DiverseCity onBoard Launches in Metro Vancouver
On May 26th, DiverseCity onBoard Metro Vancouver held its official launch at Vancouver City Hall. Co-sponsored by the City of Vancouver in partnership with the Vancouver Immigration Partnership, the event was well-attended by over 70 community stakeholders from throughout the region, local sponsors, and DiverseCity onBoard candidates ready to make a difference in their communities.
Eleanor Guerrero-Campbell, a convener for the Vancouver Immigration Partnership initiative, opened the event, highlighting the broad support for the newly launched program – “the City of Vancouver is pleased to support the Laurier Institution’s effort which encourages and strengthens participation and engagement of diverse communities in leadership roles throughout the city and the region.”
Karen Joseph of the Kwakwaka’wakw First Nation, and CEO of Reconciliation Canada, provided a traditional opening blessing and welcome to the traditional homelands of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations Peoples.
Deputy Mayor Heather Deal brought greetings and congratulations on behalf of the Mayor and Council, noting that the DiverseCity onBoard program aligns with the City of Vancouver’s goal to be a welcoming and inclusive community.
Bill Walters, Project Lead for DiverseCity onBoard Metro Vancouver, spoke of the need for the program in Metro Vancouver, where there remains a significant disconnect and gap between the
diversity of the population of Metro Vancouver and the leadership of the non-profit and charitable sectors despite the area’s rich diversity.
He noted that this diversity is well reflected in Metro Vancouver’s first ever, and growing, candidate cohort: “One of the perks of my role is that I get to meet amazing people. They are very talented and highly motivated individuals from diverse backgrounds, and the topics that interest them include working on social justice issues in support of marginalized people, food security, seniors, sports, youth in crisis, arts and culture, bikes, environmental issues – you name it – we seem to have it.”
The Honourable Ratna Omidvar, Senator and co-founder of the DiverseCity onBoard program, remarked on the national spread of the program and its rightful home in Vancouver at the Laurier
Institution: “It is indeed gratifying to see this simple idea become a national movement as Metro Vancouver joins its sister regions and cities in the Greater Toronto Area, Calgary, Hamilton, London, Ottawa, and Montreal. We are so pleased to have The Laurier Institution as our partner here in Metro Vancouver. It has been a pleasure working with Farid and Bill, over the past many months, from concept to implementation, to make today a reality. They were and remain committed to the importance of the program to Metro Vancouver, and to the notion, that if the program could be successful in Toronto, with the right partner it could be successful in Vancouver and other Canadian centres.”
“Boards of directors of non-profit organizations, public agencies, boards and commissions have the power to affect social change across issues and communities. The networks of influence that are generated in these settings accrue to those who are its ‘members’, with privilege, power and influence being largely passed on to an inner club. They also act as role models. Moreover, their decisions directly affect the communities they serve; they must, therefore, reflect those communities to be able to serve the communities’ needs.”
“We look forward to working with all of you and gaining your support and partnership to make this important program flourish, have impact, and transform the governance landscape in Metro Vancouver, thereby collectively shaping Canada in the image of the present ‘new’ Canada. It’s 2016!”
About DiverseCity onBoard Metro Vancouver:
The Vancouver-based Laurier Institution is partnering with Ryerson University to bring a national program, DiverseCity onBoard, to the Metro Vancouver area.
In Metro Vancouver, the highest percentage and number of visible minorities live in Richmond, Burnaby, Vancouver, Surrey, and Coquitlam. Together these municipalities account for close to 1.5 million people or almost 70% of Metro Vancouver’s population. The visible minority population accounts for over half (51%) of the total population within these five (5) municipalities. However, a 2011 study of Metro Vancouver (co-sponsored by Ryerson University and SPARC BC, in cooperation with the Maytree Foundation) found only 13% visible minority representation in a sample of 275 board members from twenty organizations; from a sample of 114 members of the Province of BC Agencies, only 13 were visible minorities, or 11%.
Are you in Metro Vancouver and interested in joining a nonprofit board or recruiting diverse board members? For more information, contact Bill Walters, Project Lead at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit our website vancouver.diversecityonboard.ca