Notes on our Vancouver Board Meeting

VancouverAs a national foundation, our practice is to hold one quarterly Board meeting per year in a city outside our home base of Montreal, and this September, for the first time, we gathered in Vancouver.

Following the Board meeting, we took part in a workshop at the Museum of Anthropology, led by Chief Robert Joseph and his daughter Karen Joseph, of Reconciliation Canada—a Foundation grantee. Learning firsthand about the residential school system and ensuing intergenerational trauma was a shocking and humbling experience, and reaffirmed the fact that reconciliation requires a sustained commitment to overcoming past injustice and to building new relationships.

Thanks to the curatorial skills of Foundation partners Al Etmanski (Plan Institute, SiG West) and Vanessa Timmer (One Earth, Cities for People—New Economies) Trustees enjoyed one of two stimulating site tours. Al’s tour focused on social innovation, and introduced the work of the UBC’s Downtown Eastside Learning Centre, and InSite – the first safe injection site in North America. They also heard from Sarah Schulman, a pioneer in the use of social labs to solve complex social problems. Vanessa led a ‘new economies’ tour that included a visit to Strathcona BIA—a unique site for repurposing industrial waste; the Greater Vancouver Food Bank; and United We Can, which provides dignified and well-organized support to ‘binners’ — people who scavenge recyclable containers from waste bins.

We are especially grateful to our partners and friends Tides Canada Foundation and Renewal Partners who co-hosted a lunch for the Board, where we heard from Jodi White, Board Chair of Tides Canada Foundation, Merran Smith from Clean Energy Canada (a Tides initiative which the Foundation supports) and Paul Richardson from Renewal Funds (impact investment funds in which the Foundation invests).

Board Chair Lyn Baptist commented:

” Overall it was a wonderful trip out West and a great opportunity for our Board to visit our grantees and partners and see their work in action.”

Our visit culminated with a reception at the Bill Reid Gallery where we were pleased to host and meet with 75 grantees, partners, and friends.