75 Years of Community Impact: Starting with Volunteerism

Leadership: Develop Unlimited Talent
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by | Jul 4, 2018 | Blog | 0 comments

Vantage Point was founded as the Central Volunteer Bureau of Vancouver in 1943 to provide volunteer services throughout the city. We were initially charged with mobilizing women for the war effort and providing accommodation for children evacuated from Britain and for those whose mothers worked on the assembly line. We are proud of our heritage and our contribution to the amazing power volunteerism has in our community.

Our journey from 1943 to 2018

The year 1943 marks the beginning of the Central Volunteer Bureau of Vancouver, which became Volunteer Vancouver, and now Vantage Point. Fast forward to 2018 and we are incredibly excited, and humbled, to celebrate our 75th anniversary.

For more than 60 years, we were a volunteer centre, focused on promoting and celebrating volunteerism and connecting volunteers to Vancouver’s ever-growing not-for-profit sector. Around the year 2002, we noticed people were becoming less and less interested in filling traditional volunteer roles. They wanted to contribute their knowledge for a finite period in exchange for a meaningful experience. Not-for-profit organizations could not find enough volunteers with the more traditional skills sets they were accustomed to, while more people were seeking meaningful opportunities that engaged their knowledge and expertise.

As a result, we began to seriously question the value and relevance of continuing our traditional role as connector between volunteers and organizations. We recognized that the environment in which not-for-profits operate is quite different than 1943 – even 1993! If we were actively promoting volunteer roles that were no longer a fit for individuals looking to contribute, were we doing a disservice to volunteerism – and our mission?

Vantage Point grew out of a desire to address this changing paradigm of volunteerism. In 2009, we adopted our current name. We realigned all our programs and services under a new direction – building strong not-for-profit organizations that can effectively engage today’s abundant supply of talent, including board members, the diversity of community volunteers, staff, investors, and others. We moved away from the word “volunteer” in favour of “talent” and “knowledge philanthropist,” the latter a term coined by one of our own strategic volunteers.

We learned that not-for-profit organizations can achieve their goals – and achieve long-term sustainability – by changing the way they view people engagement. Transforming how they engage people can ultimately lead to greater impact on the communities and causes they serve.

From my own journey with Vantage Point, what stands out as most exciting piece to celebrate is this enduring aspiration to engage people (and ALL their talents!) to positively transform our communities through an effective and impactful not-for-profit sector.

Share Your Story

As someone involved in BC’s not-for-profit sector, what do you feel is worth celebrating about the last 75 years of community impact?

Whether you are a past, current, or future client of Vantage Point, knowledge philanthropist, staff member, investor, board member, partner, or community member we encourage you to share your journey, contributing to a story gathering project we are undertaking to grow our understanding of what to celebrate!

Celebrate with Vantage Point

This fall we will be celebrating our anniversary and looking forward to the next 75 years with wine, entertainment, and great conversation. Join us on September 27, 6-9pm – the evening before our annual leadership conference: BOSS 2018!



Maria Turnbull

Maria Turnbull brings over 20 years of leadership experience in staff and director roles within the not-for-profit sector, both here in Canada and in the UK. With a BA in International Relations and MBA, Maria is a skilled facilitator and consultant in board governance, organizational development,…

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