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Sandra Richardson: Empowering social profit sector workers to reach their full potential

Join us for a film screening on March 7 that could change your views on how we can sustain non-profits and charities
Sandra Richardson is CEO of the Victoria Foundation. VICTORIA FOUNDATION

Did you notice that this article’s headline says “social profit sector” rather than “non-profit sector?”

There’s been a shift in the way many people choose to label this sector of dedicated, compassionate individuals working for the betterment of humanity. Terms like ‘social impact’ and ‘social purpose’ now pop up in my newsfeed almost every day.

Labels can have immense power to influence mindsets, often more than our actions beneath those labels. Today, some people see the term ‘non-profit’ as one that pits our often grassroots work against our for-profit partners. It compares us to a sector that can use very different resources and actions to service the community.

‘Social profit’ and ‘social impact’ speak more representatively of the noble and influential work our local non-profits, charities, and social enterprises do. These labels recognize there are profits to be made that aren’t simply financial, but physical, emotional and even spiritual.

They reflect that we’re in the business of helping everyone on earth obtain the necessities to be well because it’s their human right.

Our perspectives on the immense value of this sector begin with how we label it. From there, we can address so many other challenges NGOs face today, financial and otherwise, in achieving their missions.

If you’re intrigued to learn more about what these challenges are, then I’m delighted to invite you to our special free screening of the visionary film UnCharitable, to be held at the gorgeous McPherson Playhouse on March 7.

Based on the bestselling book by writer and renowned activist Dan Pallotta, UnCharitable is changing the way people perceive the values of the social profit sector and the support it needs to thrive.

Pallotta meets with charitable leaders all over the world to discuss their core struggles – including how some public scrutiny over the operating needs of non-profits are preventing them from achieving their missions.

In its report on trends shaping the social purpose world in 2024, Future of Good says workers across the sector will demand higher standards of workplace well-being, while the charitable needs of community become greater than ever.

So, how can we can make sure that our vital workers are healthy under increasing pressure?

In UnCharitable, Pallotta asks audiences and donors to question not the size of a NGO’s overhead, but the “scale of its dreams,” and to see the true value in ensuring social purpose workers are sustained with enough resources to keep them mentally and physically healthy so they can work to sustain everyone else.

The screening will be followed by appetizers and a live Q&A with Pallotta himself, Imagine Canada CEO Bruce McDonald, and local impact advisor Jim Hayhurst. Please register on our Eventbrite webpage to attend.

This event will be held in partnership with the Inter-Cultural Association, United Way Southern Vancouver Island, Coast Capital, and the Sue and Carl Stovel fund held at the Victoria Foundation – a wonderful collaboration of community partners to bring impact and unity to our region.

Most of us in Greater Victoria are regularly impacted by the social profit workers who put our charitable gifts into action in ways we might not even realize.

The Victoria Foundation’s staff, for example, are working tirelessly right now to facilitate our 2024 Community Grants Program, which will direct thousands of funding dollars to registered non-profits and charities across all sectors of wellbeing. Applications for grants of up to $30,000 will be accepted until March 7.

I’ll end by asking you to consider a social purpose organization you feel connected with. Consider its community impact and the staff and volunteers who work to make this happen. Then, consider how you might help their core operations with your time, talent, or treasure.

Without your support for the livelihoods of these vital workers, our region’s wellbeing would be nowhere near what it is today.

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