In 2019, Vancouver Foundation, a key partner in Vital Signs, commissioned a province-wide survey focusing on civic participation to explore how people are making a difference in their communities. Sunshine Coast Foundation partnered with the Sunshine Coast Resource Centre to solicit local responses. 400 Sunshine Coast residents completed the survey, all but 30 of whom were over the age of 45, a strong reflection of the demographics of the region. The survey captured their experiences in volunteering, philanthropy, and civic engagement, including non-traditional ways of participating, and use of engagement through social media. The survey results are summarized in the report A Snapshot of Community Participation in BC.

We are very pleased to publish the local results of the 2019 survey, available for download below.

Civic participation, social connectedness, and a sense of belonging of residents are some of the key factors contributing to community health, vitality, and sustainability. The 2019 Vital Signs Community Participation Survey indicates that the Sunshine Coast has a highly engaged population. People have a strong commitment to participating in community life and acting on issues that they care about. The level of civic engagement and contribution indicated in most of the topics surveyed is higher than the provincial average, and points to a local culture strong in volunteerism, philanthropy, civic literacy, and stewardship.

This survey was conducted in the summer of 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic disrupted life in significant ways. The restrictions caused by the response to COVID-19 likely has, at least temporarily, reduced our community’s ability to participate in civic life. On the other hand, our high level of community participation and generosity has also helped us weather the challenges of the pandemic better than less engaged communities. The generous contributions of donors to the Sunshine Coast COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund and the fundraising success of local food banks are examples of the great community spirit found on the Sunshine Coast.

Stories: Eleanor Thielke and David Cox Scholarship Fund

One of the newest endowments at the Community Foundation is the Eleanor Thielke and David Cox Scholarship Fund. The decision to set up a Scholarship Fund to enable high school students to attend University extends back a generation and represents the love of learning that Eleanor’s and David’s families felt strongly about. Education was the most important thing for their parents, who believed that with an education, hard work, and helping each other, their children could achieve confidence and success throughout their adult lives.