United Way Greater Victoria Successfully Delivers its Hi Neighbour Program

Funding grants provided to twelve initiatives in Esquimalt thanks to donation from Seaspan, Southern Railway of British Columbia and the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation

 Victoria, BC (September 29, 2020) – United Way Greater Victoria (UWGV) has successfully provided funding grants to twelve programs in the Township of Esquimalt through its Hi Neighbour program.

The Hi Neighbour program is a community-building project created to respond to the needs of vulnerable citizens, such as seniors and people living in poverty, during the COVID-19 pandemic. This program was activated in Esquimalt as a direct result of a donation made by Seaspan, sister company Southern Railway of British Columbia and the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation.

“Through this generous donation to the United Way, Hi Neighbour built on the strengths, talents and passion ever prevalent in Esquimalt. This hyper-local initiative engaged residents, agencies and businesses in the creation of  interesting new partnerships and opportunities aimed at helping those most in need during these uncertain times,” said Mark Breslauer, CEO of United Way Greater Victoria.

Esquimalt residents and businesses submitted proposals for micro-grants in answer to the question, “If you had $500 to make an impact in your community, what would you do?” United Way worked with local community partners and Seaspan provided volunteers.

“I’m proud of my team for stepping up to support the Hi Neighbour program,” said Joe O’Rourke, Vice President and General Manager of Seaspan Victoria Shipyards. “COVID has turned people’s lives upside down and added a lot more pressure and stress in our communities. At such a challenging time, I’m grateful that our people were able to help make a difference to those who need it the most.”

A wide variety of initiatives received funding that will help different vulnerable populations. Funded projects include:

  • Mini Libraries – Esquimalt Little Free Library Project
  • Food Vouchers – Esquimalt Farmers Market
  • COVID masks – Esquimalt Neighbourhood House
  • New exercise equipment – Play Beyond Expectations
  • Watercolour virtual painting lessons for youth – Richard Wong (instructor) & Big Brothers Big Sisters youth (recipients) –
  • Garden upgrades – Esquimalt Community Garden Society
  • Tablet purchases for Sacred group members – PEERS Victoria Resource Society
  • Organizational shelving and kitchen equipment – Rainbow Kitchen Society
  • Incidentals community cupboard – Esquimalt Neighbourhood House
  • Purchase of Lunch boxes , water bottles and rain boots – Harbourview Church
  • Housing Grant – Esquimalt First Nations
  • Lkwungen Awareness Posters Project – Songhees Nation

“The Hi Neighbour Program has given Esquimalt a real boost. Projects have included the addition of five mini libraries; senior and youth support programming; plus our local social service agencies have been able to augment their programs. Perhaps the highlight of this is the addition of volunteers and volunteer hours given to and for our community by Seaspan workers. We are very grateful for the coordination done by United Way, Kelly Binette and to Seaspan and the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation for the gift of enhancing our community resilience through this challenging time,” said Barb Desjardins, Mayor of Esquimalt.


About United Way Greater Victoria

United Way is a trusted leader, influencer and catalyst for change. In response to COVID-19, we are focusing our efforts on urgent community needs such as mental health outreach services and counselling, meals and companionship for isolated seniors, and essentials for families in need. United, we accelerate change to improve the lives of our neighbours who need it most, making our local community stronger. We believe everyone in Greater Victoria should have the opportunity to reach their potential. Our vision is to build a safe and resilient community where happiness and belonging connect us. Last fiscal year United Way raised $4.7 million thanks to over 7,000 donors and over 250 workplaces opening their offices to run employee giving programs. These funds allowed United Way to support over 90,000 people. Show your local love today by making a gift to United Way at uwgv.ca.

 Media Contact

Heather Skydt
United Way Greater Victoria
Director, Marketing and Communications
Mobile: 250-686-3606
Office: 250-984-2269