Victoria’s Vital Signs® and Victoria’s Youth Vital Signs. The groups identify organizations doing work in those areas and conduct site visits and interviews with key staff within those organizations. Based on their findings, grant recommendations are made to our Board of Directors for approval in the spring.

Each year, the Victoria Foundation provides a grant of $500 to a fund for each school participating in the Vital Youth program. This builds an endowment for future granting.

Participating schools include:

  • Belmont Secondary School (since 2003)
  • Frances Kelsey Secondary School (2004)
  • Oak Bay High School (2003)
  • Reynolds Secondary School (2006)
  • St. Michaels University School (2004)
  • Stelly's Secondary School (2009)
  • Parkland Secondary School (2012)
  • Victoria High School (2003)

What You Can Do

The Vital Youth program is only possible with sponsorship of the schools, both corporate and individual. Through the generosity of sponsors, students are able to learn about philanthropy by gaining hands-on experience in the business of charitable giving and community development; this creates philanthropic habits that will stay with them throughout their lives. It is through these student-led committees that sponsors are able to contribute to community organizations whose needs are realized by Vital Youth participants.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the Vital Youth program or how to support it.

We acknowledge the generosity of these supporters:

  • Blair and Una H. Ferguson Fund
  • Honorary Governors' Millennium Fund (including personal contributions from a number of our Honorary Governors)
  • Robert and Jane Rogers Fund
  • Saanich Peninsula Foundation Fund
  • Victoria Foundation Vital Youth Program Fund (including contributions from various donors)
  • Anonymous Donor
  • Leora Nugent


Sandra Richardson
Executive Director
Charitable Number: 130650898RR0001

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