Dormant funds from BC Unclaimed directed to fight COVID-19 pandemic

March 25, 2020

Every year, a portion of dormant funds remitted to BC Unclaimed from businesses and organizations is transferred to Vancouver Foundation to be used for charitable purposes.

Vancouver Foundation recently used funds transferred from BC Unclaimed to help establish the Community Response Fund in partnership with Vancity credit union, United Way Lower Mainland, and the City of Vancouver. The fund will support charities that provide front-line services to people who are disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 virus and containment measures. The initial $3 million fund is expected to grow through donations from businesses and individuals.

Funding will be provided as emergency operating grants to help non-profit groups maintain or expand their services. Priority will be given to non-profits that serve the most vulnerable communities, including those groups that are seeing their own staff levels drop due to sickness or mandates to self-isolate.

One of the first grant recipients from the Community Response Fund was Bloom Group Community Services in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, which received $50,000 to support tenants who have lost their jobs and families grappling with the effects of the pandemic on mental health.

Unclaimed property from BC Unclaimed directed to Vancouver Foundation is designated as unrestricted funds, which means the Foundation can use them for any purpose necessary. “The unrestricted funds Vancouver Foundation receives from BC Unclaimed allows us to respond to the most pressing community needs such as the Covid-19 pandemic, providing an immediate and substantial boost to other funds available to address this crisis,” says Kevin McCort, President and CEO, Vancouver Foundation. 

“A situation like the Covid-19 outbreak underlines the importance for businesses and organizations to get dormant accounts off their books and remit those unclaimed funds to BC Unclaimed in compliance with the Unclaimed Property Act,” points out Alena Levitz, Executive Director of BC Unclaimed. “Not only is it the right thing to do from a financial management standpoint, but dormant funds that cannot be reunited with the rightful owners can be directed to urgent community programs that protect society’s most vulnerable people.”

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