In response to the urgent needs of B.C.’s most vulnerable citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic,Seaspan and Southern Railway, along with theDennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation, are donating $600,000 to the United Way to support several B.C. communities, including Delta.
These funds will be used to provide support and critical services to seniors, people living with a disability, people living in poverty, single parents and people with mental health concerns, among others.
“Seaspan and Southern Railway are deeply committed to the communities where we operate and where our employees live,” said Kyle Washington, executive chairman of Seaspan. “Care is an important value across the Washington companies and the foundation. Now more than ever our neighbours are in critical need of support. This donation is meant to support innovative programming that has significant impact.”
As a result of this gift, United Way will launch a Community Builder Program in eight communities, including micro-grants to provide community connections for neighbourhoods and funding to service agencies through COVID-19 relief grants. In addition to Delta, the initial eight hubs will be activated on the North Shore, Squamish Nation, New Westminster, Abbotsford and Victoria/Esquimalt.
The $600,000 donation includes a $150,000 matching challenge. For every dollar Seaspan and Southern Railway employees and partners and United Way donors contribute, the foundation will match up to $150,000. This will expand the Community Builder hubs to five more areas that have been most impacted by COVID-19, bringing the total number of neighbourhoods receiving support from this initiative to 13 across the province.
“I am humbled and heartened by the leadership frontline workers, who are staring COVID-19 in the face every day, have been demonstrating, with strength and selflessness. These challenging times remind us all of the importance of a strong and supportive community with neighbours helping neighbours,” said Mark Lamarre, CEO, Seaspan Shipyards. “On behalf of Seaspan and our sister company Southern Railway, we’re grateful to have a strong United Way partnership to rely on that gets immediate and direct help to those most in need.”
“This extraordinary gift from Seaspan, Southern Railway andthe Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation allows us to immediately put money and resources where they are needed now,” said Michael McKnight, president and CEO, United Way of the Lower Mainland. “Starting today, and over the next five months, these critical funds will allow United Way to support hundreds of thousands of people across 13 neighbourhoods in the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island. That is a meaningful impact.”
Seaspan is the largest manufacturer in B.C. with a workforce of more than 3,500, and operations in coastal communities including North Vancouver, Delta and Esquimalt.