Skip to content

50 women step up to help close SCCSS Building Together funding gap

With the 50 Women for SCCSS campaign, 50 community members are endeavouring to raise $1.5 million to help close the Building Together project's $3.4 million funding gap.

For many of the 50 women gathered at the Sunshine Coast Botanical Garden last Friday, it was personal.

Dozens of women – and a couple of men, including the society board chair and audio technician – gathered for the launch of a women-led campaign to raise much of the remaining funds needed for Sunshine Coast Community Services Society’s (SCCSS)’s Building Together project. 

The society says it has secured 90 per cent of the estimated $34 million needed for the 35-unit affordable housing project for women and children experiencing violence or vulnerable to experiencing violence and community hub the society intends to build in downtown Sechelt. (The project cost has risen from the $23 million estimated a few years ago.) The project is currently set to break ground in the fall. 

With the 50 Women for SCCSS campaign, 50 community members are endeavouring to raise $1.5 million to help close the project’s $3.4 million funding gap. It includes realtors, business owners, artists, philanthropists, long-time residents and other community members, says a press release. The campaign is set to run to November. 

As women described why they are participating in the campaign, stories ranged from wishing to give back to community, to being mothers, to being survivors of domestic violence, to memories of relatives murdered by partners, to wishing to uplift women, to decades of involvement with SCCSS. Several of the women have been involved with the organization – that has services that run the gamut from transition housing, to food security to counselling –  for decades. 

Among the events participants have already pitched to raise money are golf tournaments and art sales. 

“On the Sunshine Coast, we don't have pathways out of homelessness,” SCCSS executive director Catherine Leach told the crowd. “This project provides a pathway out of homelessness. “What that looks like in our community is a woman who is experiencing violence can access the shelter, can move to second stage housing, and then move on to permanent rental housing that is affordable, secure, dignified, and safe.” 

Currently, when it’s time for a woman who has come to the shelter to move on to second-stage housing, she often has to make very difficult decisions, said Leach. Decisions can look like spending the majority of her income on rent if she is able to find housing on the Coast, choosing to leave the Coast because she can’t find housing, or even returning to an abusive situation. “Now we have a pathway out.”

The campaign is also part of the celebrations marking the society’s 50th anniversary.

“We're celebrating 50 years of caring and taking action to tackle the most urgent needs in our community,” former long-time SCCSS executive director Vicki Dobbyn said. “So I'm excited today that we have the opportunity to build on this long and strong tradition, the tradition of being committed to truly hearing the women that need our support, and helping to pave the way for them to move beyond these challenges.

“We're here today because the work isn't done and we have our most ambitious and meaningful project ahead of us,” said Dobbyn. “But I think we're all set up for success, just building on the legacy of the last 50 years.”

To find out more, or to donate, visit