One of the Foundation’s greatest strengths is its Board of Trustees. From day one, the Board has sought to recruit the city’s leading business, community and philanthropic leaders. One of the newest Board members, Christian Chia, President & CEO of Open Road Auto Group, is one such example. Christian brings immense expertise in strategy, marketing and fundraising to the Board.
Yet, before he was introduced to the VPF through Wayne Deans and Ryan and Cindy Beedie, he had never heard of the Foundation, let alone given policing any thought. But that all changed after he attended the Night Patrol Gala in 2014. Throughout the evening, he had many “I didn’t know that” moments – including just how much the VPD does each year to support the community.
Christian believes that most people today understand the issues facing modern and urban police services – crime, mental health issues, cybercrime, organized crime, emergency assistance, etc. However, he doesn’t believe that most people think about the breadth and depth of community engagement undertaken by the police, let alone the importance of that work.
Of the nearly 50 initiatives funded by donors to the VPF each year*, 99% are initiated by VPD officers – many are on the front line. Christian notes that:
These officers are the people who put their lives on the line every day. They are the first line of defence for all of us, but particularly for those struggling. For so many of them to go above and beyond their day-to-day jobs to take on this additional community work is extraordinary.
It’s where he wants to make the most difference – to help people understand the role of police beyond dealing with crimes and crime prevention – and how profoundly important and impactful this role can be.
He believes that Vancouverites are incredibly fortunate to have the professional, diverse and responsive police service that is the VPD. And we are incredibly fortunate to have the passion, dedication and expertise of Christian and all of the VPF Trustees who volunteer their time with the Foundation!
*Christian is one of these amazing donors, having just contributed a very generous gift to ensure that Safety City (a pedestrian safety program for Grade 2 students) gets off the ground. Stay tuned this fall for more details!
You can help support important community programs by making a donation today.
Gifts of all sizes can make a big difference and will help VPD officers go above and beyond.