Official Statement & Notice of Closure
After 15 years of dedicated and valuable service to the community of Banff, the Board of Directors of the Banff Volunteer Centre [BVC] regretfully announces the closure of the organization effective December 31, 2012.
Volunteer centres across Canada are being faced with the challenge of developing a new model in order to remain relevant in the 21st century, and securing sustainable core funding dollars, the BVC is no exception. Through a collaborative effort lead by Volunteer Canada, the BVC’s highly dedicated and forward thinking Executive Director Katherine Topolniski, was able to lead the charge to change the model of volunteer centres and investigate new opportunities for capacity building for nonprofits in Canadian communities.
The insight, commitment and level of professionalism Katherine brought to the BVC ensured that Banff was at the fore front of this rapidly evolving landscape. Through her work with the BVC Katherine worked in collaborations which reached across nonprofits locally, regionally and nationally, far exceeding what could be expected of an organization serving a community of less than 9000 residents.
Many options for revenue generation were explored through identified opportunities within Banff; unfortunately we were unable to secure the financial resources required to complete in-depth program development to firmly move down the road of financial self-sustainability. The BVC has recognized the lack of sustainable, consistent core funding as a major issue for the success of volunteer centres.
While many grant opportunities exist in Alberta, funding sustainability and consistency continue to challenge all nonprofits. The BVC Board urges all levels of government and the private sector to truly take steps toward establishing consistent funding formulas and opportunities for these invaluable and highly relevant organizations to exist.
The Board would first like to recognize the past and present board members, directors and benefactors to the BVC for the valuable contribution to this organization and the community. At this time we’d like to acknowledge the Town of Banff for their contributions to core funding and in-kind supports over the past 15 years.
The Board would especially like to thank Executive Director, Katherine Topolniski, who over the past 2 years was tasked with a challenging and complex transitional period for the BVC. Katherine’s expertise and value in this field cannot be understated. Through her efforts, the BVC was able to secure 2 years of funding, develop a new model for volunteer centres and engage in multiple projects throughout the community, much of this work will live on beyond the organization. Katherine contributed broadly to efforts both provincially and nationally to shift the volunteer centre landscape to provide meaningful, high skilled opportunities to volunteers, as well as a shifting focus toward capacity building and development for not-for-profits. Her contributions to the shifting volunteer landscape will lead toward a model that will see volunteer centre’s continue relevantly in communities across Canada.
The BVC would also like to thank the following organizations and individuals for their contributions;
- The citizens of Banff who continually support many causes and organizations in the town of Banff – and especially all of the dedicated volunteers who gave time, effort, and skills to further the BVC
- Volunteer Canada and Zoe Fleming for the opportunity to help shape the ideal of the ‘modern’ volunteer centre and their role in communities;
- Volunteer Alberta for their incredible resources, beneficial programs, expert guidance and variety of supports;
- The local organizations that recently worked closely with the BVC, such as BanffLIFE, Bow Valley Cares Centre, Interpretive Guides Association, Banff Ideas Bank, , Banff FCSS, Bow Valley Learning Council, Banff Community Foundation, The Banff Centre, YWCA and many, many other organizations.
The Banff Volunteer Centre is proud of its 15 year history and of the contributions the organization has made to volunteerism and capacity building in the community of Banff. In addition to linking thousands of people to volunteer opportunities in Banff, the following list encompasses some recent successes:
- Leadership in provincial and National volunteer centre networks
- Model development for the modern volunteer centre in Canada
- Introduced the modern culture of volunteering, provided mentoring and support for the development of project-based skilled volunteer roles and internships in Banff
- Promoted organic community dialogue, volunteerism and community engagement through hosting Community Coffee Houses
- Collaborated on the development of the SHINE 2012 project to recognize people who share, help, inspire, nurture and enrich life in Banff
- Connected local non-profits with learning opportunities and many workshops to build local organizational capacity
- Secured a videoconferencing system for affordable and expansive community learning and collaboration opportunities
- Assisted with fundraising and volunteer recruitment efforts; including leading a team of volunteers for St. George’s in the Pines Anglican church fundraising and historical designation application, supporting recruitment of volunteers for large events YWCA’s Walk a Mile event, Live! With Kelly and the inaugural Grand Fondo race
- Assisted approximately 50 non-profits in promotion of over 78 volunteer opportunities in the past 2 years
- Planted the seeds for the development of Voluntourism Opportunities within Banff National Park.
We believe that the work of volunteer centres is relevant and recognize that a plethora of volunteer opportunities exist to enable both individual and organizational growth in our community. The demand for volunteers, information and education will not disappear. The many diverse organizations that receive the benefit of volunteer centres in Alberta and across Canada must take the initiative to establish how they can contribute in a meaningful fashion to the sustainability of volunteer centres.
We urge the Town of Banff, local nonprofits and the private sector to continue a dialogue and take decisive action to ensure volunteer and organizational capacity needs are met in the community.
Chair of the Board of Directors, Banff Volunteer Centre
Banff Volunteer Centre shuts down
Almost two years ago to the date, Katherine Topolniski stood before town council to make a request for funding while introducing herself as the new executive director of the Banff Volunteer Centre. But this time, she was there to announce the closure of the centre, effective Dec. 31, and to ask that the Town of Banff take over the organization’s assets.