Through generous donations made by our community, the Vancouver Police Foundation funds innovative, creative, and inspiring VPD community programs each year.
These programs and initiatives fall outside of the regular operating budget of the city and the VPD officers that operate these programs typically do so on their own time – after a shift or on days off. Program support falls within four key areas: Community Outreach & Engagement, Mental Health and Addictions, Youth and Technology & Special Equipment.
Below are some of the programs that were funded by the Foundation in 2019 thanks to the support of our donors.
The Shoebox Project $1,000
During the holiday season, the Shoebox Project delivers gifts for women in need to shelters and support agencies. This project aims to help women who have been displaced from their homes and estranged from their families. Each box will contain approximately $50 worth of items to help women feel special, beautiful, and valued. The intended impacted of this program is to remind the recipients that they have not been forgotten and to help reduce the feelings of isolation and loneliness that can come with living in a shelter.
Women In Blue $7,580
Carolyn Daley is the VPD’s first ever female Deputy Chief Constable. She has dedicated the last several years to writing a book dedicated to the women who have served with the VPD. It is the first known record of the 123 women who were sworn in to the Department between 1904-1975. Carolyn has connected with each of the women still living in order to document their stories and career information. Women in Blue is intended to introduce and recognized women who, despite their less than positive welcome into the world of male-dominated law enforcement, pushed back and stepped up to prove their competence and ability to do the job.
Pulling Together Canoe Journey $12,273
The Pulling Together Canoe Journey is a powerful relationship-building initiative between various cultures and government agencies, including police departments throughout the Lower Mainland. Since its inception, it has seen more than 500 Indigenous peoples, youth and law enforcement members paddle through the indigenous waters of British Columbia. The VPD has been participating in the program since 2001, and the VPF have been supporting it since 2015.
Women in the Downtown Eastside are particularly vulnerable to multiple forms of violence and often, are reluctant to call the police when they have been victimized or others have been harmed. SisterWatch began in 2010 with the community and the Vancouver Police Department working together with a commitment to keep women safe in the community. This Committee convenes at least four times per year to discuss issues of concern and to collaborate on solutions to those issues. It is attended by the Chief Constable and other senior executive members of the VPD.
Women’s Personal Safety Team $13,951
The VPD Women’s Personal Safety Team is a truly unique program supporting women’s safety in our community. The program enhances women’s security, self-protection and confidence by providing the tools to prevent and defend from asocial violence, including education, training and resources. The Team teaches women of all ages, demographics and abilities and recently pivoted the program to offer virtual sessions due to the pandemic.
Senior Fraud Tips $2,500
The Public Affairs and Financial Crime Units have partnered to create an informational booklet for seniors so they can protect themselves from online scams and other forms of financial fraud. The booklet will be made available at community centres and used at outreach events. The booklet was also translated into Chinese and Punjabi to ensure the information is accessible to the majority of Vancouver’s seniors.
Lunch with The Chief $5,000
The popular Lunch with the Chief series connects residents of the Downtown Eastside with VPD frontline and executive officers, including the Chief Constable. Lunches take place at the Carnegie Community Centre approximately four times a year and have been hugely successful in improving relationships between law enforcement and community members. By providing an informal platform for engagement, participants are able to share in food and conversation, as a way to break down established barriers of communication and have meaningful, positive interactions in a neutral environment.
A peer-led mental wellness program for grade 7 students which aims to reduce the stigma of mental health. This five-year pilot project works in conjunction with the Vancouver School Board and Canadian Mental Health Association Vancouver Branch. The program is facilitated by VPD members from the Youth Services Section and delivers workshops as well as facilitator training so that grades 10-12 facilitators work directly with grade 7 students. Not only does this program intend to make conversations about mental health a regular part of conversations and interactions, it provides a list of resources and how to access them for youth.
AOT Operation Carepack Backpacks $8,025
The Assertive Outreach Team (AOT) is a healthcare and police partnership unique to Vancouver. Persons with severe mental health and addiction issues have interactions with the criminal justice/healthcare systems as a result of their illnesses. AOT conducts outreach to clients to reduce incidences of violence and self-harm; to protect the public by stabilizing and supporting clients (decompensating or in crisis) to improve their quality of life and transition them to an appropriate level of care. Most AOT clients are unemployed, living in extreme poverty and many are homeless. The Care Packs will provide clients with some necessities, improve quality of life and promote positive relationships between clients and the police. The Care Packs will be a waterproof backpack with: winter outdoor/waterproof gloves; thermal socks; toque; a 120 piece first aid kit; nail clippers; flashlight; toothbrush; reusable water bottle; Narcan kit; deodorant; toothpaste; breakfast bars; feminine products; wet wipes and a Save-On Meats meal token.
The ID4ME identification project is designed to assist low barrier and vulnerable individuals to move forward in their lives by providing them with photo identification. The success of this program has been felt, in particular, in the Downtown Eastside with the residents in the area using their new ID to open bank accounts, obtain improved housing, and upgrading their education. Every contact made with individuals in this program closes the gap in helping to strengthen the existing relationship with the Police. Since 2015, the Vancouver Police Foundation has supported ID4ME which has already acquired birth certificates, BCID, BC Services card and Status cards, changing the lives and lifestyles of residents in our community.
CPC Volunteer Mental Readiness Training $12,725
A one-day yearly training session for Community Policing Centre volunteers and staff members. The session will include lunch and supplies/resources. Training will include mental readiness, crisis intervention, youth and bullying. In 2018, they were offered mental readiness training with crisis intervention. The feedback indicated that expanded training on crisis intervention with specific focus on youth and bullying. The training symposium in 2019 coincided with Pink Shirt Day and focused on bullying.
Victim Transportation Program $6,000
The VPD Domestic Violence and Criminal Harassment Unit (DVACH) works closely with the Family Services of Greater Vancouver (FSGV) to provide support and outreach to victims of intimate partner violence and elder abuse. FSGV Support Workers help victims by providing transportation and accompaniment to Crown and police appointments and more. Two donated vehicles are crucial to the operation of this program and this grant will help maintain the vehicles and provide insurance.
Trafficking Awareness Through Technology $10,000
The VPD’s Counter Exploitation Unit is the only investigative unit in BC targeting and focusing on human trafficking and sexual exploitation. Exploitation can occur to people from all walks of life, from the most vulnerable to those with supportive family and stable socioeconomic backgrounds. Youth and young people are especially vulnerable. This project will raise awareness through social media and will help people identify a pimp and to prevent them engaging with one; the second focus is to ensure that victims or potential victims have easy access to outreach and resources. They are more likely to reach out if the information is only a few clicks away.
Project 529 $11,500
The 529 Garage aims to resolve the problem of bike theft by tracking ownership, creating a visible deterrent to bike theft (via a unique decal) and by allowing bike owners and the police to assist each other in locating and returning stolen bikes. The program is a comprehensive bike registry and recovery system, accessible online or through an app. Since 2015, the Project has registered 12,502 bikes and aims to add another 5,000 by year-end.
Odd Squad $13,230
For over 21 years, the Odd Squad has delivered drug and gang prevention programs to youth, parents and professionals. This work is founded in the use of reality-based materials captured by members as they work. It’s delivered through three streams – drug and gang prevention presentations, P2P based education training sessions and in educational films and documentaries. The purchase of new equipment – cameras, edit workstations and presentation equipment will help them stay at the forefront of reality-based education.
Streetfront Alternative Program $10,143
The Streetfront Alternative Program at Britannia Secondary caters to students between 14 – 17 years who struggle in a traditional classroom due to psychosocial challenges. A majority of Streetfront’s students live in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Streetfront emphasizes physical activity as a way to engage struggling students, with a major focus on training to run marathons.
YouthConnect 2019 $11,800
YouthConnect is a one-day symposium designed to give high school students a forum to discuss trends such as consent, diversity, healthy relationships and personal safety. While the VPD has a number of excellent programs aimed at preventing crime, promoting public safety and building bridges with youth (PAL, Student Challenge, Cadets), young people continue to face difficult decisions about personal relationships, safety and online behavior and often feel isolated and without support. This has resulted in physical and sexual assaults in schools, distribution of personal and intimate images and unsafe social media use. YouthConnect was created in 2017 to combat these emerging trends. Each year, approximately 150 students, staff and counsellors from public and private schools in Vancouver attend to discuss and learn about consent, diversity, healthy relationships, personal safety and safe dating.
Gang Tackle & Turning Point $10,000
These two programs were developed to provide education and strong alternative choices for at-risk youth who are vulnerable to the drug trade. It also builds strong, positive relationships between youth and police and encourages youth to make choices before it’s too late.
Gang Tackle consists of a friendly flag football game with varsity and professional athletes, police and the youth in the program. Students then hear from former gang members as they talk about their experiences with gangs and the negative impact it had on their lives. Turning Point provides youth with the opportunities to go a “walking tour” of the DTES and speak to residents of that community. A key focus for those talks is the residents talking about the reality of life on the DTES (in addition to seeing it first hand) and how life’s choices have long-term consequences. This program is granted $10,000 per year for 3 years.
VGBA Langara Showcase $4,000
In 2018 and 2019, the Vancouver Girls’ Basketball Association partnered up with Langara College and the VPD to run a girls’ basketball tournament featuring sixteen Vancouver schools. The Vancouver Police Foundation will once again provide scholarships to eight graduating senior girls for the 2020 VGBA Langara Challenge.
Strathcona Backpack Program $5,000
The Strathcona Community Centre Backpack Program operates on a weekly basis strategically set on Friday afternoons to ensure maximum program delivery. Created in 2010, 125 families and 360 kids began accessing the backpack program. These numbers have increased yearly with roughly 175 families with 415 children accessing the Backpack Program each week throughout the school year in 2018. Families come and access the community centre and fill a large backpack up with fruits, vegetables, and healthy non-perishable staples. The backpacks are filled with well-rounded nutritional support for families experiencing food insecurity. The families can also access registered nutritionists who volunteer their time to educate families on how to eat healthy meals on limited budgets. This program was created to fill the increasing need for food security for low income and impoverished families living in the Downtown Eastside. Access to healthy food choices over the weekend can be difficult when the school breakfast, snack and lunch programs are not available to them.
Windermere Run Club $10,143
The Club provides a supportive and welcoming running environment for dozens of youth. Grades 8-12 students are at-risk of negative association, criminal involvement and victimization. By participating in the Club, led by VPD members, the youth are learning to overcome personal challenges together by running as a collective and encouraging each other. In addition, they develop positive relationships with VPD members. The Foundation will fund the purchase of running gear for students to train safely and in all weather conditions, as well as race entrance fees and other expenses.
VPD Cadet Program $350,000
The VPD Cadet program is a unique leadership program for Vancouver youth in grades 10 – 12 that teaches tangible life-skills such as financial literacy, managing one’s personal brand, interviewing, teamwork and collaboration, diet and nutrition and more. This 28-week, youth-at-risk program has a positive and profound impact on their lives. The program commenced in September of 2014 with seed funding provided by the VPD Cadet Program Founding Partners and proceeds from the 2014 Night Patrol Gala. The Vancouver Police Department, along with the Vancouver Police Foundation and its community partners, are deeply committed to giving Vancouver’s youth every possible chance for a successful and happy life. Through mentorship, we can guide young people, especially those who live in low-income neighbourhoods, toward a positive future.
NewKids Vancouver $16,348
With the numbers of newcomer youth entering Vancouver area schools continuing to increase, the Foundation is committed to continue its support of NewKids program to support new immigrant and refugee youth to develop a sense of identity and belonging. The ten-week program focuses on instilling education and awareness around law enforcement through peer and police mentorship, to avert the risk of negative behaviours, and criminal involvement. In addition, it offers newcomer and refugee youth the chance to form positive relationships, instilling civic pride, self-empowerment and a foundation for positive decision making.
Police Athletic League Soccer Program $25,000
The club has operated two youth programs for over 30 years – free of charge for participants. The soccer school draws approximately 250-300 children provides a positive experience and a positive environment to interact with VPD officers. The program provides soccer equipment through a local business to children in East Vancouver that cannot afford to participate in the sport. In July 2017, hundreds of Vancouver kids between the ages of six to 17, took part in the VPD Youth Soccer Camp in Strathcona Park. The camp is one of many initiatives that the VPD uses to engage and connect with youth in the community.