Posted by Brent Barootes on Mar 04, 2019

Friday March 1, 2019

Dave Hammond aptly introduced our guest speakers today. He has worked closely with them in regard to their partnership with Nanaimo Child Development Centre’s project in Maffeo Sutton Park with the children’s playground development right next to our Centennial project in the park. Dave is also working with them to acquire some land in Nanaimo for the building of a “home away from home” near the hospital.

Our speakers were Veronica Carroll (left) the CEO of Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island and Anita Brassard (right) the Community Investment Manager for North Island. It was also pointed out that Veronica is a judge of the Silly Boat Races which we will have a Rotary entry int his year. The Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island was originally started 92 years ago and some may remember is as the Queen Alexandra Foundation and started by a lady named Edith Scott who was tired of taking her child across the straight to Vancouver for child healthcare services as her child had a disability. So “The Queen Alexandra Solarium for Crippled Children” was built in Mill Bay. In 1984 the Queen Alexandra Foundation for Children was formed and then today it is now known as Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island. In 2012 the first “hone away from home” concept of a place for parents with a child in the hospital to stay and rest became a reality as Jeneece Place in Victoria. This facility provides private rooms with baths for overnight stays at a reasonable rate ($25 per night). In 2018 this facility served 33 Nanaimo families for a total of 212 nights and the longest consecutive stay for a Nanaimo family at Jeneece Place was 41 nights.


The Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island in 2018 delivered $4.7 million to projects for kids health on Vancouver Island with 14% of that funding going to Nanaimo area families. It is important to note on Vancouver Island there are 775,000 people of which 160,000 are children (aged zero to 24) – 20% f the population and the Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island provided services to 35,000 of those families or 20% of ALL the kids on the island. Likely you know someone personally that was aided by this Foundation.


Overall the Foundation looks to fund projects from three areas. These are

  1. Child and youth complex needs

  2. Early childhood development

  3. Youth mental health


To achieve the direction above the Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island has four foal funding areas meeting these objectives. They are:

  1. Bear Essentials – providing basics such as travel support and equipment of those families in need – last year 42 Nanaimo families accessed this support with over $25,000 being delivered to these families to support them

  2. The operation of Janeece Place and other “homes away from home” in key markets. The new facility in Comox Valley has broken ground and the Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island are presently seeking land for such a facility in Nanaimo.

  3. Major Initiatives such as accessible equipment and projects like the accessible park in Maffeo Sutton Park

  4.  Community partnerships where they work with groups such Nanaimo Child Development Society and other such organizations across the Island to help them with their mandates.


Bob Wilson then presented both our speakers with a pen and thanked them for their presentation. And as Bob noted, most of us have heard about the Foundation but had no idea how big of an impact it has on our youth and children on the Island and the extensiveness of its services and support.