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BC’s Not-for-Profit Sector – Stronger Together

BC’s Not-for-Profit Sector – Stronger Together

BC’s Not-for-Profit Sector - Stronger Together

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Over the last quarter, we have been listening. We all know that organizations in our sector have been stretched thin, but we have also heard that many of you are so busy meeting the needs of your clients it’s been hard to look up and ask for outside support. 

Our commitment is to amplify your issues, concerns, and solutions to government. 

Over the last year and a half, many organizations in the not-for-profit and charitable sector report that they are choosing to opt out of engagement with the government and focus on service delivery and operations in the face of the pandemic, emergency relief, and financial challenges we have all been working through. 

This experience and first-hand knowledge mean that the work of not-for-profits and charities has never been more critical than now. The voices of frontline leaders are key to responding to community needs around the province. Our sector has on-the-ground expertise that positions us to advance innovative policy solutions to government. 

As not-for-profits continue to serve on the frontlines of emergency response in BC, it is vital that our sector continues to engage government on policy issues important to our stakeholders. Without input from not-for-profit organizations, many community voices will be missing from the important conversations to come about pandemic recovery, disaster response, economic prosperity, and other key issues. 

Fortunately, we are not alone in advancing these concerns. 

This month, Martha Rans of Pacific Legal Outreach Society penned an important Op-ed in The Philanthropist Journal about the public interest advocacy role our sector must continue to play: “Members of the non-profit sector are the experts on day-to-day issues, from child- and after-school care to housing and hospice care. We take care of people from the cradle to the grave.” She’s right.

And we have an advocate in the provincial government who has been listening. Read Parliamentary Secretary Niki Sharma’s Year in Review about what she has heard after one year and 300+ meetings with not-for-profit organizations, as well as her updated mandate letter from Premier John Horgan. 

2021 has been a challenging year for all British Columbians. Not-for-profit organizations on the front lines of service delivery understand this in a way that is unparalleled. Vantage Point is looking forward to continuing to work with you to raise issues to the provincial government about the specific challenges you are facing and how our sector can move forward in the months and years ahead. 

As part of the not-for-profit sector community, your expertise and concerns are important in this work. Our members are at the heart of our efforts to create a healthy and resilient not-for-profit sector. Participate in sector-wide discussions and public policy issues that impact your organization and support your board, staff, and volunteers to strengthen the voice of BC’s not-for-profits. 

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Cherie Payne

Cherie is our Director of Government Relations and Sector Development. Born and raised in Vancouver, Cherie has lived in seven cities on three continents. She is a former Vancouver School Trustee…

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BC’s Not-for-Profit Sector – Stronger Together

Join Our Commitment to Meaningful & Accessible Programs

Join Our Commitment to Meaningful & Accessible Programs

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Our current Strategic Plan set a course for Vantage Point (VP) as one of its strategic goals to strive to be a leading contributor to equitable, inclusive, and sustainable practices in the not-for-profit sector, especially in lifting and strengthening Indigenous, underrepresented, and emerging not-for-profit leaders in BC.  

While our internal journey to learn and grow in the areas of equitable, inclusive, and sustainable practices started well before the current strategic plan, naming this aspiration explicitly has given the team clarity and purpose to invest as individuals and as an organization. We participate in a range of internal learning opportunities and initiatives that support our operational objective to build policies, practices, and resources that support and solidify our commitment to inclusion and decolonization within our Vantage Point community. 

Our impacts in this area can be hard to pin down. How do we know we’re making progress? Or that we’re having a positive impact rather than unknowingly reinforcing existing systems, behaviours, and unjust results?  

In pursuit of a practical, immediately applicable solution, the team recently convened to talk about how we can leverage something that we know is making a difference and that we have the power to influence – bursary supports to leaders to access Vantage Point open enrolment workshops and labs 

For over 10 years now, the City of Vancouver Social Policy and Cultural Services have made VP bursary supports available to their grantees. We have added Vancouver Coastal Health – Population Health Initiatives – and the City of New Westminster as partners in providing further bursaries. We also established a more formal VP bursary fund in 2018 to provide more flexible access to bursaries for those not eligible through current partner bursaries.  

Given how the pandemic continues to impact not-for-profit budgets, and staff and volunteer needs for governance, management, and leadership training supports have increased, our bursary requests are mounting. Yet, we have lots to do to both reach and adequately resource supports to Indigenous, underrepresented, and emerging not-for-profit leaders in BC. 

In light of this gap, we are announcing a call to action to our community: Join us in building a Vantage Point Bursary Fund that enhances accessibility of our programs and supports to the whole of our diverse community of not-for-profit leaders across BC. We are committed to assuring clear eligibility criteria that prioritizes: 

  • Indigenous people, Black people, and people of colour 
  • Youth building careers in the not-for-profit sector 
  • Leaders from equity-seeking organizations  
  • Leaders from organizations addressing the climate change crisis 
  • Leaders from organizations with operating budgets less than $250k and/or outside the Metro Vancouver area 

We have established the Vantage Point Bursary as a distinct fund, to which you can donate now through Canada Helps. Your contribution will help us reach under-funded and often overlooked groups in the sector. And as always, we are so grateful for your support.

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Vantage Point

We are a team of passionate and dedicated not-for-profit professionals dedicated to providing not-for-profits with high quality leadership training. We are here to set you up for success. Learn more about our team at www.thevantagepoint.ca/about/our-people/

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From Our Vantage Point Episode 69 – Building Capacity with the Lifecycles Model

From Our Vantage Point Episode 69 – Building Capacity with the Lifecycles Model

Episode 69:

Building Capacity with the Lifecycles Model

This month’s podcast features Mark Friesen, a familiar face at Vantage Point for his work on the team as a consultant for many years. Mark was instrumental in the development of our Capacity Lab, a series of learning opportunities designed for not-for-profit leaders to apply the Lifecycles Model. It allows them to take a step back from the day-to-day to identify where their organization’s growing pains exist and strategize how to move forward. In this episode, Mark explains the Lifecycles Model and how Capacity Lab came to be out of a need for this overarching self-evaluation, and a space where leaders can convene to support each other in their assessments and strategic planning. 

Mark Friesen is the Executive Director at Columbia College, Canada’s longest established International not-for-profit college. He currently facilitates a monthly peer network of leaders dedicated to reimagining governance in the non-profit sector. Mark has served as a volunteer, association founder, and an executive director, and has led fundraising, strategic planning and program development efforts in the sector for over 20 years. During his time at Vantage Point, BC’s leading not-for-profit capacity builder, Mark shifted his focus to governance; working with groups to enhance or redefine organizational decision making. Working with the Crown Agency Board Resourcing Office of BC, Mark guided the province to shift the governance and training material of BC’s public sector organizations away from shareholder accountability and towards governance in the public interest. 

Mark obtained his Masters’ in Urban Studies at SFU, where he received a Graduate Fellowship in 2012, the Doug Drummond Research Fellowship in 2013, and graduated with the Dean of Graduate Studies Convocation Medal in 2015 for his research into governance at the scale of the city-region. He served on the City of Vancouver Election Task Force, is Chair of the Our Place Inner City Governance Committee, and sits on the Board of the Ripple Coast Society. When it comes to governance, Mark has a unique perspective on the role that not-for-profits have in supporting a democratic society which you can explore here: https://www.ted.com/talks/mark_friesen_rediscovering_democracy_in_our_communities 

Columbia College is BC’s oldest university transfer educational institution. Their mission is to foster student success, build a desire for lifelong learning, and provide pathways to higher education. Columbia College nurtures community engagement and prepares international students for life in Canada. Through teaching excellence and a commitment to student support, the Columbia College community values an inclusive and mutually respectful learning environment. 

Presented by Humanity Financial Management

From our Vantage Point is brought to you by Humanity Financial Management, a Chartered Accounting firm dedicated to helping Canadian not-for-profit, charitable and social enterprises build capacity for strong internal financial management.  Humanity Financial Management’s part-time controllers and CFOs provide support for budgeting, reporting, audit preparation, policies and procedures, and internal controls. Their results: Financial risk reduction and asset protection. Visit Humanity Financial Management online at humanityfinancial.ca.

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A Path to the Not-for-Profit Sector: Walking in Mom’s Footsteps – Jenessa Ellis

A Path to the Not-for-Profit Sector: Walking in Mom’s Footsteps – Jenessa Ellis

A Path to the Not-for-Profit Sector: Walking in Mom’s Footstep

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When I reflect on my experiences in the not-for-profit sector and the journey I have taken to get here, I can’t help but think of my mom and the influence she’s had on shaping who I’ve become.

My mom is one of those people who does everything in her being to support those around her. She is the neighbour you can always count on for that missing ingredient and the person helping a friend with yard work when they’re too overwhelmed. My mom started in the not-for-profit sector when I was a little kid with the Parent Advisory Council at the neighbourhood school and continued by supporting community event delivery, eventually working alongside community to support the establishment of a not-for-profit organization supporting families in the neighbourhood. Twenty-five years later, she is now the Executive Director of that same organization she once helped to establish.

I was always at my mom’s side as a kid: supporting the community garden, doing hot dog sales, helping fix up run-down neighbourhood homes, selling chocolate bars door-to-door, and running community events (I’ll never forget the fun of cake walks and toy bingos). Every fundraiser or community event we could support, we did. Not only did I gain some serious volunteer hours, but I also became deeply embedded in the community, learning from community leaders. I began to understand the importance of building relationship at an early age. As I got older, I fell away from being mom’s little helper but did not fall away from the desire to support. I was the awkward teenager selling ice cream cones at lunch to build schools in developing countries, and volunteering at the local shelter to serve breakfast. I can’t say I have always understood who or what I was trying to support, but I had the drive to do something to make the world a better place.

As I grew up, my career aspirations included the President of Canada (doesn’t that sound fun?), a popstar, and world traveller. Flash forward through an undergraduate degree, some epic travels, many jobs, and a ton of life and learning, and I feel like in a way I get to do all the things I wanted to do as a child. I have found a role that harnesses my desire to support, my love of connection, and my need for always learning. I get to virtually travel around the province and get to know the wonderful people who make up our sector and lead positive change. In my role as Sector Development Coordinator, I get to work every day to improve outcomes and increase capacity of not-for-profits across the sector. I spend my workdays researching what is happening in the sector, supporting amazing cohorts and initiatives, learning from sector leaders, and experimenting with new practices and processes to enhance our support for the sector. Each day I look at the sticky note on my computer that reads, “How are you supporting the not-for-profit sector today?” and each day I strive to answer that question.

I am grateful for the lasting impact my wonderful, caring, and creative mother has had on who I am, and I look forward to carrying on her legacy however that looks. I’ve never really settled on an answer to “What do I want to be when I grow up?” and I don’t know if I will. What I do know is my passion and excitement exist in the not-for-profit sector, working to create transformative, lasting, and positive impacts

Headshot of Jenessa Ellis in white shirt.

Author

Jenessa Ellis

Jenessa is our Interim Sector Development Coordinator, who has a passion for volunteering and continually pushing the not-for-profit sector forward. She’s an advocate for connecting, collaborating, and learning from the community – they’re the experts! Jenessa completed a Bachelor of Arts at UNBC, with a major in International Studies…

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A Path to the Not-for-Profit Sector: Walking in Mom’s Footsteps – Jenessa Ellis

To Love the Humankind: Pursuing “Ren” in Canadian Society – Biao Zheng

To Love the Humankind: Pursuing “Ren” in Canadian Society

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Similar to Bible for the Western World, Analects of Confucius was always the required reading in my traditional Chinese classes. One key concept in Analects is ren. While it is indeed a vivid concept with numerous explanations by different people in different eras, Confucius decided to take a simple approach:

Fan-Chi (a disciple of Confucius) asked questions about ren.

Confucius said, “Love people.”

At Vantage Point, Knowledge Philanthropists (internally known as “KPs”), are skilled volunteers who “contribute their specific expertise and experience towards our mission: lifting the capacity of not-for-profit leaders.”  This definition makes perfect sense, but “philanthropy” is still not a simple word for me, someone whose first language is not English. Whenever coming across an unfamiliar word, I always turn to etymology for answers. I found that “philanthropy” is the combination of “phil- loving” and “anthrōpos- mankind,” so it originally meant: love the humankind.

“Philanthropy” became less strange to me when I discovered its etymology because it made me recall what I had learned in elementary and middle school.

Ren and philanthropy are fundamentally the same in meaning, even though there was virtually no communication between Ancient Chinese and Ancient Greek civilizations. The interconnection between civilizations is why I did not find it strange or difficult to work for the not-for-profit sector in Canada, even though I received most of my education in another country. I bet Confucius would do the same thing if he were a Canadian in the contemporary world. He would be travelling from east coast to west coast in his 2003 Toyota Corolla, talking to people, and protesting on the streets with marginalized groups. And then, he would join a local not-for-profit to build steadier connections with the communities and exemplify ren.

So how does ren specifically relate to my work at Vantage Point? I’m not going to exaggerate the influences of not-for-profit organizations, but my job at Vantage Point offers me a somewhat institutionalized way to love humankind. As the first contact to everyone related to Vantage Point (or, in other words, stakeholders), I respond to general inquiries, ranging from questions on our workshops to requests from someone living in another country looking for volunteer opportunities in Canada. I don’t turn down requests, even the tough ones. Instead, sometimes I put them on our Slack channel, and our team members are always happy to provide input. It may seem silly, as fulfilling many of these requests does not generate direct revenue, but “Vantage Point exists to support the people moving these organizations forward – Executive Directors, board members, senior leaders, managers, staff, and volunteers,” and we mean it!

This mentality shows up in many ways, like spending all of Truth and Reconciliation Day in team learning. It was a day full of tears, memories, anger, and, more importantly, love. I quoted Bob Dylan to break the silence while it was raining hard at the end of the group learning:

“I’ve stepped in the middle of seven sad forests

I’ve been out in front of a dozen dead oceans

I’ve been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard

And it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, it’s a hard, and it’s a hard

And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall”

These lyrics depict perseverance and remind me of frequent bus rides. (I enjoy walking the beautiful streets of Vancouver but take a bus to avoid the rain). When there are no seats available on a cramped and full bus, I always feel both physically and emotionally drained. But I’ve noticed that the yellow stripe acts as the Confucius-on-the-bus: “For your safety, please hold on.”

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Biao Zheng

Biao is our Operations and Fund Development Coordinator, who has a passion for continually learning and tackling new opportunities. Throughout his career, Biao has accumulated experience in both the healthcare and not-for-profit sector. Specifically, MJ’s Natural Pharmacy…

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BC’s Not-for-Profit Sector – Stronger Together

Vantage Point Welcomes Its New CEO, Zahra Esmail!

Vantage Point Welcomes Its New CEO, Zahra Esmail!

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October 29, 2021 – Vantage Point is pleased to announce the selection of Zahra Esmail as its new Chief Executive Officer. Zahra steps into the role following the outstanding interim leadership of Maria Turnbull, Associate Executive Director, who continues to be an incredible advocate for the organization and membership. The hire was made after a comprehensive search process, in collaboration with the Search Committee and Harbour West Consulting, and with the approval of the Board of Directors.

“The Board of Directors of the Vantage Point Society is extremely excited to announce Zahra as our new CEO. Zahra is a well-known and respected leader in the not-for-profit sector.  Her strong professional presence and community-based leadership ensures a strong advocate and strategic leader for the organization. We look forward to collaborating with Zahra; we know she is going to make a mark in our sector and organization.” – Gordon Matchett, Board Chair, Vantage Point

Zahra Esmail is joining Vantage Point after having been the Executive Director of the South Vancouver Neighbourhood House since 2016 and the first Executive Director of the Marpole Neighbourhood House, which opened under her leadership in 2019. During this time, Zahra worked with her diverse teams to build community connections and strengthen the neighbourhoods of Killarney, Victoria-Fraserview, Sunset and Marpole in Vancouver. With a background in community development, her current portfolio includes food security, settlement and integration services, licensed childcare, children and family development, youth leadership, seniors’ wellness, and Adult Day Programs. Prior to her work with the Neighbourhood Houses, Zahra was the General Manager of Eva’s Phoenix, a transitional shelter and training program in Toronto. She has also worked in international development with Street Kids International, Haven Haiti and BRAC, with responsibility for programs in Haiti, India, the Philippines, Colombia, Sierra Leone, and Ethiopia. Zahra has a Masters in Globalization and International Development from the University of Ottawa, a Bachelor’s in History from UBC, and an Associate Certificate in Fundraising Management from BCIT. She is an active member of the Poverty Reduction Advisory Committee, an independent committee that advises government on policy developments related to poverty reduction and prevention. Zahra was recognized as one of Business in Vancouver’s Forty Under 40 in 2019. Zahra will begin her new role as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for Vantage Point on December 13, 2021.

I am thrilled to be joining the incredible Vantage Point team as the organization’s new CEO! After spending the past 15+ years working in a variety of roles and contexts with a social purpose focus, I am grateful for the opportunity to join a long-standing organization that builds the capacity of the not-for-profit sector in unique and impactful ways. I look forward to learning and growing in this exciting role!”

 – Zahra Esmail, Chief Executive Officer, Vantage Point

 

About Vantage Point

Founded in 1943, Vantage Point was originally known as the Central Volunteer Bureau of Vancouver; its mission was to provide volunteer matching services throughout the city. Today, Vantage Point is known as a leader for the not-for-profit sector by offering convening opportunities and sector advocacy support, as well as education and consulting on board governance, leadership, performance management, and recruitment. Committed to empowering the not-for-profit sector, Vantage Point serves as an important resource and advocate for Executive Directors, board members, senior leaders, managers, staff, and volunteers in the Lower Mainland and province.

For more information on Vantage Point’s services, please visit: https://thevantagepoint.ca/

Author

Vantage Point

We are a team of passionate and dedicated not-for-profit professionals dedicated to providing not-for-profits with high quality leadership training. We are here to set you up for success. Learn more about our team at www.thevantagepoint.ca/about/our-people/

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From Our Vantage Point Episode 69 – Building Capacity with the Lifecycles Model

From Our Vantage Point Episode 68 – Workplace Culture & Policy Planning: Fat Inclusion

Episode 68:

Workplace Culture & Policy Planning: Fat Inclusion

This month’s podcast shines a light on fat employees and how leaders can build safe working environments for employees of any size!

Sasha Burden joins From Our Vantage Point for a great discussion on what inclusion in the not-for-profit (and for-profit) workplace looks like when it comes to employees of size: What are some things to consider when planning team building activities? How do we account for fat employees’ needs in HR policies? We even discuss healthy ways to talk about health.

We hope this episode answers some of your “taboo” questions relating to culture and policy planning.

Sasha (she/her) is a white, fat, queer, feminist femme, who lives, works, and loves on the stolen lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples. A lifelong student, community activist, and current Board Member at Large at WAVAW Rape Crisis Centre, Sasha’s roots in fat activism began as a student at Langara College and continued to develop in her undergraduate studies at the University of British Columbia and beyond. With over a decade of experience in front-line services in the not-for-profit sector, and with a personal interest in the ways fatness intersects with discourse around health and fitness, food, sexuality, education, and work, she offers her insights into these topic points while continuing to recognize her own social location, privilege and personal lens.

In her spare time, you can find Sasha with her dog, Chips, listening to countless podcasts and spending as much time as possible with family and friends.

Presented by Humanity Financial Management

From our Vantage Point is brought to you by Humanity Financial Management, a Chartered Accounting firm dedicated to helping Canadian not-for-profit, charitable and social enterprises build capacity for strong internal financial management.  Humanity Financial Management’s part-time controllers and CFOs provide support for budgeting, reporting, audit preparation, policies and procedures, and internal controls. Their results: Financial risk reduction and asset protection. Visit Humanity Financial Management online at humanityfinancial.ca.

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From Our Vantage Point Episode 69 – Building Capacity with the Lifecycles Model

From Our Vantage Point Episode 67 – How Government Supports Our Sector

Episode 67:

How Government Supports Our Sector

In a special edition podcast, Director of Government Relations and Sector Development Cherie Payne guest hosts a conversation with Parliamentary Secretary of Community Development and Non-Profits, Niki Sharma. Niki was appointed her role as a first for BC’s provincial government in 2020 and has lots to say about her work bridging the connection between not-for-profits and government.

Together, Cherie and Niki cover an array of topics, from emerging gender inequality trends and insights in the work force since the start of Covid-19, childcare funding allocation and unique community needs, and how decisions around funding the not-for-profit sector are made in government at all levels.

We hope you enjoy!

Time Stamps:

(00:10) | Intro
(01:06) | Interview Start
(01:48) | Re-cap of the year and next term priorities
(04:55) | Representing Vancouver-Hastings
(06:17) | How government is addressing gender inequality
(08:10) | Childcare, funding allocations, and regional disparities
(12:07) | Ad: Humanity Financial
(13:13) | Not-for-profits in the provincial budget
(16:04) | Not-for-profits as employers
(18:22) | Provincial and local government partnerships
(20:50) | Affordable housing plans
(23:25) | Closing statements
(24:01) | Outro

Niki Sharma was elected MLA for Vancouver – Hastings in 2020 and is the Deputy Caucus Chair and Parliamentary Secretary for Community Development and Non-Profits. She is also a member of the Treasury Board and the Select Standing Committee on Public Accounts. 

Niki is a lawyer whose practice focused on representing Indigenous people, including residential school survivors. Niki has worked across B.C. as an advocate on climate policy and reconciliation. She has also been recognized for her work on combatting racism.  

Niki was elected to the Board of Vancity Credit Union, where she served as Vice-Chair and chaired the Climate Justice Working Group. She also served as Chair of the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation. In these roles, she worked to improve her community and make life better for people and our planet. 

In 2017, Niki worked as a Senior Ministerial Assistant helping to deliver more childcare spaces for B.C. families.  

Niki was raised in Sparwood B.C. A mother of two, she has lived in East Vancouver for over 15 years and has deep connections in the community.  

Source: https://bcndpcaucus.ca/mla/niki-sharma/

Presented by Humanity Financial Management

From our Vantage Point is brought to you by Humanity Financial Management, a Chartered Accounting firm dedicated to helping Canadian not-for-profit, charitable and social enterprises build capacity for strong internal financial management.  Humanity Financial Management’s part-time controllers and CFOs provide support for budgeting, reporting, audit preparation, policies and procedures, and internal controls. Their results: Financial risk reduction and asset protection. Visit Humanity Financial Management online at humanityfinancial.ca.

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BC’s Not-for-Profit Sector – Stronger Together

Cultivating a Space to Grow – Samantha Kannegieter

Cultivating a Space to Grow

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I’ve never met a metaphor about growth or the garden that I didn’t love (let that be a warning: plant puns ahead). That speaks to my personality, which is at times a bit sentimental, generally optimistic, and in search of beautiful things, but also how I approach my role at Vantage Point.

As the Education & Projects Coordinator, I work with our team of staff and Knowledge Philanthropists to coordinate educational workshops and labs for not-for-profit leaders, and I directly support participants to obtain bursaries and other resources to help them meet their learning goals. In other words, I cultivate opportunities and environments for gardeners to grow.

Most of my (literal) gardening happens in small containers on my apartment-sized fire-escape, or on our building’s front stoop, and this is where I learn the most. Whether that’s through a success like harvesting fruit from a space where the conditions weren’t optimal, the joy of sharing bounty with those around me, or through a failure like losing an entire harvest overnight to pests, each season my garden teaches me more about patience, humility, collaboration, abundance, and resilience; and I strive to bring those lessons into my work.

By nature, a plant is designed and destined to thrive, and I like to apply this same lens to our work as a sector. Look at any wildflower and you’ll see that a plant doesn’t need a gardener to grow, but gardens (and communities) can flourish with the resources, knowledge, and support that a caregiver brings.

The seeds were planted early for me to grow into this role, having participated in our Emerging Leaders lab (an early iteration of what is now Leadership Principles) back in 2014. The experience was foundational in my journey as a leader in Vancouver’s festival community, and I often looked to Vantage Point for resources and support as an organizational member. So, naturally, as I entered a season of change in my career – leaning away from events and towards opportunities that focused on people development – the opportunity to join the Vantage Point team felt like a gift.

Just as Vantage Point was pivotal in my success as a leader, my experience in the sector prepared me for this role and I am grateful to be able to pull from my past experiences in leadership and administration to be able to better support our clients and members. My passion for our work is honest and comes from the firsthand experience in knowing how impactful our learning opportunities can be, how vital community learning is, and how our bursary programs can open doors that are out of reach for so many organizations. My heart feels at home each day when I can show up and support leaders who support their communities.

In hindsight I can draw a line throughout my life connecting significant experiences to this theme, whether it was growing up with a parent who managed a flower shop, my early career as a hairdresser, or more than a decade of producing festivals, I have always been drawn to the cycle of sowing, growing, blooming, and harvesting in community.

As the fall creeps closer, we’re entering a period of harvest – both in our gardens and in our calendar – at Vantage Point as we launch some of our most intensive labs and workshops that challenge the status quo. It’s a balance of labour and celebration, and a period that always encourages reflection for me. Of all the things my garden has taught me, this might be my favourite: If you plant nothing, at the end of the season you’ll have nothing. But if you plant something, and you share even just a little of your time, resources, and heart you might end up with something beautiful.

It’s within that space of possibility that all my favourite things happen, and where I get to meet so many of our members, clients, and Knowledge Philanthropists. I hope to grow alongside you soon.

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Samantha Kannegieter

Samantha (or Sam) is our Education and Projects Coordinator where she works with clients to support registration and delivery programs. Sam has spent the last twelve years involved with Vancouver’s not-for-profit and arts communities. Specifically, in festivals with the Vancouver Folk Music Festival Society……

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BC’s Not-for-Profit Sector – Stronger Together

All Roads Lead to Bridges – Cherie Payne

All Roads Lead to Bridges

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I was always a curious and studious kid. I liked to read and imagine things and have fond memories of rainy days in Richmond: my dad building a fire, lying on the floor on a big cushion reading while my family watched tv, looking up when they flagged a good part coming, and drinking milky tea.

I also spent a lot of time on busses, commuting from the suburbs to Vancouver for elementary and senior school – which was very conducive to daydreaming and reading, too. Moving from community to community and seeing how different people lived formed many early impressions of what was possible and how many ways of structuring a life there could be.

In undergrad, I studied the history of social movements. In law school I learned about the gap between aspiration and interpretation – for legislation, contracts, families, and organisations.

After university, I got into campaign work – for development organisations, with agencies, with not-for-profits, and in politics. The work is always the same: how to share people’s stories so that decision-makers understand the impact of their work on individuals’ lives, on families’ efforts to move forward, and on organisations’ ability to thrive.

Here at Vantage Point, that work will continue. Not-for-profits in BC are both small and medium sized employers. As a sector, we employ 86,000 people across the province and contribute $6.4 billion to BC’s GDP. Our members are providing frontline services, conducting research and collecting data, providing funding to communities, and providing meaning through arts and creative industries.

Decision-makers in government are tasked with supporting British Columbians’ wellbeing. They provide leadership on initiatives that require collective action and can’t be achieved individually. Vantage Point’s members are eyes and ears on the ground in housing, community development, arts & culture, social service delivery, family support services, environmental stewardship, youth development, sports & recreation, fund development, and philanthropy.

My job as Director of Government Relations and Sector Development is to be a bridge. To bring organisations together across sub-sectors to see what they have in common, and to work alongside small and medium sized businesses and social enterprises to identify our shared goals.

I am a natural observer, story-maker, instigator, and bridge-builder. From childhood, to university, to law school, to campaigner, all roads lead to this continued work.

I’m also a person of faith. So, there’s probably a little Sunday school underpinning my career to-date:

“Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce…seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you” – Jeremiah 29:5-6

Housing, food security, peace, and prosperity. Sounds like good social infrastructure-building to me.

Cherie Payne is Director of Government Relations and Sector Development. A graduate of McGill University and Osgoode Hall Law School, Cherie brings 20 years’ experience in communications, advocacy, and government relations for health, public interest, and education organisations. In November 2011, Cherie was elected to the Vancouver School Board and served as a vocal advocate for adequate funding of public education, urban planning that meets the needs of children & families, support for childcare and anti-poverty initiatives, and nurturing leadership in youth and young adults. Prior to her term in municipal politics, Cherie also served as Legislative Assistant to a federal Minister of Health.

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Cherie Payne

Cherie is our Director of Government Relations and Sector Development. Born and raised in Vancouver, Cherie has lived in seven cities on three continents. She is a former Vancouver School Trustee and staffer to a federal health minister, and sits on the Boards of Food for the Poor Canada and Girls Club, an…

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