Every day, individuals in BC’s hospitality industry serve you. They are your baristas, concierges, hotel staff, cooks, winery and brewery workers, waiters, bartenders and wine sales people. While providing hospitality can be rewarding, most jobs in the industry are part-time and can have minimal benefits.
The committee that would eventually form the BC Hospitality Foundation (BCHF) came together in fall 2006, inspired by the desire to help long-time wine agent Michael Willingham with the money he needed for a machine in order to breathe at night. The machine was $50,000 and not covered by his medical plan.
Willingham’s situation brought forward the need to establish funding that could be used to help anyone within the foodservice, beverage and hospitality industry who required extraordinary support due to illness or accident.
The founding planning committee was made up of friends and colleagues of Willingham. Together they created BCHF as a registered charity that raises funds to support those in the hospitality industry facing financial crisis due to a serious health condition. Each year hospitality workers across B.C. face financial challenges and have nowhere else to turn. The BCHF helps them when all other options have been exhausted.
Since 2006, BCHF has helped over 200 hospitality industry workers with approximately $850,000.
In addition, it offers a scholarship program to foster the development of the next generation of workers and industry leaders. To do this, the BHCF gives out about 25 scholarships annually. Since 2009, the Foundation has granted almost 200 scholarships worth over $225,000. Combined that adds up to over $1M in support.
The BCHF is person-centered and localized to B.C. In its practices, the BCHF seeks to be sustainable and transparent to its community, the hospitality-related industries.
The BCHF hosts three major fundraising events each year in order to continue supporting hospitality workers, including both scholarship winners and beneficiaries: DISH (May), the Vancouver Golf Tournament (July), and the Victoria Golf Tournament (August). Additionally, it hosts several lotteries with industry partners.
To learn more about the BC Hospitality Foundation, head to the website.