This year's Giving Hearts Awards celebrates the best of philanthropy in Canada

This is prime fundraising gala season. Spiffed up in our finest, and often celebrated in the pages of Business in Vancouver, people flock to ballrooms each year to raise funds for all types of charitable causes. This year ballrooms are empty and if there is a fundraising event, the must-wear item this year is likely slippers, and the menu... popcorn. 

The opportunity to gather (remember when we could stand close and sit at a table with people we didn’t know?) and support important causes is on pause. The issue is, that the many charities that rely upon funds raised at galas, run/walk/dance/ride-a-thons, have not silenced.  

“We are in unprecedented times for charities like any other industry, and the challenge is felt among those who are in the greatest need,” says Sofia Janmohamed, president of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Greater Vancouver Chapter. 

To function, our community relies upon charities to provide much-needed services. People who regularly face inequality have been disproportionately impacted by the current opioid and COVID-19 pandemics. Organizations that rely on donations – including hospitals, environmental groups, arts organizations and so many more, are all dependent on philanthropy to serve their mission and make our community better. 

“It’s not in the great times, it’s in the hard times,” says Janmohamed. “In these times of crisis, we do find that there are a number of people who will step up despite it being challenging to help bridge the needs in urgent times.”

Recognizing there are many in our community who support charities – AFP annually celebrates incredible individuals, families and organizations that donate their time, leadership and financial support to people and communities with the Giving Hearts Awards. The Awards were created to acknowledge and embrace true philanthropy, and those selfless individuals and community-minded companies who embody its core values. 

A day celebrated across Canada, the Giving Hearts Award recipients from 2019, pictured above, provided volunteer and financial support, either individually or through their company, their school or group, for an impressive list of organizations throughout – and beyond – the Lower Mainland.  You can find out more about this year’s recipients here.  

AFP is recognizing this year’s nominees virtually as the need for celebration and acknowledgement of the important role of fundraising – and fundraisers – has never been more important. Charities serve an important role in our community as they fulfil a role government is not able to, or not willing to, or simply can’t, meet.  

Philanthropy – giving of both time and funds – is a vital public good. 

AFP members working at charities large and small help individuals and companies ‘step up’. With nearly 400 AFP members in Greater Vancouver, members regularly connect donors to causes that match their values. The focus always remains on the cause, and how to attract much-needed funds in good times, and times like we’re experiencing today. 

The membership of the Greater Vancouver Association of Fundraising Professionals thanks everyone in our community who has a Giving Heart.