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Vancouver’s Foundation of Hope gets charitable status

Chair hopes to raise millions for NGOs that assist LGBT newcomers to Canada

A new Vancouver organization that raises funds to help ease the costs of transition and settlement for LGBT newcomers to Canada has been officially granted charitable status.

The Foundation of Hope was designated a registered charity by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) on April 2.

Its goal is to raise money to support Canadian non-governmental organizations that provide direct services to assist refugees, immigrants, asylum seekers and their families.

“It’s incredible,” says Carl Meadows, the foundation’s chair. “It legitimizes us as a charity in Canada.”

The foundation applied for charitable status last October. Magali Deussing, a spokesperson for the CRA, confirms that the Foundation of Hope is now a Canadian registered charity. Though she can’t discuss the organization further due to confidentiality provisions of the Income Tax Act, information about registered charities is generally available to the public on the CRA website. Because its registration is so recent, the foundation’s information has not yet been added to the list.

According to the CRA website, organizations who apply for charitable status must demonstrate that their purpose is exclusively charitable and provide a complete copy of their governing documents, a detailed description of their activities, and their proposed operating budget.

“A charity has to meet a very strict test,” Meadows says. “They go through absolutely everything.”

Meadows says he hopes the foundation will raise significant funds for organizations that assist LGBT immigrants, refugees and newcomers. “In five years it’s our goal to be a multi-million dollar granting organization,” he says. “Our team feels a lot of responsibility to do it right,” he adds.

Since its inception last August, Meadows says the Foundation of Hope has raised nearly $15,000 in individual and corporate donations. He hopes its new registered charity status will bolster further fundraising.

The foundation is now accepting grant applications from non-governmental organizations. The grant selection committee will consist of members of the foundation’s board, as well as volunteers from community, Meadows says.

Grants are intended to help LGBT newcomers access health services, settlement and integration services, counselling, and housing. “Our work means that when someone takes a step off a plane or a train, they have someone to help them go through the system,” Meadows says.