Message from the Board Chair

2017 was truly a transformational year for Vantage Point.

By working together and pooling our resources, we are transforming individuals, organizations, the not-for-profit sector, and our community.

2017 was another very busy and successful year at Vantage Point. We continued to grow our reach in British Columbia and deepen our impact in the sector. The past year has brought on important decisions on the governance front. I would like to share three key areas of board focus from the past year.

The first area of board focus was on strategy renewal. At last year’s AGM I spoke about the progress we had made against our 2014 strategic plan. In 2017 the Vantage Point staff and our volunteer board came together once again to engage in strategic planning.

We took a good look at what we were focused on achieving and made the decision to refresh rather than completely revamp our plan. Our objective was the same: to transform not-for-profit organizations. We evolved our mission statement slightly to better reflect the work we do now, and to align with our aspirations for the future. We retained our three core strategic priorities and identified key measures of success we will strive for over the next few years. We added a fourth pillar focused on building our own internal capacity and sustainability. After all, how can we be advocates for capacity if we are not focused on promoting our own capacity?

We are excited that one of the key updates to our strategic plan is in the area of advocacy. We aspire to position Vantage Point as a strong and effective voice for the sector.

The second area of board focus was on financial sustainability. Knowledge philanthropy is critical to Vantage Point’s success. Our philosophy of abundance creates a multiplier effect: it allows us to provide service and support to the not-for-profit sector at a level far beyond what our staff team would be able to provide on their own. We are incredibly grateful for the gifts of time and talent we receive.

This past year the Vantage Point board took a number of steps aimed at strengthening the ‘treasure’ side of the philanthropy trifecta in support of Vantage Point’s long-term financial sustainability. First, we increased our focus on fund development. We now have a solid fund development strategy in place and have committed resources to lead and support our fund development plan. We also committed, as individual directors, to support the fund development initiatives of the organization. Second, the board, led by the Finance Committee, developed a plan to establish a rainy-day fund in the form of an operating reserve.

The third area of board focus was on leadership transition. The board spent the last half of 2017 and the first few months of 2018 focused on both executive director and board succession planning. Once Denise shared the exact timing of her retirement, we kicked our succession planning work into high gear. Anyone who has been through this process knows how much effort and enthusiasm is required to bring it to a successful conclusion. As a board, we were delighted by the interest the executive director position generated in leaders in the sector and we are extremely grateful to those of you who expressed interest in being part of Vantage Point’s future. We were also thrilled to announce Alison Brewin as Denise’s successor.

The Governance Committee was also busy this year on board recruitment. As a result of their work, while we have two directors stepping off the board this year, we have 4 new directors who have been put up for election. Keeping the board relevant and vital is critical to our success.

Concluding Thoughts

I look back with tremendous pride on the past year and the impact Vantage Point has had in the lives of individual leaders, organizations, and the sector. Under Denise’s leadership, the organization has grown and thrived. We are poised, and positioned, for success. Again, this year, I send out a deep thank you to our Vantage Point staff team; to our dedicated board of directors; to our knowledge philanthropists; to our customers; to our partners, supporters, donors and funders, with special recognition to the City of Vancouver. By working together and pooling our resources, we are transforming individuals, organizations, the not-for-profit sector, and our community.

Finally, as I step down from the Vantage Point board and my role as Chair, I want to thank Denise for her partnership over the past two years. It has been a pleasure to work with an executive director who understands the importance of governance to organizational health and knows how to provide strong support and governance leadership.


Rebecca Schalm
Chair of the Board