Projects In Canada


The New Small Grants Program commencing in 2023

At the Foundation’s October 2022 Board Retreat Directors proposed to initiate, on a trial basis, a new method of identifying and selecting programs to support: Sending out a call for proposals to community organizations working with needy children, and then selecting the best ones for funding.

In April 2023, the Foundation issued its first call for proposals. Announcement of the grant opportunity and application criteria and deadlines were sent out to 47 nonprofit organizations in the Greater Vancouver area which help needy children.  It was made clear in the application and cover letter that proposals were requested for projects which would truly fill gaps and meet the needs of children.

The Foundation followed a rigorous process for vetting the proposals and choosing projects to fund. Each application and proposal was first read by a subcommittee which ranked the proposals according to a set of criteria, including the ability to help children who are really in need; the qualifications and record of the project administrators; and the existence of gaps in available funding such that without the Foundation’s support these children’s needs would truly go unmet. Any concerns or questions that needed clarification were followed up on with the applicants. Once evaluated by this subcommittee, applications which ranked highly on the above criteria were then discussed by the larger Program committee, which then provided recommendations to the full Board of Directors on which projects merited funding, and in what amounts. The Board reviewed these recommendations and voted on whether to accept them. 

Once the funding is allocated to the worthy projects, the Program Committee will ensure that funds are used only as proposed in the application and approved by the Board. A final report and invoices for expenditures are requested from applicants, and the Committee may contact the project administrators to monitor the progress and results during the life of the projects. 

In Summer 2023, the Foundation approved the following grant amounts to these 4 organizations for the designated projects: 

1. Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood House, for “Supporting Success in Summer: Academic Assistance for Children in the DTES” ($4,792)

This is a summer tutoring program for children in the DTES/Strathcona area, primarily refugee/immigrant children, who are struggling at school or face barriers to learning such as poor English skills. The program is designed to prevent the children from experiencing the “summer slide” which is typical when children are out of school over the summer. It involves a biweekly 2-hour program targeting 15 children who have high needs for individualized academic support. The funding also covers purchase of 4 laptops, allowing a doubling of the number of children helped in the ongoing academic year tutoring program. Additional benefits of the program will be the ability to increase engagement with newcomer refugee families so that they can be connected to services in the community, and the provision of healthy snacks to low-income children.

2. BC Centre for Ability for “Funding Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) at BC Centre for Ability” ($10,000)

This project is to purchase Alternative Communication Devices and associated software which allow children who cannot speak, for a variety of reasons, to learn to communicate in increasingly sophisticated ways. The devices would be provided through a bursary program to young children who are not eligible for alternative funding either through government programs or charities (because their family’s income exceeds the typical threshold for applying for most charities but is still too low to cover this extraordinary expense). This would likely include new immigrant families and children who might have autism but face multi-year waitlists for a diagnosis. The devices could be kept by the families if needed or returned to the Centre if no longer required, to be passed on to other families.

3. Frog Hollow Neighbourhood House, for “The Huddle—Intercultural Drop-in” ($5000)

This project seeks to develop a “low-barrier, indigenous-focused Family Drop-in Program” which would include a healthy meal, culturally relevant materials and resources, indigenous facilitators and teachings, and field trips. The idea is to create a culturally welcoming space for indigenous families and children in the community, who have been hard to reach through the Neighbourhood House’s regular drop-in program. The Neighbourhood House also hopes to build bridges between the indigenous and non-indigenous families. The Foundation’s funding is intended to help make this possible.

4. Marpole-Oakridge Family Place Society for “Explore Discover Experience Play Through the Senses” ($5000)

This project requested help funding the staff required to run a once a week, 3-hour drop-in program for children with special sensory needs. The Family Place had received a large federal grant for equipment and supplies to revamp the drop-in program for a one-year pilot project to meet the needs of children with sensory processing challenges. However, because this grant only covered equipment, they did not have funding to cover the programming costs. The Foundation’s funding will contribute to the costs of staffing the drop-in program.


Boys Who Rise Program (Britannia Secondary School)

“Boys Who Rise” is a leadership and mentorship program focusing on the pillars of Drive, Action, Reach and Excellence for youths in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES) and the Grandview Woodland communities. It is modelled after the “Girls Who LEAP: Lead to Empower and Act with Purpose” program. Using the tri-mentoring model, these programs connect students from Britannia Secondary with pre-teens in its feeder elementary schools along with seniors and elders. The Boys Who Rise program targets any self-identifying young men including vulnerable and at-risk youths who reside in this area. Structured group activities like the weekly programs, monthly community engagement events and seasonal POWER weekends create a sense of belonging and connection, thus leading to improved school performance and engagement community involvement.

The Foundation provided $5000 in 2019 to facilitate the start-up of the program and committed $14,000 for the 2021-2022 school year to relaunch the program. The Foundation further funded $7,500 of the program in 2022-2023 and pledged $7,500 for the 2023-2024 school year.


BRITE 8 Program


In 2016 the Foundation began supporting the “Brite 8” program at Britannia Secondary School (a small school serving a diverse population from the Grandview Woodlands, Strathcona and Downtown Eastside low-income areas of Vancouver.) Brite 8 aims to ensure that vulnerable and at-risk students have a successful school experience and become responsible members of their school and their larger communities The Brite 8 program addresses the difficulty experienced by many students in transitioning to Grade 8. Challenges with this transition produce many disciplinary problems and greater likelihood of the students not completing high school.

Brite 8 trains senior students from Grade 10-12 to form the “Link Crew.” Each Link Crew member is assigned a group of Grade 8 youths to mentor and support throughout the year as the latter adjust to their first year in secondary school. In addition to regular check-in times with the younger students, more structured monthly activities and field trips are organized by the Link Crew to help create a sense of belonging and community among the Grade 8 students. Research shows this type of program to be effective in reducing the number of disciplinary referrals, suspensions, absences from school and drop-outs, and to help the Grade 8 students successfully navigate the entrance into high school, setting them up for success in later years.

The Vancouver School Board provides staff for the Brite 8, but to make the program successful, funding is needed to cover the costs of training, speakers, field trips, food and supplies for activities during the year. The Soong Ching Ling Children’s Foundation started stepping in to fill this gap in the 2016-2017 school year with a grant of $12,000. Based on the excellent results of the 2016-2017 school year, the Foundation decided to provide another $12,000 for the 2017-2018 school year.

The Foundation provided ideas to Brite 8 on how to improve the program during its formative stage, and continuously monitors its implementation. We have been impressed with the dedication and resourcefulness of the Britannia school to allow Brite 8 to make a difference in the lives of Grade 8 students and have maintained support for the program during the 2019-2020 school year. Due to the pandemic restrictions, it was not possible to run the usual large group activities. The school adjusted the program by incorporating it into class-time and holding small group in-person activities. The usual overnight camp activity was not held. Our Foundation will continue to support this project for the 2021-2022 school year under the one-time special term “Brite 8/9” to reflect that the program will offer the Grade 9 students, who missed the overnight camp when they were in Grade 8, the opportunity to go camping along with the new Grade 8 students.


Addressing Pressing Needs for Children in Times of COVID-19


When the COVID-19 crisis led to school shutdowns at the end of March 2020, the Foundation immediately connected with the community schools we support to identify the most pressing needs facing the students. 

At Tupper School, we learned that the most immediate need for the students related to food security. We therefore supported the request of the school board community coordinator to repurpose $3,500 of Foundation funding originally provided for a Nutrition and Cooking program to help address the urgent food security needs of the students and their families.

At Britannia Secondary School, one of the most challenging current issues was 160 students (gr 8-12) without adequate technology access at home to benefit from the new remote education. Accordingly, the Foundation immediately agreed to allow the school to repurpose $8,000 of the funding originally intended for a Grade 8 student engagement program called Brite 8 , and also provided new emergency funding of $20,000, which allowed the school to purchase  chromebooks to loan to students for remote learning during school shutdown. The purchase of these new laptop computers constituted a legacy technology project for the school.  The Foundation also provided $8000 support to a project cosponsored by the Britannia Community Centre and the Vancouver Basketball Foundation to provide chromebooks for Grade 7 students who expect to enter Britannia Secondary School in the fall of 2020.

The technology project at Britannia was expeditiously carried out – a total of 120 chromebooks was purchased and distributed to Grade 8 to 12 students --- and we are pleased to share an update from Vice Principal Karen Blake:

"…  Your donation was extremely timely as we were able to quickly secure such a large number of devices.  As the school district had prioritized loaner devices to elementary aged students we were far down on the list to receive additional devices outside of what we had available at the school.”

“Your generosity has truly made a difference for many Britannia students and we are most appreciative of your kindness.”

In these ways, the Foundation acted rapidly to fill gaps and meet pressing new needs for students during this unprecedented and difficult time.


Figure 1: Britannia Vice Principal Karen Blake and Community School Coordinator Ron Scott showing the cheque from SCLCFC in front of the Chromebooks it funded for the students for remote learning.


Boys Who DARE Program

“Boys Who DARE” is a leadership and mentorship program focusing on the pillars of Drive, Action, Reach and Excellence for youths in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES) and the Grandview Woodland communities. It is modelled after the “Girls Who LEAP: Lead to Empower and Act with Purpose” program ( Using the tri-mentoring model, these programs connect students from Britannia Secondary with pre-teens in its feeder elementary schools –Britannia, Seymour, Grandview, Xpey’ and Strathcona Elementary Schools – along with seniors and elders. Both programs target any self-identifying young men and/or women, including aboriginal, twospirited, LGBTQQIA+, vulnerable and at-risk youths who reside in the poorest urban postal code in Canada, as per the latest 2016 census. Structured group activities like the year-round weekly programs, monthly community engagement events and seasonal POWER weekends create a sense of belonging and connection, thus leading to improved school performance and engagement community involvement.

The Foundation provided $5000 in 2019 to facilitate the initiation of Boys Who DARE and committed another $14,000 for the 2021-2022 school year relaunch of the program.


Tupper Community HUB Girls Group

The Girls Group program is intended to help girls who are most at risk of engaging in risky behaviours or unhealthy relationships.  The group meets weekly and uses activities to facilitate discussions on sensitive issues, thereby provide guidance and help to the girls. The program is run in conjunction with two nearby neighbourhood houses,the Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House and the Little Mountain Neighbourhood House, who contributed, which have the needed resources to provide counselling.The Foundation has provided $4500 in 2019 to help ensure the success of the program.

Tupper School Boys Club

The Boys Club at Tupper aims at engaging 15-20 youths who are identified as not thriving and in need of positive male role models in their lives. It partners with the East End Boys Club (EEBC) to find ways to support and engage the identified boys with the goal of increasing their connection to their school and community. In 2018-2019 school year SCLCFC supported the start of The Boys Club. It has had some positive results in engaging students, especially refugee/immigrant boys, although it has also identified some challenges. The faculty community members who lead the club reflected on the experience of this first year of the program and made changes to make it easier for the students to participate in the activities.  The Foundation monitored the program and assessed carefully any additional requests for support. The school pivoted to other engagement approach when the pandemic hit in 2020 to continue supporting the youths in need.

Tupper Community HUB Nutrition and Cooking Program

For the 2018-2019 school year, SCLCFC provided $3500 support for Tupper HUB to expand a popular Nutrition and Cooking program. Cooking is an effective way of bringing students together and creating common ground for getting to know each other.  The community HUB leaders hoped that the expanded program would successfully engage an isolated group of Grade 6 & 7 students who are newcomers to Canada.  This program also provides high school students the opportunity to be trained as Youth Leaders who support the delivery of nutrition and cooking classes.  The end of school year review showed that the expanded program was well attended by younger students who learnt about nutrition and cooking and helped the Youth Leaders gain valuable lessons in leadership, but was less successful in reaching the more challenging group of Grade 6 & 7 students. In light of the good results of this program, the Foundation committed another $3500 for the 2019-2020 school year while also encouraging the Hub leaders to continue seeking ways to engage the Grade 6 & 7 students. When the pandemic hit in 2020, this program was not able to continue, we agreed to repurpose the $3,500 to address the urgent food security need of Tupper students and their families.

LMNH Syrian Refugee Children Program

In 2018, SCLCFC provided $11,321 which allowed the Little Mountain Neighbourhood House (LMNH) to develop a new program called “Kids, Culture, Cooking and Communication within a Canadian Context (KCCC). KCCC was introduced as an integral part of LMNH’s Syrian Refugee and Newcomer program. Although the government provided basic settlement funding for the Syrian refugees, these funds did not cover program to help the refugees build social ties or address the trauma which they had experienced, particularly the children. Through the KCCC program, the Syrian refugee children were able to participate in art therapy, physical literacy and nature exploration activities, while their parents built friendships and learned English through a separate cooking program. The children, many of who had experienced trauma and loss, had a safe place in the art therapy program to deal with their traumatic experiences. They also learned social skills to be able to build friendships, and engaged in activities to help them become more ready for school


StreetFront is a Vancouver School Board alternative education program based out of Britannia Secondary School in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. It was founded in 1977 by educators who wanted to offer a different type of school. The Foundation has been providing support to this valuable program since 2013.Read More..

The typical StreetFront student has experienced difficulties and hardships within the mainstream education system. High levels of truancy and classroom disruption usually lead administrators and teachers to recommend an alternative program which will offer more support and more personal connections. StreetFront caters to the Britannia catchment – offering services to the kids of the downtown eastside. Currently 85% of the students attending students are Aboriginal; 10% Southeast Asian and 5% Caucasian.

StreetFront approaches education with an emphasis on physical activities and outdoor experiences. Students are offered classes in Math, Science, Socials and English for grades 8 -10. In addition they have Physical Education, Outdoor Education, Planning, Woodworking, and Foods classes. The program runs three days per week, with some students training for and participating in the Seattle and Vancouver full and half Marathons. They also spend approximately 35 days of the 190 school days in an outdoor environment - this includes the three four-day camp trips.

Basic funding for staff salaries are covered by the Vancouver School Board, but 85% of the costs of running the program still need to be fundraised privately. The SCLCFC has helped StreetFront to identify and fill gaps not met by existing funding. Examples include purchase of running shoes unaffordable for the students, without which they could not participate in the running program, and funding for after-school wellness/health programs to help relieve students’ stress and engage the female students more.

2017-2018 school year, SCLCFC provided funding to support an Art Therapy program for the students and introduced staff at Street Front to The Vancouver Art Therapy Institute. The year-long arts program led by an artist with vast experience working with at-risk youth will expand the student’s activities beyond physical with a curriculum and methodology that deals with using art as therapy and as an outlet for the frustrations, tragedies and pitfall that confront these students on a daily basis.

The marriage of the incredible physical gains offered to Street Front students in conjunction with a fully prescribed and intentionally directed art program will offer the students multiple platforms to find self-worth, self-confidence and personal growth.

The StreetFront approach to education is nationally recognized as a leader in alternative education. Their unique approach in educational delivery has had tremendous success with at-risk youth.

After-School Programs at Vancouver’s Inner-City Schools

In 2004, inspired by University of British Columbia research that recognized the importance of after-school programs for students, especially students at risk in the inner-city schools, the Soong Ching Ling Children’s Foundation of Canada began providing ongoing support to Hastings Community School, Vancouver, British Columbia, an inner-city school with a diverse, multicultural, and large at-risk student population. Later, the support expanded to encompass two other inner-city schools with vulnerable student populations: Tillicum Annex and Sir William McDonald Elementary (later renamed Xpey’ School).

Kids First is a “no fee for use” after-school program for students attending the school. The purpose of Kids First is not only to provide recreational programs, but also to provide activities that develop social skills and values, teamwork, good sportsmanship and conflict resolution. The program helps students identify personal interests, talents and attributes--all crucial components of asset development in children. Kids First provides tutoring for academic support in basic curriculum areas. Other programs, such as music, art, sports and dance, allow students the opportunity to explore areas that would otherwise not be made available to them. Students that participate in Kids First are from a variety of ethnic backgrounds. The program provides supervised activities in the after-school hours for children at risk who might otherwise be left unattended. It gives children access to a familiar and safe place to develop relationships, take healthy risks, and to participate in activities that will support and encourage them to take control and direct their lives in positive ways.

2004-2008: Hastings’ School Kids First Program
The Foundation began its support for the Kids First Program at Hastings School, which was already offering this no-fee program but badly needed additional funding to keep it going and provide it to more students. SCLCFC has helped raise awareness and solicit donations from partners to help fund this invaluable program. In 2005, through the work of the Foundation, the British Columbia Ministry for Children and Family Development (MCFD) provided some funding towards the operating costs. Mining giant Teck Cominco donated significant funding from 2006 to 2008. Other friends and partners of the Foundation that have made generous donations to the Kids First program include John and Judy Taylor, Intact Insurance, the West Vancouver Rotary Club and the International Rotary Club. In fact Kids First was the first Canadian program to receive funding from the international funding arm of the Rotarian Clubs.

2009-2015: Expansion of Kids First to Tillicum Annex
From 2009 to 2015, SCLCFC provided financial support to enable the extension of the Kids First program to Tillicum Community Annex – an annex to Hastings School.
From the school website: “Tillicum Community Annex was built on its present site in 1966 and was named Hastings Annex. In 1971 it was renamed Tillicum which is from the Chinook trade language meaning "one's people" or "friend". Tillicum Community Annex is a partner in the Templeton Community Schools HUB and remains an annex to Hastings Main School. The school is situated beside Kiwassa Neighbourhood House, a long-time community agency that provides service to children, youth, adults and families. Tillicum is a large annex of approximately 100 students from kindergarten to Grade 4. The population is a typical Vancouver mixture of many cultural groups with a large number of English Language Learner (ELL) students and a significant Aboriginal population.”

2009-2018 Kids First Program at Sir William Macdonald Elementary/Xpey' School
In 2009, the Soong Ching Ling Children’s Foundation of Canada provided funding to bring this very effective program to MacDonald Elementary School. Macdonald Elementary School (est. 1906) is one of the oldest schools in Vancouver. It has been home to a significant Aboriginal population, and this history was recognized in 2012 when the Vancouver School Board of Trustees voted to make it an Aboriginal Focus School, teaching the BC curriculum from the lens of the First Peoples and Cultures. The school was renamed Xpey’ School in 2018.<

During 2018-19, due to significant staffing and other issues, the Kids First Program at Xpey’ was discontinued and replaced with a number of alternative, free community programs to ensure that students continued to have access to safe, nurturing after-school activities. The Foundation has assured the staff at Xpey’ that we continue to support their efforts to help these students and their families in the best way possible.

Hastings School: Multilingual Family Support Worker

Hastings Community School, located in the Hastings-Sunrise area of Vancouver, is one of the Vancouver School Board’s designated Inner-City Schools, meaning that they are located in poorer neighbourhoods where students and families usually require additional support to reach their potential both socially and academically. When the Foundation began its support to Hastings School, more than half of the students were recent immigrants and spoke English as a Second Language (about 41% of the student population spoke Chinese as a first language); their parents often did not speak English. About one-fifth of the students came from single-parent households, and many of the students’ families struggled with limited financial resources. As their parents needed to work, students often found themselves unsupervised after school, while living in a high-crime area. For all these reasons, these students were particularly vulnerable to experiencing severe academic and social challenges at school.

A 2004 fundraising dinner kick-started the Foundation’s support for Hastings Community School. With the monies raised the Foundation was able to fund the salary of a part-time, Chinese-speaking family support worker. In addition to direct funding, the Foundation has appealed to donors and agencies to raise awareness of this initiative, which resulted in generous donations from Gore Mutual Foundation and renowned calligrapher Mr. Yim Tse, and government funding from the Federal Settlement Workers in Schools (SWIS ) initiative. New and immigrant families enrolling in Hastings Community School have benefited from the consistent presence of a dedicated family support worker as they are introduced to their child’s school program, the Canadian education system, and into Canadian culture


SSJMA is a non-profit afterschool music program for children operating out of Vancouver’s down town East side. The objective is to initiate social and behavioral changes in the students by increasing self-confidence, social skills and self-discipline through music. The Foundation’s partnership with SJMA began in 2013-14 which led to the formation of a new junior choir for children 5-8 years old from six local schools. This new junior choir was added to their existing one junior choir and three senior choirs. The children met twice per week and were taught by qualified music teachers.Read More..

In the fall of 2016, the Foundation decided to support a new initiative at St. James—a Marimba Ensemble program designed to allow “both younger and older children to quickly experience the joy and excitement of ensemble playing without the steep learning curve of other orchestral instruments.” Like other SJMA programs, this one uses music as a means to promote improved social skills and academic success among children.

The St. James Music academy runs an excellent after-school program for children and its work is well recognized by the community at large. Its success owes much to a very strong and dedicated management team and its policy to hire competent and professional music teachers.

From 2013 to 2016, the Foundation provided $5,000 per school year to this worthy cause; in 2016-2017, it provided $4,000.

Core Afterschool Program of SJMA (excerpt from SJMA annual report)

  • Safe transportation to and from the Academy utilizing volunteers and a van
  • Daily nutrition by serving 450 meals a week, with nutrition time being a community time learning the right attitude to food and enjoying short recitals by professional musicians
  • Music theory and rhythm teaching children to read and understand concepts in music
  • Focus instrument lessons with children assigned their focus instrument on the basis of their desire, potential and need.
  • Collaborative Music Making: SJMA has one senior orchestra and one junior orchestra as well as five choir groups. Choirs and Orchestras act as miniatures of community life, where not only music is learned but also social skills, teamwork, mutual report and respect. All children are enrolled in a choir or orchestra, or both.
  • Elective component: each child is unique and SJMA tries to answer their need through the elective component based on their desire and potential.

You are encouraged to learn more about the St. James Music Academy through browsing their website:


This conference grew out of recognition by the Soong Ching Ling Children’s Foundation of Canada of the challenges facing immigrant families who have children with special needs. In partnership with S.U.C.C.E.S.S. , the Foundation organized a one-day multilingual conference for those families, to help them understand services available and ways to help their children develop and thrive in their new Canadian home.Read More..

Canadian law and values recognize the right of all children, regardless of disability or special needs, to receive educational and other supports that allow their full social participation. British Columbia, like other Canadian provinces, has made great strides in providing resources to ensure the diagnosis, education, and social inclusion of children with all kinds of disabilities. However, many immigrant families are not aware of these services, or, because of the associated stigma in their home cultures, are reluctant to access them. The conference was designed to reach out to those immigrant families, to help reduce the stigma associated with acknowledging their children’s conditions and needs, and to encourage families to access available services for their children who need them. To better reach the immigrant families, the Foundation partnered with S.U.C.C.E.S.S. in the organization of the conference and recruitment of the families from different immigrant communities. The conference was attended by almost 100 parents and grandparents, while 78 children were cared for and kept occupied by volunteers. Many of the families were unable to understand English, and so proceedings were translated by S.U.C.C.E.S.S. staff into Cantonese, Mandarin Chinese, Korean, Farsi, and Nepalese. Feedback from the participants made clear that they had found the conference extremely helpful and informative.


Provided translation service for the production of the Chinese version of Fair Play brochure, a program aiming at creating a community without bullying.


Produced and distributed the Chinese version of CICH brochure First Years Last For Ever.


Translated materials about the Roots of Empathy project to allow Chinese-speaking families to understand their children's participation in this program aimed at building empathy among elementary-school children.