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Spotlight: The AFP Vancouver Chapter Diversity Committee

August 17, 2012

When did your chapter form a diversity committee? 

We started the chapter diversity committee in early 2000. 

How did the committee come about? Was there a particular person or persons who got the ball rolling? Why did your chapter decide this was important? 

The initial vision was promoted by AFP headquarters staff and volunteers in order to help our members learn more about how philanthropy is practiced in a variety of cultures. We immediately saw the need to be proactive about promoting diversity because the communities we serve in the Vancouver area are so diverse. In addition, we wanted to promote diversity among the membership of AFP to reflect the growing diversity in the donor community. There was noticeable enthusiasm for this idea in Vancouver, and our early education events were very well attended. 

What are the goals of the diversity committee and what programs or activities have you engaged in to reach those goals?

The Vancouver chapter’s diversity committee defines diversity as recognizing the need to engage, celebrate and honor people with diverse experiences, perspectives, opinions and cultures in order to ensure meaningful and effective pursuit of philanthropy. Our goals:

1. Bring educational value to members when examining how philanthropy functions in diverse groups:

  • Enhance their knowledge of the background, culture and giving tradition of these groups
  • Learn similarities and differences in fundraising approaches, relationship-building and communications
  • Be able to take the learning and integrate best practices into their operations 

2. Implement a plan that ensures diversity is encompassed in the overall chapter operations 

3. Promote diversity, not only with regard to ethnicity but also to the exciting differences in communities in terms of age, race, interests, values and sexuality 

Charitable organizations are now tasked with the objective of becoming fully aware of and responsive to the unique motivations and rationales of their stakeholders in order to effectively engage them as donors and volunteers. The chapter’s diversity committee hosts an annual diversity luncheon that offers an opportunity to encourage discussions with key members of various diverse communities who share their stories and experiences about cultivating relationships in their unique groups. Members take home new knowledge about the motivations and desires of donors, along with practical approaches to help their organizations reach out to the diverse groups.

How does the diversity committee benefit your chapter, the profession and the individual members of the committee? 

We provide both expertise and an ethical framework for professional fundraisers. The topic and practice of diversity allows us as professional fundraisers to extend beyond our comfort zone and engage many in our communities whom we may not be reaching due to cultural differences, language barriers, etc. The organizations we work for benefit immensely from a stronger base of support and the opportunity to realize their mission beyond the first level of connections. 

What advice do you have for other AFP chapters that may be interested in forming a diversity committee or expanding their current diversity efforts? 

We encourage other AFP chapters to start a diversity committee. It is important to reach out to your community for advice and expertise if it is not readily available in your chapter. Make use of existing AFP resources through international headquarters and the AFP website ( 

In addition, listen to your members. Find out what they want to learn and offer something that is relevant to them and to your community. For example, a membership survey has helped our committee determine the topics of the annual diversity luncheons. 

Any other comments?

Our luncheons help members gain insight into current and emerging trends in philanthropy, as well as clarity on issues related to diverse groups from a very exclusive and noteworthy guest panel. Depending on the luncheon topic, we bring in professionals—not only fundraising practitioners but also industry experts and specialists—to serve on panels. In addition, we involve donors in order to give members a comprehensive perspective on these subjects. 

Past diversity luncheon topics have included: 

  • Women, Wealth and Philanthropy
  • Understanding LGBTQ Donors and Prospects
  • Planned Giving in the Chinese Community
  • Understanding Values and Celebrating Philanthropy in the Jewish-Canadian Community
  • Fundraising Traditions in the Chinese-Canadian Community
  • The Changing Face of Fundraising in Canada: A Celebration of Three Communities (Indo-Canadian, Ismaili and Chinese) and Their Fundraising Values and Traditions 

Additionally, the committee also has covered the Palestinian and Israeli communities.

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The AFP Vancouver Chapter’s diversity committee. Back row (L–R): Laurie Tetarenko, CFRE; Priscilla Clark; Kerry Shillito, CFRE; Connie Hubbs; Jennifer Wong; May Brown, CFRE. Front Row (L–R): Sandra Cheung; Natasha Krotez, CFRE; Monica Chui; and Joseph Bardsley

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