Spotlight on National Volunteer Week and the BVA Program

Where would we be without volunteers? Those who give freely of their time, skills and experience to help others not only lift individuals and organizations, but entire communities. During National Volunteer Week 2019, we take time out to say thank you to all of Canada’s 12.7 million volunteers for all they do.

The Conference Board of Canada estimates that volunteers added over two billion hours to the country’s work effort in 2017, valued at $55.9 billion (equivalent to 2.6 per cent of GDP). While volunteers help individuals, groups and neighbourhoods thrive, the experience of volunteering also provides the opportunity to grow skills and build confidence, connections and community. It’s a win-win for everyone.

This year, our Business Workshops for Artists series focussed on the legal and financial matters of running an arts business and featured $2,100 worth of pro bono services from the business community (as well as in-kind donations of workshop space worth $800).

Don-E Coady, Creative Director at Dc Design House (centre), led a roundtable workshop with craftspeople at the Quidi Vidi Plantation in 2017.

Through our Business Volunteers for the Arts (BVA) Program, members of the business community pledged over 1,800 volunteer hours (worth an estimated $270,000) to the creative community in the last year alone. The arts community availed of 60 hours (worth $9,200) of help from volunteers, who were called upon to review contracts, help with survey design, answer legal questions and more.

Justin King, a lawyer with the firm O’Dea Earle, has been volunteering with the BVA program since 2015.

“Since this time, I have had the opportunity to connect with and provide advice to several members of the local cultural sector in Newfoundland and Labrador on a wide range of issues. The BVA Program does an excellent job of connecting individuals/small businesses with the appropriate professionals,” he says.

“Being able to work with individuals from a variety of artistic and professional backgrounds on a personal level is always interesting. It has been a thoroughly rewarding experience and I value the opportunity to give back to the community in this small way.”

Olga McWilliam Benson of Benson Buffett says volunteering with Business & Arts has helped highlight the diversity of the arts community and the value it brings to our culture and community.

Olga McWilliam Benson

“Through this group, I have developed a great appreciation for the talent we have right here on our doorsteps and the challenges the community faces in promotion and growth of the artistic sector. With growth comes a myriad of legal issues, and this is where I have been able to volunteer my time and expertise. The various clinics and the pro-bono program have allowed me, as a lawyer, to give back to a community of persons other business groups call upon all the time to provide talent, whether in the form of a donation for our many causes or as a contributor at an event we are hosting,” she says.

“Through Business & Arts I have learned of many groups I had previously not known to exist, and I consider my life enriched from having done so. I look forward to continuing my education on our arts community, and in helping the various groups I meet along the way conquer the legal challenges that may be encountered as it grows and flourishes.”

Don-E Coady, Creative Director at Dc Design House (a full-service marketing agency in St. John’s), has been volunteering with Business & Arts since the early days and says sharing skills and knowledge helps build resilient communities.

“I am very grateful to have a rewarding career where I come up with creative solutions for – and with – amazing people. When I was asked to hear the interesting case of a local company who needed to both rebrand and reconnect to their success potential, I said YASSS! Loved it,” he says.

“Helping people of our province to brand better is our calling at Dc. The more success we can share and grow, the stronger and more exciting our region will become, and that, I think, is the big idea!”

During National Volunteer Week, we say thank you to each and every one of our volunteers for all they do!