Vantage Point is turning 75. Well, actually, we turned 75 in May and like many people who are septuagenarians the details are a little hazy and we’ve forgotten many dates. Yet, after sifting through 75 annual reports, we’ve discovered some lost tidbits about ourselves that we thought we’d share. Reminding ourselves that, though reading about our history unveils quirks about the past (there was a time we didn’t have a postal code!), we always have been, and remain today, an impact-driven and collaborative organization.
1. Just like Bruce Wayne, we’ve been known by many names
In our 75 year history, Vantage Point has gone through five names changes. All important and representative of the social and cultural experiences of the time:
The Women’s Voluntary Services, 1943 – 1946
The Volunteer Bureau of Greater Vancouver, 1947 – 1976
The Vancouver Volunteer Centre, 1977 – 1989
Volunteer Vancouver, 1990 - 2007
Vantage Point, 2008+
2. We originally began as part of the federal government
In May 1943, the Women's Voluntary Services (a branch of the department of national war services) was established to co-ordinate wartime volunteers around the city, and to develop childcare centres where children from England could be sheltered until placed in homes, and for children whose mothers worked in industries related to the war effort. Mrs. W.C. Woodward was named honorary chair and Mrs. G.F. Strong was named chair.
3. We supported the creation of Heritage Hall
Vantage Point, then the Vancouver Volunteer Centre, was one of the leading not-for-profits who petitioned for and then fundraised to restore and renovate the old post office at 3102 Main Street – you know it today as Heritage Hall – through a new not-for-profit named the Main Source Management Society. Along with the City of Vancouver, the Association of Neighbourhood Houses, Video Inn, the Greater Vancouver Information and Referral Service, the Junior League, and BC Association of Social Workers, the goal was to secure affordable, centrally located office space for their agencies while helping to preserve a historic building and create a community cultural centre at the same time.
4. It took 5 years to get one computer
In what might seem endearing today, a board taskforce was struck in 1981 to bring the Centre to the digital age. The board taskforce worked for almost 5 years researching and then implementing the installation of one computer in the office. Staff then went through training on DOS for a week. In 1987, volunteer positions were moved to a computerized referral system where potential volunteers could search opportunities from the office. The legacy of this first digital database remains today with Govolunteer.ca which launched in 2003.
5. 3 million!
That is how many people Vantage Point has served in it is 75 year history (well, this is an approximation as the 1960s are a little blurry for our record keeping) either through volunteerism or through training.