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Faye Wightman to retire as President and CEO of Vancouver Foundation
Vancouver -- May 30, 2013 -- Faye Wightman, President and CEO of Vancouver Foundation, announced that she will retire later this year as the head of Canada's largest community foundation, a position she has held for the past eight years.
Wightman was instrumental in transforming Vancouver Foundation from a traditional community funding agency into a catalyst for social change in British Columbia. After taking the helm of the Foundation in 2005, she promptly launched a province-wide community consultation exercise. Faye travelled throughout the province with Vancouver Foundation staff, asking British Columbians what mattered most to them to determine which funding areas would have the greatest impact and provide the most benefit.
This community engagement initiative led to the release of the Foundation's signature metro Vancouver Vital Signs report in 2006, evaluating and grading key livability indicators for the region. Vancouver Foundation's ongoing community consultation work culminated in the release of its seminal Connections and Engagement survey last year. This influential survey uncovered a growing sense of isolation and loneliness among metro Vancouver residents, stimulating widespread discussion and debate among residents, community leaders, academics and government, all of which led to the establishment of the City of Vancouver's Engaged City Task Force.
"Faye Wightman has been a dominant figure in BC's philanthropic community for more than three decades," said Gord MacDougall, Chair of Vancouver Foundation’s Board. “Finding a successor for Faye will be no small task.”
“One of Faye’s real strengths is her natural ability to reach out and bring people of diverse backgrounds together to address important community and social issues. She’s taken Vancouver Foundation to a whole new level of engagement in the community and at the corporate and political level.”
An executive search for a new President and CEO for Vancouver Foundation is currently underway.
Faye Wightman started her career as a critical care nurse, before joining the Red Cross to head up their health and community services department. She was soon appointed campaign director for the United Way of the Lower Mainland, before accepting a position as president and CEO of BC Children's Hospital Foundation, where she oversaw a 650 per cent increase in revenue over a 13-year period. Wightman then served as vice-president of external relations at the University of Victoria before joining Vancouver Foundation in 2005.
As an active contributor to the community, Wightman sits on the boards of Imagine Canada, Community Foundations of Canada, Emily Carr University of Art and Design, BC Housing, and UBC Alumni Association, among others.
Wightman’s influence has been recognized by Vancouver Magazine, where she has made their Power 50 list three times. As well, in 2004 she was one of five women honoured with the "Influential Women in Business Award," an annual award presented by Business in Vancouver magazine. She also received the Queen’s Jubilee medal in 2012 for her philanthropic work in Canada.
One of Wightman’s main priorities during her tenure as president of Vancouver Foundation has been addressing homeless issues. She was instrumental in setting up Streetohome Foundation, which provides safe, clean and affordable housing for Vancouver’s homeless. More recently, the Foundation is focusing its efforts on breaking the cycle of homelessness among young people who are aging out of government care, such as foster care and group homes, through its Youth Homelessness Initiative.
Stepping down from her position as head of Vancouver Foundation doesn’t necessarily mean Wightman will be withdrawing completely from the working world. She plans to keep her hand in the not-for-profit sector as a consultant and is looking forward to spending more time playing tennis, golfing, travelling and being with her grandchildren.
With almost 1,500 funds, and assets of more than $814 million, Vancouver Foundation is Canada’s largest community foundation. In 2012, Vancouver Foundation and its donors made 4,000 grants totaling approximately $46 million to registered charities across Canada. Since it was founded in 1943, Vancouver Foundation, in partnership with its donors, has distributed more than $917 million to thousands of community projects and programs. Grant recipients range from social services to medical research groups, to organizations devoted to arts and culture, the environment, education, children and families, disability supports for employment, youth issues and animal welfare.