Charitable Choices: Christine Smith, Associate Director of Annual Giving at VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation

For this week’s “Charitable Choices” feature, we spoke with Christine Smith, Associate Director of Annual Giving at VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation. VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation aims to raise funds for specialized adult health services and research. Their focus is on innovation and sustainable health care to better serve all British Columbians.

Hospital Foundation

Describe your charity/non-profit in a few sentences.

Simply put, the Foundation works to inspire donors to transform health care and save lives. We do this by partnering with expert health care providers, including world-class researchers, and Vancouver Coastal Health to identify where donor funding can be most effective. Donor support impacts all levels of care at Vancouver General Hospital, UBC Hospital, GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre, Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute and Vancouver Community Health Services. This includes funding new pieces of equipment, internationally-acclaimed research and prestigious fellowship opportunities.

What problem does it aim to solve?

Health care needs to advance. Diseases are still rampant. Injuries can still be devastating and life-altering. And families are torn apart when they don’t need to be. We aim to solve health care’s biggest challenges for the betterment of all British Columbians.

The Foundation aims to support healthcare teams at the forefront of their specialties as they care for patients, discover new treatments and educate the next generation of healthcare superstars. With donor support, we work hard to ensure that excellent care is available when you need it most.

When did you start/join it?

I joined the Foundation in January 2020, just before the COVID-19 pandemic changed the landscape of health care around the world. It has been an interesting few years!

What made you want to get involved?

Health care fundraising has always been a passion of mine. Everyone will need the health care system at some point in their lives. At the end of the day, I feel good knowing my work helps to make sure it’s ready when that time comes.

What was the situation like when you started?

Shortly after I started, the pandemic hit and changed everything. We had to pivot all of our fundraising plans and activities to focus on supporting our hospitals and health care centres to navigate this unprecedented global crisis. It was a really busy and hectic time, but the response from our donors and the public was amazing.

How has it changed since?

The need for health care services hasn’t paused during the pandemic. People are still being diagnosed with diseases, still getting into accidents, and still needing life-saving surgeries. If anything, support for health care is more important now than ever so that we can equip our health care teams to continue providing world-class care and also be ready for the next global health crisis.

What more needs to be done?

Similar to the above, I believe we need to support our health care services as much as possible. They are there for us every single day, and supporting them means supporting our families, our loved ones, and our own futures.

How can our readers help?

Donations to the Foundation are the best way to help support the future of healthcare for all British Columbians, including you and your loved ones. Our hospitals and health care centres are uniquely equipped to treat almost every single health condition, no matter how complex or rare. VGH is the largest teaching hospital in Western Canada, which provides life-saving surgeries that can only be performed here by some of the greatest minds in medicine today. Thanks to the support of donors, our world-class health care teams are constantly advancing and transforming health care in BC.

Do you have any events coming up?

Yes! I am excited about the inaugural launch of our Vitality gala, presented by B2Gold Corp. Taking place on November 19 th, the evening will feature a fun, vibrant and immersive experience that will connect hundreds of industry professionals and philanthropists, all in the name of advancing the future of health care.

Where can we follow you?

Follow us on our social media on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also visit our website and sign-up for our newsletters, read our magazine, Vital, or connect with us in a number of other ways.

PAY IT FORWARD: What is an awesome local charity/non-profit that you love?

I am on the Board of the Pacific Youth & Family Services Society, which runs a program called Peak House to support BC Youth seeking freedom from problematic substance use.