Victoria queer activist group paying pro-Palestinian protesters loses grant
Victoria queer activist group paying pro-Palestinian protesters loses grant

The Victoria queer activist group, Plenty Collective, which came under fire for a scheme offering money to pro-Palestinian protesters, will no longer benefit from a local foundation’s generous grant.

In a press release, the Victoria Foundation said that Plenty Collective and the Belfry Theatre mutually agreed to return unspent money from a $28,000 grant given to them to advance “queer community building with an intersectional lens through nourishment, art and connection.”

“The organizations have decided to return the funds as the partnership is being discontinued for this grant,” reads the press release.

As previously reported by True North, Plenty Collective, a progressive organization that describes itself as “a small group of white, queer settlers,” launched a “Solidarity Fund for Palestine” for “folks living in Lekwungen Territory (aka ‘Victoria, BC’)” who are “incurring costs related to supporting or organizing actions in solidarity with Palestine and Palestinian people. ”

Priority was given to non-white people, with individuals being asked to disclose their race upon application.

In addition to paying pro-Palestinian protesters, Plenty Collective played a role in successfully cancelling an Israeli-linked play and has a letter writing campaign for Palestine. The organization has also accused Israel of colonial racism, genocide and claimed Zionism is a “violent” ideology.

When it was first reported that Plenty Collective was paying protesters, the Victoria Foundation distanced itself from the group’s initiative – and said it would pursue a review to see if its funds were going towards the group. 

“The review process has been initiated in this circumstance,” said the foundation on Jan. 9.

Now with the review process complete, the groups have agreed to return the funds. However, the foundation did say that “the funds spent to date were used in alignment with the intended purpose.”

The Victoria Foundation says the returned money will go towards other gender equality grants.

News of the money being returned was welcomed by Canada’s Jewish community.

In a statement on X (formerly Twitter), the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) thanked the Victoria Foundation for being responsive to its concerns. 

“CIJA welcomes the news that unspent grant money distributed by the Victoria Foundation to @BelfryTheatre and the Plenty Collective will be returned.”

Plenty Collective did not respond to True North’s request for additional comment in time for publication.

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