Charity sets new course in response to pandemic
Charity sets new course in response to pandemic

Charity sets new course in response to pandemic

Volunteer servers at a NeighbourLink Soup Social event

NeighbourLink Summerland is a volunteer-driven organization that has been supporting vulnerable community members – particularly seniors – for more than 16 years. Much of their work involves connecting people “neighbour to neighbour” through activities such as monthly Soup Socials, home visits and a door-to-door transportation service. 

As was the case with community service organizations everywhere, the COVID-19 pandemic greatly impacted NeighbourLink’s ability to deliver its in-person programming. It also acted as a catalyst for the organization to re-think its activities from the ground up. A key part of this re-think was an externally facilitated and Foundation supported strategic planning exercise for NeighbourLink’s Board.   

A Foundation grant allowed NeighbourLink to engage an external consultant who led Board members through a detailed review of the organization’s mission and goals. An initial Board survey uncovered key issues facing the organization, and informed follow-up meetings where new goals were identified and prioritized.   

It was a valuable undertaking for the long-standing Board, which may have been holding on to some outdated ideas about NeighbourLink’s purpose and direction. It also gave them greater confidence in the face of ongoing effects of the pandemic. “I feel like we’ve been drifting the last couple of years,” says Betty-Ann Xenis, a Board Member with NeighbourLink. “This exercise helped anchor us more firmly and allowed us to begin to reimagine ourselves in a positive way.”  

“Community organizations put their hearts and souls, and the vast majority of their time and resources into delivering their missions,” says Kevin Ronaghan, Grants Administrator for the Foundation. “Sometimes, this means activities like regular strategic planning and Board development become neglected. We’re pleased to be able to offer financial support to help organizations like NeighbourLink Summerland re-set and chart a more resilient path forward.”