Branches still reeling from pandemic receive remaining emergency funds
OTTAWA, ON, 7 MAY 2021 – The last of the funding allocated to The Royal Canadian Legion by Veterans Affairs Canada was disbursed this week. In the third and final distribution phase, 885 Branches shared the remaining $3.8 million.
“We are gratified this federal funding has provided a lifesaving boost to many Branches, allowing them to focus on critical work in support of our Veterans, their families and communities,” says Dominion President Thomas D. Irvine, CD.
Last year the Legion’s 1,380 Branches were forced to close or drastically reduce revenue-generating activities due to the pandemic. Over $10 million in funds previously disbursed have helped Branches stay afloat and prevent permanent closure, by covering operational costs like building insurance and utilities. During the final round of funding, some Branches applied for the first time, while previous recipients still requiring help, received additional assistance. Legion Provincial Commands recommended Branch funding allocations based on current need, financial state, and survivability.
“We remain thankful to Veterans Affairs Canada and hope our Branches will be able to bridge the final gap between pandemic restrictions and normal operations,” says Irvine.
In November 2020, the Veterans Organization Emergency Support Fund (VOESF) provided $14 million in assistance to the Legion’s National Headquarters for disbursement to Legion Branches. The Legion estimated this amount would offset costs for approximately eight months of operations, however there is no definitive end in sight to pandemic restrictions, which have now lasted more than a year.
With fewer ways to raise operational dollars, Branches have also come up with safe alternatives over the past months, such as offering drive-through meals, creating dedicated GoFundMe accounts, and holding bottle drives. Funds raised in November during the National Poppy Campaign are held in trust, and are used only to assist Veterans, their families, and communities. They cannot be used for Branch operations.
About The Royal Canadian Legion
Founded in 1925, the Legion is Canada’s largest Veteran support and community service organization. We are a non-profit organization with a national reach across Canada as well as branches in the U.S. and Europe. With close to 250,000 members, many of whom volunteer an extraordinary amount of time to their branches, our strength is in our numbers.
Public Relations / Media Inquiries: PublicRelations@Legion.ca / 343-540-7604 / Nujma Bond