Every day, individuals in B.C.’s hospitality industry serve you. They are your baristas, concierges, hotel staff, cooks, winery and brewery workers, waiters, bartenders and hospitality supplier wine salespeople. While providing hospitality can be rewarding, many jobs in the industry are part-time and some 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 enabling him to breathe on his own at night after a debilitating stroke. The machine was 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, tourism and hospitality industry who required extraordinary support due to illness or accident to themselves or a family member.
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, the BCHF has provided over $1.3 million in support of hospitality industry workers. One million dollars of that support helped over 245 hospitality industry workers. In addition, a scholarship program was designed in 2009 to foster the development of the next generation of workers and industry leaders. This program has granted almost 300 scholarships worth over $300,000.
The BCHF is person-centered and localized to B.C. in its practices. The foundation also seeks to be sustainable and transparent to its community—the hospitality-related industries. It is the only charity of its kind in Canada.
Prior to the pandemic, the BCHF hosted several fundraising events each year to continue its mission of supporting hospitality workers. The charity receives no funding from the government. Currently, the BCHF relies on donations and lotteries to continue its work.
To support The British Columbia Hospitality Foundation and get a chance to win prizes, consider purchasing a ticket for their 50/50 raffle at bchospitalityraffle.5050central.com. The raffle ends on August 16, 2021, at 11:59 p.m.