The Victoria Foundation has announced grants totalling over $113,000 provided to six societies and organizations in hopes of improving oral and mental health care in the city.

These grants were offered through a collaboration with Green Shield Canada (GSC) which established a program called ‘Six 4 Six’ to fund priority oral and mental health projects across six communities in Canada.

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In Greater Victoria, grants will be provided to the Victoria Cool Aid Society, Inter-Cultural Association, Garth Homer Society, Salt Spring and Southern Gulf Islands Community Services Society, Island Community Mental Health, and Island Health.

Here’s a breakdown of what they will be used for:

  • Victoria Cool Aid Society – $24, 970

    This project will engage a dental practice consultant to develop a fiscal and operational model for non-profit dentistry.

  • Inter-Cultural Association – $25,000
    This project will scan and survey local dentists regarding participation in Interim Federal Health benefits, support dentists in registering with IFH, create a local network of dentists and health providers committed to increasing the long-term oral health outcomes for newcomers, and provide newcomer client oral health education.

  • Garth Homer Society – $25,000
    This grant is for architectural research to determine the technical and design requirements for a clinic that provides special care dentistry services to be built within Garth Homer’s new building, and which could serve as a base for mobile dentistry units.

  • Salt Spring and Southern Gulf Islands Community Services Society – $16,318
    This grant is to hire a dental navigator for Salt Spring Island, to increase access to oral health care, improve service delivery and network with private practice dentists and hygienists.

  • Island Community Mental Health – $7,700
    This grant contributes to the planning and development of a new low-barrier social gathering place, designed to provide a range of evidence-based, recovery-oriented psychosocial rehabilitation services, including social engagement, peer support and health and wellness programming.

  • Island Health –$14,520
    This grant provides funding for wrap-around mental health programming for a pilot school wellness centre at Shoreline Middle School. Programming will include group-learning sessions and workshops for parents and guardians as well as school staff, designed to bring the child’s whole team into their supportive strategies, and student skill-building groups addressing themes such as self-esteem and anxiety.

“Six 4 Six represents a new collaborative model of corporate philanthropy that’s all about community partnerships,” says Sherry Peister, GSC’s board chair.

“Back in 1957, the GSC founders identified the need for affordable pre-paid health benefits and met this need with Canada’s first pre-paid drug plan. Ever since, we’ve made ‘giving back’ a concept we live and breathe.”

The Six 4 Six program offers a total $6 million for programs in six communities across Canada.

They have allocated $700,000 for the Victoria Foundation to disperse to organizations that help address mental and oral health care needs, gaps and priority areas.