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Surinder Kumar, retired chief executive of Vecima Networks, has donated $50,000 on behalf of his family to the Rapid Relief Fund, which was created to help people in need because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The donation comes in response to the matching challenge from the Kirzinger family announced Friday. Pam and Dave Kirzinger are prepared to match all money donated to the fund until 11:59 p.m. Sunday, up to a total of $200,000.
The fund has assisted a wide range of groups, including the Aboriginal Coalition to End Homelessness, the Sooke Food Bank, Food Share Network, Mustard Seed and Salt Spring Community Services. The fund was put together by the Jawl Foundation, the Victoria Foundation and the Times Colonist.
The total raised by the fund was at just over $3.5 million on Friday evening.
Kumar is well-known for staging “charity suppers,” and it’s those events in particular that he would like to see spawn Rapid Relief Fund donors. He supplies the food and cooks at the suppers. “People come and join us and buy tickets and will donate all the money.”
He wants his $50,000 donation to sow a few more seeds of generosity. “A lot of people have come to those suppers in the last 15 years, and I’m kind of hoping that this will trigger a donation from some of those people,” Kumar said.
He said he is in a position to help the fund and is happy to do so.
Many people need help these days, Kumar said. “I think it’s time for our community needs, to do whatever anyone can.”
Kumar said the fund provides an opportunity to do something positive at a time when many people feel helpless. “It’s really a heartwarming kind of thing that our community is coming around to help others.”
He said he has seen over the years that caring and compassion are part of the fabric of the city. “This current deep crisis needs our collective effort and determination.”
Kumar came to Victoria in 1997 to expand his company, which he founded in 1988 while teaching electrical engineering at the University of Saskatchewan. “I wanted to expand and attract some talent in Victoria.”
Vecima is a high-tech manufacturing enterprise that makes platforms for the internet and cable services.
“It’s headquartered in Victoria but we have people all over the world.”
That includes offices in the United States and Japan, he said.
Kumar’s entire family is in the capital region including his two sons, who work at Vecima.
“I’m still chairman of the board.”
HOW TO DONATE
Tax receipts will be issued. If you are open to receiving your tax receipt by PDF, please include an email address with your donation.
• Online: RapidReliefFund.ca
• Phone: 250-381-5532
• Mail: Send cheques (made out to the Victoria Foundation) to RapidRelief Fund, Victoria Foundation, 200-703 Broughton St., Victoria V8W 1E2
The Rapid Relief Fund was created by the Victoria Foundation, the Jawl Foundation, and the Times Colonist to help people in need as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. CHEK Television, Coast Outdoor Advertising and Black Press are helping to boost awareness. Every dollar received from donations goes out as grants to the community.
Donations are being distributed through the Victoria Foundation.