After successfully leading the Abbotsford Community Services (ACS) Food Bank to raise over $1.2 million last year, Dave Murray is ready for his next challenge.
Murray, who has spent 18 years as manager of the Abbotsford Food Bank, is expanding his role, becoming manager of philanthropy and food bank for ACS.
This mean he will now lead fundraising for the entire ACS organization, which has more than 90 programs, including the food bank, supportive housing, and programs for seniors, children and families.
“We’re excited to have Dave on board in a larger role,” said Rod Santiago, executive director of ACS.
“All of our programs have a shared vision of ‘justice, opportunities and equitable access for all’ and our goal is that by providing employment assistance, English classes and other services, one day some individuals may not need programs like the food bank as desperately as they do currently.”
While some ACS programs are supported primarily by government funding, there are many others which rely on other grants, sponsors and individual donors.
One of the largest fundraising drives Murray will be overseeing is the soon-to-open Foundry program.
This integrated health centre is a one-stop shop where youth ages 12 to 24 can get help with everything from the common cold to mental health services.
“There’s a real need to offer youth a safe space to address their health issues in a holistic way as soon as they need help,” Murray said.
ACS is the lead partner on the project, along with Fraser Health and 13 other program partners.
Another project Murray is overseeing is the second annual ACS Charity Golf Tournament, which raises money for the Area of Greatest Need fund that supports programs for babies, families and seniors.
In his new role, Murray will draw on his experience at the food bank, where he helped increase donations from $200,000 to over $1 million annually.
When Murray started at the food bank, their main focus was on distributing food to families.
Under his direction, it has become a leader among food banks and now offers an array of innovative services such as a dental clinic, the Starfish Pack program, Toys for Tots, seniors delivery and the Everest program.
Murray said the demographics of the food bank have shifted over the years.
“Previously, there was no assistance offered to single people but we’ve had to expand as hunger affects everyone,” he said.
“Sadly, another growing need is seniors who find that their fixed incomes are being stretched by rising medication, housing and transportation costs.”
Murray said he is excited to be helping in a larger role.
“We know that the day that people first come to the food bank is likely the worst day of their life, and our goal with other ACS programs is to help people before they reach that breaking point,” he said.