Volunteer Abbotsford restructures to face funding challenges

Volunteer Abbotsford has replaced its full-time executive director with a part-time position, but the board president said it is not impacting the organization’s role in the community.

Doug Edgar said the agency recently decided to restructure as a cost-savings measure.

Rather than spending $60,000 or more annually on a full-time executive director, the organization wanted to focus its funds on delivering services, he said.

Jane Cooper, the person filling that role, opted to move on. Mark Duyns has been appointed interim executive director on a part-time basis.

Edgar said Volunteer Abbotsford, like many non-profits, has struggled to establish a “funding base” in tough economic times.

“It’s not exactly the best time to try to grow one,” he said.

The agency’s role will not change, he said.

It will continue to raise awareness about volunteerism, offer events such as workshops, and provide a database to match volunteers with agencies needing their support.

It will also continue to provide volunteer ushers for the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre.

Possible future projects include a volunteer recognition event and an economic summit for non-profit groups.

A new website is also in the works.

Three new members have joined the board of directors, and will offer their expertise on a volunteer basis, Edgar said.

They are: Sundeep Sidhu from Prospera Credit Union, Danielle Knowles of Red Pencil Editing Services, and Tanya Thakur, president and founder of Student Connections, a group that encourages youth involvement in the community.

“To me, we are as good and as strong as ever,” Edgar said.

The Volunteer Abbotsford office at 31581 South Fraser Way is open as needed.

Edgar recommends calling first at 604-850-7161 or emailing info@volunteerabbotsford.ca.

More information is also available at the website volunteerabbotsford.org.

Volunteer Abbotsford formed as a society last June, but was part of Spirit of B.C. – created to celebrate the 2010 Winter Games – for about three years.