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Sandra Hayes-Gardiner’s (l.) memoir recounts her upbringing in a racially divided town in Manitoba and her journey from ignorance to understanding the impact of systemic racism.” FULL STORY

Wosk donates during COVID crisis

April 17th, 2020

Vancouver philanthropist Yosef Wosk has donated $100,000 to help British Columbia’s struggling artists and members of the cultural community navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

On March 27, concerned about the possibility that Vancouver City Council may not approve the 2020 Cultural Grant allocations in an upcoming special meeting, the BC Alliance for Arts + Culture issued an advocacy alert to members of the cultural community imploring them to make their voices heard. After an outpouring of letters, Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Council unanimously approved the planned investments, and Wosk was alerted to the peril facing artists and cultural organizations affected by COVID-19. He reacted swiftly and generously, with a pledge of $100,000 dedicated to the arts.

“Through the advocacy efforts of the BC Alliance for Arts + Culture, we have been informed that […] artists and those involved in cultural programming require urgent assistance as a result of the unprecedented medical measures that we have been forced to take,” said Wosk. “The cultural sector is characterized by a high proportion of self-employed people who are dependent on revenues from cancelled performances, events, and exhibitions, and now face a major threat to their livelihoods.”

The donation will be partially administered through the Vancouver Foundation’s In Our Hearts Community Response Fund, a new fund created by the Foundation along with Vancity, United Way Lower Mainland, and other partners. Currently just under $6 million and growing, it addresses the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on B.C. charities.

On April 9, the Foundation announced phase two of ‘In Our Hearts’ with a $1 million injection of new funds specifically for arts, culture and community programs. The Vancouver Foundation stressed that arts and culture are “important to the social fabric that ties our community ecosystem together.”

Wosk agrees, and hopes that his donation “might serve as a catalytic inspiration for others to contribute, each according to their means and predilection of causes.” This becomes especially important in light of Mayor Stewart’s recent press conference where he expressed uncertainty about future investments in Vancouver’s arts and culture non-profit sector. Those interested in donating during this critical time can donate to the Vancouver Foundation at https://www.vancouverfoundation.ca/covid19.

Ends Wosk: “May we be inspired to ever greater heights of creativity and depths of kindness. To paraphrase the bard: ‘If culture be the food of love, play on.'”

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