AVIVA Community Fund Grand Prize Winners – We did it!!!

acf-2016_grandprizewinner_socialmedia-600x337_en_02Thanks to all your votes and support during the application process, we have been informed that we are the Grand Prize winners for this year’s AVIVA Community fund prize. We were awarded $50,000 for our Hub Revitalization project. This is a HUGE win for us and it will make a renovation possible that will completely transform our reception area and the experience our community will have when seeking our services. We couldn’t have done it without all your votes and support. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts and on behalf of the community this win is going to directly benefit. See the official announcement here.

Our press release is below:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Downtown Eastside Homeless Shelter wins top AVIVA Community Fund Prize.
National online competition yields $50,000
Vancouver, BC – First United Community Ministry has once again won the top prize amount in their award category for the AVIVA Community Fund; a project proposal based competition that sees hundreds of applications from across the country. The shelter, known to those in the Downtown Eastside for its tall colorful steeple and low-barrier high-acceptance policy, won the top prize in 2014 for their shelter storage facility upgrade and has won yet again with a proposal to renovate their reception and intake window. The prize amount: $50,000.
The First United proposal outlined a plan to renovate their reception area to make it more accessible and welcoming, thus increasing the face to face interaction the ministry is known for. The project will also see the construction of three new offices which will allow for private counsel with case planners and the community minister.

“Allowing members of our community the right to privacy when seeking our services adds to the sense of humanity and belonging that we work so hard to achieve,” says Fund Development Manager Natalie Lanoville. “Giving someone the opportunity to see a smiling face and genuine interest from a fellow human being holds such currency in this community; this renovation will make that possible for us.”
First United serves hundreds of community members of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside every day, providing programs such as foot care, tax services, mail and message services, a courtesy long-distance phone, case planning, and the distribution of dozens of personal care items such a socks, harm reductions supplies and personal hygiene items. All of these are facilitated through the reception hub, making the tiny area allotted up until now very challenging to work with.
Shelter Operations Manager Jerri Morrick says the AVIVA award will completely transform the atmosphere at First United. “Our community will be better able to access our services in a much more quick and efficient manner. The community will have better access to our community minister for support, as well as our shelter case planners who assist the residents of our shelter with housing needs, health concerns, and anything else to help with move towards more stability in their lives.”
“We cannot be more excited to be able to provide the best to the community we serve, which is what they really deserve.”
The AVIVA Community Fund is awarded to projects successful in garnering the most votes during an online voting round. First United’s large supporter base enabled them to finish this round in the top five and they were then selected by the AVIVA judges for the top reward amount post application review. The announcement came as a welcome bit of good news for First United as the organization’s programs operate almost entirely on donated funds; making such a large project all but impossible without awards like this one.
“There were definitely some tears when they told us,” Lanoville recalls. “We’re very grateful.”


411: First United’s Hub Revitalization Project can be viewed on the AVIVA Community Fund website here: https://www.avivacommunityfund.org/voting/project/view/16-289

For more information contact Communications and Public Relations Coordinator Jennie Orton at 604-328-0098 or jorton@firstunited.ca. You can also visit First United at @FirstUnitedDTES on Facebook and Twitter.

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