THE ROYAL CANADIAN NAVAL BENEVOLENT FUND
In 1968, the unified Canadian Forces created a replacement assistance fund, the CF Personnel Assistance Fund, and levies from canteens and messes that had gone to single service funds, were increasingly re-directed to CFPAF. By 1995, the Army Benevolent Fund and Canadian Army Welfare Fund shut down independent operations and about ten years later, the RCAF Benevolent Fund also wound up. However, the RCNBF still carries on.
A wise decision was taken by the RCNBF Board in 1972. In future, the Fund investments would be professionally managed and would include stocks and private sector bonds. The result was a Fund that rode the wave of the bull market of the last 20 years of the 20th century and was easily able to meet its obligation to help people. The Fund grew beyond expectation. Instead of fading away as cash and requests for assistance dried up, the Fund actually started seeking out people to help and expanded its “customer base”.
Consequently, since 1993, the Fund has broadened its mandate. It now awards scholarships to the children and grandchildren of former and serving naval members and to Sea Cadets. The Fund also now assists former CF people (including army and air force types) who have served in Maritime Command as well as Merchant Navy veterans. Most recently, the Fund expanded its role to again provide assistance to active serving sailors and their families.
With this latest change, and the reinstatement of the Royal Canadian Navy, the Fund has now come full circle. It still does not receive support from canteen or mess levies or from pay allotments, but it has benefited from donations from former sailors, maritime organizations and others.
Since inception, the Fund has assisted over 23,000 people distributing over 16 million dollars in assistance. It is now worth about 6 million dollars and in 2011/12, distributed over 400 thousand dollars helping naval people. This is in addition to 63 thousand dollars awarded in scholarships. After 70 years, the RCNBF is alive and well. The Fund members are all former naval personnel as are the Directors. All are unpaid volunteers.
If you know someone who is in financial trouble and may be eligible for assistance, remember, the RCNBF is “Ready, Aye Ready”.
The RCNBF can be contacted
The RCNBF is a registered charity and all donations are welcomed.