Community Development

Funding level: $50,000 to $100,000


The Cowichan Intercultural Society is the leading community resource for immigrant settlement services in the Cowichan Valley. After 35 years of continued growth, this project, the acquisition of a property which will serve as a “Welcome House” for newcomers & citizens to the Cowichan Valley, will serve as a legacy of inclusiveness for our region for decades to come.

CIS has been engaged in a comprehensive search of a new building to renovate for over two years. In total, the organization has explored more than 11 sites with buildings in our ideal building area (the downtown core of Duncan, BC). Additionally, CIS received grant funding from the Vancity Community Foundation to undertake a feasibility study of constructing a new building. In August 2017, after the completion of the feasibility study, as our organization was discussing next steps, an opportunity arose to purchase an existing property which suits all of our needs and gives us an opportunity for future growth and expansion. CIS is proceeding with the purchase of the property. If we receive funding support from the Aviva Community Fund, 50% of the funds would be applied to the down payment on the property and 50% will be used on immediate renovations in relation to the creation of a licensed intercultural childcare centre and the creation of an outdoor, fully accessible playground.

Currently, CIS operates out of inadequate space in three separate buildings. To achieve greater organizational efficiency and cost-effectiveness, it is our vision to expand and consolidate current programming space within a new development to better meet the needs of our local clientele. The main space driver of the new building is the programming space required for our organization to expand our program/workshop/service offerings. Existing spatial constraints of current CIS space pose direct problems and challenges for clients and staff. The full range of client needs cannot be met within the current space and the total number of clients wishing to access services cannot be supported.

In addition to providing enough space to host our complete range of programming & services, the Cowichan Valley Intercultural Welcome House will become a welcoming, inclusive space for the entire Cowichan Valley community. In addition to the 500+ clientele who access our services yearly, our organization is supported by over 200 volunteers annually, and the Cowichan Valley Intercultural Welcome House will give the community-at-large a space to come to connect with different cultures & newcomers. In addition to our volunteers, our organization often hosts inclusive community events and we look forward to welcoming other non-profit organizations, community groups, and community members to our new building for workshops, trainings, and events. Currently, we often host our events and workshops at off-site locations, due to our existing space constraints. This new building will allow us to offer these initiatives under our own roof, welcoming the community to our doorstep.

The Cowichan Valley Intercultural Welcome House will be the welcome centre for immigrants & refugees resettling in the Cowichan Valley and it will one of the most prominent examples of inclusiveness in our region. Our organization’s principal values are collaboration, innovation, and sensitivity, and our vision is to be leaders in building inclusive and welcoming communities, where every person feels valued and has a sense of belonging. This project, the creation of a “Welcome House” for newcomers and citizens alike, embodies our core values and will serve as a legacy of inclusiveness for the Cowichan Valley.

Broker supported

Cowichan Intercultural Society

Location: Duncan