VIATEC Foundation Fund builds incentive for community giving

Source: Pulse Magazine

VIATEC Foundation Fund builds incentive for community giving

Victoria’s tech community has long had a hand in making a difference. As an industry on the edge of innovation, aiding its community, literally and philanthropically, has always been a priority.

VIATEC (Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council) has been an industry leader since its launch in 1989, and supporting the community is built into its mission. This past year marked a new chapter in VIATEC’s contributions with the launch of the VIATEC Foundation Fund — a fund, held with the Victoria Foundation, that provides a simple way for VIATEC members to give back.

“People in tech companies love efficiency, and we saw this as a way to offer our members a front door for supporting the causes they care about,” says Dan Gunn, VIATEC CEO. Gunn, who has been running VIATEC for the last 13 years, says he noticed many of his members were philanthropic, but most gave privately or lacked a direction for their goals. Because it is an industry that thrives on competition and challenges, Gunn saw an opportunity to offer people a way to direct their generosity and show the Victoria community what’s possible.

The fund has already generated more success than expected. At the launch event, members raised $177,242 for the fund, which continues to grow. This year, most funding will support the Mustard Seed Food Bank, and Gunn says the tech community will guide the fund moving forward, from food security to education, homelessness, and other initiatives.

Mark Longo, VIATEC board member and chair of the VIATEC Foundation Fund’s committee, says working with the Victoria Foundation simplified the process of setting up the fund, allowing members to focus on the charities rather than administration.

“Many of us in the tech sector are very fortunate, and giving back is important to us — it’s our responsibility and our honour, and getting involved in the fund makes sense,” says Longo. “I’ve seen the importance of this sector grow over the years, but the consistent theme is giving back. We have a lot of passionate people in this industry, and you accomplish a lot when people work together.”