CEO Dan Gunn spoke with Gregor Craigie, CBC about this year's event... see more
On The Island with Gregor Craigie | Live Radio | CBC
VIATEC Food Bank Challenge pits local tech companies against each other for a good cause. CEO Dan Gunn spoke with Gregor Craigie about this year's event...
A total of $45,224.40 in cash and 3,246 lbs of food has been collected for the Mustard Seed. see more
Tech community continues support of local food bank with a $51k donation
VICTORIA, BC - December 10, 2018 - A total of $45,224.40 in cash and 3,246 lbs of food has been collected for the Mustard Seed as a direct result from the 2018 VIATEC Foundation Food Bank Challenge! The weight in food is a new record, more than doubling last year’s weight and is equal to $6,492 ($2 per pound). This brings the total 2018 value to $51,716.40!
It is our honour to continue to play a role in encouraging and directing the generous members of our community,” said VIATEC CEO, Dan Gunn. “The participants got creative with their fundraising this year; There were wine raffles, bake sales, pancake breakfasts, chili cook-offs, office parties, plenty of interoffice competition and even a push-up competition between two companies. They’ve been digging deep, having fun and making a difference as part of the VIATEC Foundation Food Bank Challenge for over a decade and it’s because of them that many families will have food on the table this holiday season, and throughout the year. All the credit goes to our members and donors and we look forward to aiding them for many more decades to come.”
Since its inception in 2002, $2,201,714.40 worth of food and cash has been donated to the Mustard Seed through companies participating in the VIATEC Foundation Food Bank Challenge. With this year’s amount, the challenge has raised a total of $2,253,420.80!
The weight in food is a new record, more than doubling last year’s weight and is equal to $6,492 ($2 per pound)
This year’s top contributors:
Greatest Per-Employee Contributor
1st place: Aviary Technologies ($727 cash & food per employee)
2nd place: RevenueWire ($309.10 cash & food per employee)
3rd place: AES Engineering ($219.60 cash & food per employee)
Greatest Overall Contributor
1st place: RevenueWire ($12,364 cash & food)
2nd place: Starfish Medical ($7,090 cash & food)
3rd place: AES Engineering ($5,490 cash & food)
A plaque presentation took place on December 7th at VIATEC and the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce’s Sweater Weather Get Together event, bringing out over 300 attendees.
VIATEC (Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council), started in 1989. Our mission is to serve as the one-stop hub that connects people, knowledge and resources to grow and promote the Greater Victoria technology sector (Technology is Victoria's #1 industry with a $4.06 Billion Annual Revenue, a $5.22 Billion Economic Impact and over 16,775 employees across 995 high-tech companies - and growing!)
We work closely with our members to offer a variety of events, programs and services. In addition, VIATEC serves as the front door of the local tech sector and as its spokesperson. To better support local innovators, we acquired our own building (Fort Tectoria) where we offer flexible and affordable office space to emerging local companies along with a gathering/event space for local entrepreneurs. www.viatec.ca
About the VIATEC Foundation:
A fund, held with the Victoria Foundation, that provides a simple way for VIATEC members to give back. Launched in June of 2017 (Raising $177,242 on its first day), the VIATEC Foundation is a result of seeing the philanthropic efforts of VIATEC Members being made privately or members lacking a direction for their goals. Because it is an industry that thrives on competition and challenges, VIATEC saw an opportunity to offer people a way to direct their generosity and show the Victoria community what’s possible.
About the Mustard Seed Street Church:
The Mustard Seed Street Church has been essential in fighting hunger and restoring faith to a large portion of people living in poverty, as well as the working poor, in Greater Victoria since 1975. The Mustard Seed’s operations are nearly 100 percent community funded and include Vancouver Island’s largest Food Bank, a Family Center, Hospitality programs, and addictions recovery at Hope Farm Healing Centre as well as more traditional Church services.
The Mustard Seed Street Church positively impacts, on average 5,000 individuals per month, with more than 50 volunteers keeping things running everyday. With your help, lives are transformed on a daily basis! www.mustardseed.ca
Marketing & Events Director
VIATEC posted an articleVIATEC Foundation grant recipients include the Mustard Seed, Food Rescue and Robotic Butler programs see more
The VIATEC Foundation Announces its first Grant Recipients
VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA – June 5, 2018 - The VIATEC Foundation, which launched with a flourish at the Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council Awards in 2017, has made its first donations to causes in the region. “We were overwhelmed by the initial outpouring of support from Victoria’s tech community, translating into over $166,000 in initial pledges. In the ensuing months, we have recruited an amazing team to the VIATEC Foundation Committee and developed a framework for giving that will support our community in areas of need that are important to Victoria’s technology ecosystem”, commented Mark Longo, Chair of the VIATEC foundation committee and long-standing member of the VIATEC Board of Directors.
Cheques totalling $40,000 have been made out to The Mustard Seed Street Church, the Food Rescue Project and the University of Victoria-based James, the Robotic Butler Program. “The Foundation Committee looked at a broad range of needs in the community, we looked for projects that were innovative and, in this first year, fit with themes that resonate with our membership,” said VIATEC Board Chair and foundation committee member Rasool Rayani.
The newly minted foundation, which in its first year is working in partnership with the Victoria Foundation, was established by VIATEC to connect Victoria’s technology sector to the broader community. The foundation offers a mechanism for the tech sector to harness its collective charitable efforts to maximize the impact of the sector’s donations.
Longo said they expect the foundation to attain charitable entity status within two years, but for the time being will carry out activities using the back office and charitable status of the Victoria Foundation. “The Victoria Foundation has been an excellent partner to us in launching our fund. They have the infrastructure in place to manage the permanent component of our fund and to process donations and charitable receipts seamlessly,” remarked Longo. “It is such a pleasure for the Victoria Foundation to be working with a vibrant organization of the stature of VIATEC. Their sound grant decisions are based on community needs,” said Sandra Richardson, chief executive of the Victoria Foundation.
The first round of grants includes $10,000 for the Mustard Seed food bank, $15,000 for the Food Rescue Project and $15,000 for James, the Robotic Butler.
“VIATEC has a long history of supporting the Mustard Seed food bank and last year (VIATEC chief executive) Dan Gunn took on a challenge to do stair climbing in support of additional fundraising. To amplify that effort the foundation chose to offer matching support for the money raised,” said Rayani. Gunn raised nearly $5,000 for the Mustard Seed, and the foundation more than doubled that amount with an additional donation of $10,000.
The Mustard Seed will also benefit from the $15,000 grant ear-marked for the Food Rescue Project as it operates that program’s food security distribution centre. “The Mustard Seed Street Church is incredibly grateful for the continued support of VIATEC. This donation will go toward the completion of the commercial processing kitchen at the Food Security Distribution Centre and we couldn’t be happier,” said Derek Pace, interim executive director of the Mustard Seed Street Church.
“As a member of the Food Share Network we have had the incredible opportunity to be the operational lead on the Food Rescue Project. This fresh, healthy, rescued food is then redistributed to individuals and families in need, through 43 agencies to an estimated 35,000 people.”
But Pace noted that even their efforts result in some waste with as much as eight per cent of the rescued food going to animal feed or into the waste stream.
“This kitchen project will give us the opportunity to take still useable food and turn it into delicious, ready-made meals,” he said, adding it will go a long way in their goal of reducing waste by half.
Rayani said the support of the Food Rescue Project was a natural fit for the new foundation.
“This program supports the entire region and assists the homeless, lower income households and students,” he said.
The Food Rescue Project is the flagship of the Food Share Network, which helps 35,000 people annually who experience food insecurity.
The program diverts high quality food, which may otherwise end up as waste, to those in need.
Food Share Network co-ordinator Brenda Bolton said adding a commercial kitchen that will be available to non-profit agencies in the region makes a huge difference.
“We anticipate a further reduction in food entering the waste stream and are excited about access to a commercial kitchen, employment and training programs for low-income individuals and the products that will be developed using fresh fruit and vegetables,” she said. “The Food Rescue Project is feeding 35,000 people through the collection of over one million pounds of high-quality fruit, vegetables and dairy products.”
Bolton said the need continues to grow. “In 2016, an estimated 20,000 residents used food banks and meal programs to get enough food,” she said, adding nearly 30 per cent of those accessing emergency food resources are children.
The VIATEC Foundation held a donor appreciation event at the food security distribution centre on June 4th and donors witnessed first-hand the amazing potential of the centre to reduce food insecurity in the local community.
The University of Victoria-based James, the Robotic Butler Program, is also addressing a significant and growing need.
The program, housed at UVic’s School of Public Health and Social Policy, is developing robotic technology to increase the independence and quality of life of disabled users and offer assistance to caregivers and healthcare professionals working with disabled people.
Program lead Nigel Livingston, a professor at the School of Public Health and Social Policy, said the grant will have a significant impact on the program.
“First, in accelerating our research. It is also very significant and important to us that VIATEC has recognized the potential of our work. Having this type of recognition is important to other potential supporters,” he said. “Currently almost one in seven Canadians live with a disability.”
The program has already developed a sophisticated prototype of a mobile platform that can either move autonomously or be controlled by a user.
The platform can accommodate a suite of interchangeable modules that perform specific tasks like opening doors, pushing buttons, positioning trays and carrying groceries.
“The grant of $15,000 toward James the Butler Project supports professor Nigel Livingston’s cutting-edge work. It demonstrates the use of new research and technology playing a strong role in healthcare regarding people with physical disabilities,” said Richardson. “It enables people to focus on their abilities rather than disabilities.”
Donations can be made to the VIATEC Foundation Fund at https://victoriafoundation.bc.ca/make-a-donation/ or by sending a cheque payable to the Victoria Foundation—with the memo line of “VIATEC Foundation Fund”—to Victoria Foundation, #200 - 703 Broughton Street, Victoria BC, V8W 1E2.
Carmanah Technologies sweeps both categories with an overall $16,305.72 contribution. see more
Carmanah Technologies sweeps both categories with an overall $16,305.72 contribution. Challenge brings in a total of $128,320.88 for the Mustard Seed.
VICTORIA, BC - December 11, 2015 - Participants of the 2015 VIATEC Food Bank Challenge in support of the Mustard Seed gathered at last night’s VIATEC Christmas Party in Centennial Square as winners were revealed. The gathering under the big top tent drew out over 300 guests that were entertained by Ferris Wheel rides, live music from Astrocolor, pictures with Santa inside an inflatable igloo, food trucks, local craft brews and wine, and hot cocoa.
Carmanah Technologies won first place in both categories: Greatest Overall Contributor and Greatest Per-Employee Contributor. Having received second place by just $300 during the last challenge, they were determined to come in on top!
Greatest Overall Contributor
First Place - Carmanah Technologies: $16,305.72
First Runner-up - RevenueWire: $9,897.74
Second Runner-up - Schneider Electric: $8,896.70
Greatest Per Employee Contributor:
First Place - Carmanah Technologies
First Runner-up - Simply Rooted Media
Second Runner-up - Smart Dolphins IT Solutions
The 13th Annual VIATEC Food Bank Challenge was a very exciting and eventful one. A total of $73,885.12 in cash and 1000lbs of food (worth $2800) was raised in 4 short weeks from November 9th to December 4th, bringing the final 2015 total to a whopping $128,320.88 ($47,135.76 in cash + $4500 in food was raised in February).
With the Mustard Seed’s buying power, the cash donation amount doubles to $242,041.76. Since its inception, the VIATEC Food Bank Challenge has raised a total of $1,981,296.84.
“It's the amazing local tech companies that raised all of this cash,” commented Dan Gunn, VIATEC’s CEO. “VIATEC just gave them ways to keep score and cheered them on!”
To see photos from the Christmas Party, please click here.
13th Annual VIATEC Food Bank Challenge Participants:
FTS (Forest Technology Systems)
VIATEC (Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council), started in 1989. Our mission is to serve as the one-stop hub that connects people, knowledge and resources to grow and promote the Greater Victoria technology sector (Victoria's biggest industry).
We work closely with our members to offer a variety of events, programs and services. In addition, VIATEC serves as the front door of the local tech sector and as its spokesperson. To better support local innovators, we recently acquired our own building (Fort Tectoria) where we offer flexible and affordable office space to emerging local companies along with a gathering/event space for local entrepreneurs. www.viatec.ca
Dan Gunn is literally putting some skin in the game in a bid to feed the less fortunate. see more
Dan Gunn, chief executive of the Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council, is literally putting some skin in the game in a bid to feed the less fortunate.
Gunn will have the VIATEC insignia tattooed on his body if the organization’s annual food bank challenge raises in excess of $100,000 for the Mustard Seed Food Bank.
“We wanted to reinvigorate the food bank challenge, so we thought what would be a deep motivator to get us over $100,000 in cash? I offered a portion of my skin for that,” Gunn said, adding he will be paying for the tattoo.
It may be working. In the first week of the challenge, VIATEC received more than $15,000 in cash. As of last weekend Gunn estimated they are at the $25,000 mark.
VIATEC’s annual Food Bank Challenge, which started in 2002, has raised more than $1.7 million.
VIATEC has partnered with GivingTuesday.ca and there is a page where people can donate. You can also donate at viatec.ca
The VIATEC food bank challenge runs to Dec. 4.