Vancouver Sun Children’s Fund Society
In 1981, Vancouver Sun publisher Clark Davey founded The Vancouver Sun Children’s Fund society as an in-house charity charged with telling the compelling stories of children in need, with the goal of raising funds from the newspaper’s readers to help those children. In the past four decades, the fund has raised and dispersed millions to help children in need all over the province. Since the beginning, our commitment has been to ensure that every single penny donated by generous readers goes directly to the children, and we have continued to honour that promise.
In the fall of 2011, the school year had barely begun at Admiral Seymour elementary when teacher Carrie Gelson, frustrated after a difficult day at work, wrote an impassioned open letter to Vancouver residents asking whether anyone cared that her inner-city students were coming to school cold, hungry and with holes in their shoes. And then something wonderful happened. On the day that The Vancouver Sun published her letter, Gelson arrived at the East Vancouver school to discover that, “People had already dropped off thousands of dollars in cash . . . they literally drove into work that morning bringing donations.”
Clearly, Gelson had revealed a pressing need in our communities and, in keeping with our paper’s long-vested philanthropic commitments, we not only told her story from a journalistic perspective, but asked our readers — through our Vancouver Sun Children’s Fund charity — to help her students and others. And come through our generous readers did.
A decade later, The Vancouver Sun Children’s Fund’s Adopt-a-School project has raised more than $8 million in donations both large and small, from individuals and from companies alike, and not just money but clothing, school equipment and field trips.
In the 2018/2019 campaign, readers donated a record $923,774 to AAS, which was dispersed to help needy children throughout the province. In 2019/20 readers donated $881,963 in our regular fall campaign. That year, as the pandemic spread, leaving children without school meals, and putting many of their parents out of work, we launched a special COVID-19 emergency campaign, which raised more than $962,000.
One of AAS’s main goals is to ensure that no child goes to school hungry, so AAS today funds hundreds of breakfast, lunch and after-school food programs for thousands of youngsters in need.
Here’s just one reason why. At the first breakfast served at the first school we helped, a teacher pointed to a small child who was eating. “That child there,” she said. “In all the time she’s been at this school I’ve never seen her smile, until now.”