Community of Caring Grants bringing UBC together from a distance

We know that our community here at UBC is strong and resilient. Year after year, we are inspired to see how students, residents, staff and faculty lift each other up. That’s why we choose to empower community members through our programs at UTown@UBC. While the world has changed over the last few months, this neighbourly spirit has not. We’ve seen people showing tremendous encouragement for frontline workers and younger generations supporting the elderly, all while staying home and doing their part to reduce the risk for those who are vulnerable.

Adapting the Community Grants program to follow physical distancing

UTown@UBC typically runs two Community Grant cycles each year, offering funds for projects that foster community building and social connectedness on campus or in the Musqueam community. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic we launched an additional “Community of Caring” grant cycle in mid-April. While UTown@UBC Community Grants typically fund projects that bring people together physically, Community of Caring aims to foster friendship and resiliency from a distance.

Some of the initiatives funded by Community of Caring Grants

So far, a diverse array of projects have received funding – here are just a few examples:

  • Caring for Others will offer a free Red Cross Psychological First Aid online training module to 50 participants. Upon completion of the training, participants will meet virtually in a meditated discussion group to talk about their learnings and share how they have put their knowledge to use. 
  • COVID-19 Stories of Greater Vancouver is collecting and sharing stories about how people have been affected by COVID-19, and running a prize draw for people who submit a story. Their goal is to foster community through sharing different perspectives. 
  • Garnish’d is an online platform that aims to provide recipes developed by local food establishments with a focus on simplicity and healthy-eating for individuals stuck at home, while also supporting and promoting these local restaurants in a time of economic uncertainty.

Click here for a full, updated list of approved grants and stay tuned on the @UTownUBC Instagram for more details on how to participate in these exciting projects!

Volunteers working remotely to keep programs running

The Grant Selection Committee has also had to adapt in these times. The volunteers – who are all former grant applicants – usually meet in person to decide which projects to fund. These days, they continue to share their own time and insight to review grant applications remotely. This is just one example of people at UBC working hard to lift each other up and provide a way for our community to remain resilient.

If you have a creative idea for fostering social connection in the UBC community during this time, we encourage you to reach out to us at We are happy to discuss your project ideas and give feedback before you submit at Applications are open on a rolling basis until further notice.