There was a very nice article in the Vancouver Sun on Kevin McCort, the new CEO of the Vancouver Foundation. The Vancouver Foundation is the largest of the community foundations in Canada.
Here is the text of the article:
“McCort plans for Foundation growth
New president-CEO: Assets approaching $1 billion for largest organization of its kind in Canada
By Malcolm Parry, Vancouver Sun October 24, 2013
GOING FOR A BILLION: Kevin McCort, 48, spent his early days feeding hogs, milking cows and chasing chickens and turkeys on and around his family’s Stayner, Ont. farm. That 400-acre spread has shrunk to 35 acres, but the enterprise McCort now heads continues to grow and may top $1 billion in 2014. It’s the Vancouver Foundation, which manages some $860 million in donated funds. That makes it the largest community foundation in Canada, where such organizations’ total assets are estimated to be $3 billion.
McCort, who served 21 years at CARE Canada, six of them as president and CEO, arrived in September to succeed the 70-year-old foundation’s eight-year president-CEO Faye Wightman.
McCort’s expectation of continuing growth was sparked partly by a $34-million bequest from Judith Jardine that was revealed in May. Noting that the foundation “benefits from general prosperity in Vancouver around estates,” McCort said that pattern has applied since its founding in 1943. That’s when Alice MacKay put up $1,000 and what McCort calls “well-off and well-connected people,” led by philanthropist W.J. VanDusen, added $100,000 as a founding endowment. In 2012, the foundation made some 4,000 grants totalling $46 million from its 1,500 funds, almost three-quarters of which continue to be made according to donors’ directions. Its founding statutes, McCort said, “are to support programs throughout B.C., not only Vancouver.”
Such grants and programs are handled by a core staff of 40. But the foundation also administers three independent organizations located on the floor above its Georgia-at-Richards offices. They are the Immigrant Employment Council of B.C., the Giving In Action Society, and the B.C. Unclaimed Property Society. That “property” is mainly deposits made on services that folk didn’t receive and subsequently disregarded or forgot about. Regarding the three undertakings, “We don’t want to be in for the long term, but to get them up and running,” McCort said.
His upping and running has entailed 65 countries, starting with a post highschool year with Canada World Youth in Indonesia, “cleaning ditches and painting mosques.” The fourth year of international-development studies at the University of Toronto saw him seeking to rationalize Mali’s beef industry and “learning to recognize what’s not going to work.”
A hitch with World University Services of Canada had him oversee 65 teachers and teacher trainees in Zimbabwe. CARE Canada’s emergency response unit later put him in Bosnia, Haiti, Rwanda and Somalia before a spell directing the Zambia operations.
McCort first visited Vancouver in 1986, intending to cycle back to Toronto in 30 days.
“But I kept stopping off, and had to quit in Winnipeg.”
Now he’s back, heading “an extraordinary institution where I am honoured to have been chosen.”
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Mark Blumberg is a partner at the law firm of Blumberg Segal LLP in Toronto and works almost exclusively in the areas of non-profit and charity law.