Local Love Virtual Cafe Puts Focus on Business and Community Solutions

Local Love Virtual Cafe series brings business and community leaders together to focus on innovation and action in the COVID-19 era and beyond.

The United Way Greater Victoria is putting a lot of love into a virtual café webinar series on Wednesday, May 13, 2020. The cafe will feature local business, social and philanthropic leaders through discussions around what innovations and actions are needed to support community needs during this time of COVID-19 and beyond.

The Local Love Virtual Cafe will kick off at 10:30 a.m. PST and be hosted by Mark Breslauer, CEO of United Way. Joining Breslauer will be guest panellists Mandy Farmer (Accent Inns), Darlene Hollstein (Bay Centre), Sandra Richardson (Victoria Foundation)and Kristi Rivait (Scale Collaborative).

The Local Love Virtual Cafe series is part of the United Way Greater Victoria’s Local Love in a Global Crisis campaign that provides emergency support to people in need during COVID-19. Funds from the Local Love in a Global Crisis Campaign ensure people have access to life’s essentials, including food. These funds will also support seniors while they are isolated, help community partners do their vital work, and support mental health by enabling crisis lines and other remote counselling tools.

“Now more than ever we need collaboration and innovators, united in our passion to transform local lives,” says Breslauer. “The focus of our first Local Love Cafe will be a look to the future, mindful that shorter time horizons are in order. What is the state of Greater Victoria’s social safety net and what will recovery and resilience look like post COVID-19?”


Mark Breslauer – CEO, United Way Greater VictoriaBreslauer has lived on Vancouver Island for six years and brings a local, national and international perspective to his role as CEO. In his career he has held senior leadership positions across diverse industries in national and regional family businesses, smaller start-ups, a multinational corporation and now in the community impact sector.

Sandra Richardson – CEO, Victoria Foundation.  Richardson has also been a member of the Canadian Association of Gift Planners (CAGP) for over 10 years and has been an integral part of the success of the CAGP Vancouver Island Roundtable, where she served as Chair for four years. She also served on the Board of Community Foundations of Canada for eight years and for six years was an active participant with the Transatlantic Community Foundation Network. The Victoria Foundation has been a key partner in the Rapid Relief fund, supporting people in need during COVID-19.

Mandy Farmer – President & CEO, Accent Inns. Farmer has been recognized as Hotelier of the Year by the Pinnacle Awards, an accolade that recognizes her decades of work within Canada’s tourism industry. In March, Farmer and her team started a $59 promotion for any essential worker to find refuge during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many workers have been worried that going home may transmit the virus to their loved ones. Accent Inns partnered with the United Way and created the Hotels for Frontline Workers Fund, where they’ve raised $100,000 to date.

Darlene Hollstein – General Manager, The Bay Centre In April, The Bay Centre and United Way launched a #feedourcommunity campaign, partnering with Earl’s Kitchen. With every Earls Kitchen + Bar Grocery Kit purchased, The Bay Centre donated a custom Grocery Kit to a local family or senior in need through United Way’s Local Love in a Global Crisis Fund.

Kristi RivaitCo-Founder, Scale CollaborativeThanks to Rivait and her teams’ expertise, not-for-profit organizations and social enterprises in Greater Victoria can get some much needed assistance in survival and in charting a road to recovery post COVID-19, due to a new program called Survive and Thrive funded by United Way and Vancity.


Local Love Cafe Webinar on Zoom
Wednesday, May 13, 2020
Register here
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.