Building a Safer Vancouver Together
This year we are proud to be celebrating our 45th anniversary. That’s 45 years of serving this great city and supporting the goals of the Vancouver Police Department as they go above and beyond. While we do not fund essential policing services, we do eagerly seek and fund initiatives that help the VPD save lives and prevent crime at a grassroots level as well as develop and execute meaningful community outreach programs.
Due to the nature of their work, VPD officers often see the gaps and needs in our neighbourhoods before anyone else. They turn to the Vancouver Police Foundation for funding to launch and operate programs that fill these gaps. These officers go well beyond the scope of their job and typically manage these programs on a voluntary basis—after shifts or on days off.
Two weeks ago we showcased some of the important programs we granted to in the 1900s, check those out here: Part 1: VPF in the 1900s
Today we turn our attention to the start of the new millennium. With more than 220 programs funded in the last 45 years, let’s look at some of the key programs funded by the VPF from 2000 – 2010.
2001 – 9.11 Relief Fund
The world will never forget the morning of September 11, 2001. The VPD immediately came together to raise money for the NYPD Relief Fund to support their American brothers and sisters in the aftermath of the tragedy. Over $200,000 was raised and the Vancouver Police Foundation was a key partner to help facilitate this endeavor. Funds raised were personally delivered by VPD officers to New York City.
2004 – Pulling Together Canoe Journey BBQ
Fostering an ongoing relationship with Indigenous communities across Vancouver and beyond has been a priority for many years for both the Vancouver Police Department and the Vancouver Police Foundation. A process of listening, understanding, and healing has been at work for decades with years of important work in this area still to come. We are proud to fund many programs that benefit both local Indigenous communities and the VPD in a way that garners a symbiotic relationship of thoughtfulness, empathy, and mutual learnings.
One of these programs is the Pulling Together Canoe Journey – a ten-day paddling journey that brings together Indigenous communities, various police organizations, other public service agencies, and youth. The act of both public service personnel and Indigenous people paddling in unison is a powerful symbol of positive relationships and mutual respect. The PTCJ is the first program of reconciliation in action and set an example for many other programs that followed. While the Foundation has supported this initiative since 2001, the Canoe Journey BBQ in 2004 marked an important step along the way, bringing hundreds of participants and community members together to feast.
2008 – NASKARZ
NASKARZ is a dynamic, award-winning program for high-risk inner-city youth in Vancouver. Developed in 2008 in partnership with Ray-Cam Co-operative Centre, Vancouver Community College, ICBC and the VPD, the Vancouver Police Foundation was proud to be one of the founding financial partners. The program helps to support and counsel youth who have had conflicts with their peers, while also assisting youth who are victimized by other youth. The unique environment of having both groups participate together encourages and teaches the importance of teamwork, healthy communications, respect and empathy.
The program has been recognized for its exceptional potential to not only reduce youth crime, but to propel these same young people toward education and new opportunities in training, employment and recreation. NASKARZ has been credited by ICBC as one of the initiatives that led to a 71% multi-year drop in car theft in Vancouver. In 2014, NASKARZ extended its reach to high-risk youth in Metro Vancouver by including participants from Burnaby, Port Coquitlam, New Westminster and Surrey.
2009 – Forward-Looking Infra-Red Camera
The VPD’s Marine Unit is one of the only full-time police marine units in BC. They are responsible for policing all waterways within the city of Vancouver. Safety and the education of boaters is one of the primary roles of the unit, combined with law enforcement when needed. The Marine Unit can and does deploy in all levels of visibility and nearly all-weather conditions. Up until 2009, this was a challenge as certain weather conditions restricted the operability of two of the unit’s vessels. The issue of low light and interference backlight from the shore complicated operations.
With funding from the Foundation, the Marine Unit was able to purchase a Forward Looking Infra-Red Camera system in 2009. This system contains premium multi sensor, thermal imaging and night vision cameras that provide high resolution images via infra-red, night vision, and day camera units. With this device, the Marine Unit was able to significantly improve the usability of their entire fleet in all levels of visibility and weather conditions.
The Vancouver Police Foundation supports programs and initiatives that fall under one of four pillars: Youth Programs, Mental Health & Addictions, Community Outreach & Engagement, and Technology & Special Equipment. You can help build a safer Vancouver by donating to the Vancouver Police Foundation.