MVA Annual Report 2015/16

Representatives from MVA's member organizations gathered on September 22 2016 at the Annual General Meeting to elect a new board, ratify the financial report, receive an update on MVA activities for 2015-2016, and plan for 2016-2017.

MVA spent the past year actively engaged campaigning around the issues identified by our members. At the same time, we continued to focus on leadership training, institutional development and recruitment of new member organizations.

Read the full 2015-2016 update below and visit the MVA Facebook page for some photos.

Metro Vancouver Alliance is a broad-based alliance of 56 community groups, labour, faith and educational institutions working together for the common good. MVA brings together diverse civil society organizations to create new capacity for community leadership development, citizen-led action and relationships across the lines that often divide our communities.

The members of Metro Vancouver Alliance are institutions: congregations, labour unions, educational bodies, co-operatives, student unions, small business, non-profits, and neighborhood organizations that share a concern for the well-being of their community.

The aim of MVA is to strengthen the voice of citizens and take action on issues of common concern. The Alliance builds on more than 70 years of community organizing experience developed by the Industrial Areas Foundation, with sister organizations across the US, Canada, Germany, Australia and the UK.

Organizations that join MVA do so in order to:

  • Develop leadership and strengthen community within and between their institutions
  • Build bridges across longstanding divisions that isolate communities from each other
  • Build their capacity to act against the root causes of inequality and injustice

MVA has charitable status through its educational arm, Industrial Areas Foundation Canada,


MVA spent the past year actively engaged campaigning around the issues identified by our members. At the same time, we continued to focus on leadership training, institutional development and recruitment of new member organizations.

Membership and leadership

  • Over the past year MVA membership has grown to 56 labour, faith, community, and educational organizations.
  • MVA has continued to build a solid, diverse leadership team. Over 100 people have played significant volunteer roles in running the organization, holding assemblies, carrying out campaigns and building teams inside their own institutions.
  • This year Metro Vancouver Alliance hosted the International Areas Foundation Northwest Regional Leadership Training – the first time this training was ever held in BC.
  • In May 2016 MVA launched our Thousand Conversations Campaign, with two successful ‘kick –off’ meetings.


Four Campaign Action Teams: Affordable Housing, Transit, Income Justice and Social Inclusion, have undertaken the research and campaigning needed to ensure that the commitments MVA received at the Municipal Election Accountability Assembly in October 2014, Federal Election Assembly on Sept. 30, 2015 and North Shore Affordable Housing Assembly on Feb. 8, 2016  are carried out. 

Income Justice

  • Living wage – The Income Justice Team is working with the Living Wage for Families Campaign to ensure that Vancouver’s municipal government lives up to their commitment to make Vancouver a living wage employer. On July 8, 2015, 100-125 people from more than two dozen organizations gathered on the Vancouver City Hall grounds with signs and banners in enthusiastic support of Vancouver becoming a Living Wage City. Council voted unanimously to takes steps to become a living wage employer, demonstrating that the mayor and council intend to act on that public commitment. A delegation from MVA attended the Vancouver City Council meeting on Sept. 21, 2016 to hear the report on Council’s plans for implementation of their living wage policy. The report from the City of Vancouver is available online here.


  • Income justice Strategy - MVA held a Federal Election Accountability Assembly on Sept. 30, 2015 at Langara College for candidates in the Vancouver Granville riding. This helped our members to assess the position of the parties on our key policy asks and to build a relationship with the candidates, including Jody Wilson-Raybould, now Minister of Justice. Minister Raybould committed to “work with Metro Vancouver Alliance to research and develop a comprehensive strategy to address income justice at the federal level and then to advocate for it (for example, via private member’s bill). The Income Justice Team will continue to work with Minister Raybould and politicians at all levels of government to fulfill this commitment.

 Affordable Housing

  • North Shore Affordable Housing Assembly - Over 300 enthusiastic members of the Metro Vancouver Alliance and community partners, representing a range of faith, labour, educational and community groups in North Vancouver gathered on Family Day, Feb 8, 2016 to call on local politicians to address the affordable housing crisis on the North Shore. Mayor Darrell Mussatto, City of North Vancouver, Mayor Richard Walton, District of North Vancouver, Craig Cameron, Deputy Mayor of District of West Vancouver and Pamela Goldsmith-Jones, MP for Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country attended the assembly. They heard powerful testimony about the struggle to find affordable housing from delegates representing MVA’s member organizations, and made commitments to specific, achievable, proposals around affordable housing and healthy neighborhoods.


  • Affordable Housing, North Shore - Since the assembly the North Shore Housing Campaign Action Team has been working with local politicians and staff in the three municipalities to ensure that these proposals become a reality. On July 4, MVA members and allies filled the District of West Vancouver council chamber to press the council to commit to building affordable non-market housing on community land trust properties.


  • Affordable Housing, Vancouver - On April 21, 2016 a group of MVA and allied churches met with Mukhtar Latif, Chief Housing Officer and Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency CEO, to explore how the City can help organizations effectively develop affordable housing and community facilities on their own or city-owned land. Apart from the support that might be forthcoming from the city, the churches recognized that they could support each other by sharing the knowledge gained from their own projects and struggles.


  • Community Land Trusts - On Sept. 9, 2016, members of the Housing Campaign Action Team attended a full-day workshop on Community Land Trusts. This is a model that has worked successfully in other cities and MVA members were keen to learn how it could be used to secure permanently affordable non-market housing in Vancouver. The team will be pursuing meetings with the BC Community Land Trust and other potential partners to determine how we can use land trusts to secure affordable housing.

 Affordable, Accessible Transit

  • RouteSpeak - To help raise the grass-roots voice in transit planning, the MVA RouteSpeak Team is working with South Vancouver MVA member organizations and allies to conduct transit oriented neighborhood walks. The goal is to explore strategies to address the local needs, to make transit more accessible, increase ridership, reduce private automobiles, CO2 emissions, congestion and improve the quality of life in our city. The RouteSpeak Team has done a number of community walks in different areas of South Vancouver, speaking to transit users and local businesses to gather information on what would make transit more effective in the area. Activities continued over the summer, with a table at River District Farmers Market.  

  • Fares Fair – The Transit Campaign Action Team has been holding house meetings to gather our members' views on what a ‘Fair Fare’ structure would look like. An online platform has been launched to allow participation by those who cannot attend house meetings in person. The platform can be accessed here.

Social Inclusion

  • Clusters –  Local ‘clusters’ of MVA institutions have been meeting to discuss neighborhood issues. Three clusters are operating at the moment – South Vancouver, Downtown Eastside/Strathcona and North Shore.

  • Permits - The Social Inclusion Team is completing negotiations with the City of Vancouver to reform the event permitting process. The aim is to simplify the procedures for holding local community events.

  • Beyond the Conversation - The Team is also involved in Beyond the Conversation, a very successful initiative in South Vancouver, providing conversational English classes designed to reduce social isolation among seniors for whom English is a second language. Work is being done to develop and expand this program across the city. Income Justice - The Income Justice Team is working with the Living Wage for Families Campaign to ensure Vancouver's municipal government lives up to their commitment to make Vancouver a living wage city. A report on Vancouver City Council’s plans for implementation of their living wage policy will be tabled on September 21st, 2016. The report from the City of Vancouver is available online here.


MVA’s original Listening Campaign was launched at the Organizing for Action Assembly at First Lutheran Church in May 2013. Over the following nine months, training sessions were offered to help organizations plan and carry out listening in their institutions. The hundreds of one-to-one conversations and small group meetings that followed helped to identify the concerns that mattered most to the members of MVA organizations. The four issues that emerged -- Housing, Poverty, Transit, and Social Isolation -- were announced at the Founding Assembly on March 19, 2014.

In May 2016 MVA launched our Thousand Conversations Campaign, with two successful ‘kick –off’ meetings. Every MVA member organization has been asked to carry out conversations with their members, in whatever way they think best. MVA is offering training to member institutions to help them develop their listening campaign, to build relationships, test our current issues and explore what we might take forward to a Provincial Election Assembly on April 4, 2016.


One of the most important ways in which MVA builds leadership skills and develops links between potential member organizations is through our program of training. Over the past year over 300 community leaders from more than 50 organizations have participated in MVA’s Community Leadership Institutes and other training events. Participants have come from unions, faith institutions, Neighborhood Houses, non-profits, youth groups, schools, colleges and co-ops. Many participants have come back to form part of the teaching team at subsequent trainings.

MVA held a Community Leadership Institute on Nov. 6-7, 2015 that drew almost 60 participants.

This year Metro Vancouver Alliance hosted the International Areas Foundation Northwest Regional Leadership Training – the first time this training was ever held in BC. Thirty-nine community leaders from Seattle, Spokane, Portland, Victoria, Calgary, Edmonton and Little Rock Arkansas, participated in training from February 5th - 9th, 2016 at Capilano University. Participants gained a thorough understanding of the organizing practices and principles developed by Industrial Areas Foundation member organizations over its 74-year history. Holding the training locally allowed us to send 15 MVA leaders, with six receiving full or partial subsidy through the MVA fundraising campaign.

Along with regular leadership institutes, MVA has mounted specialized training, including:

  • Presentations to school, college and university classes
  • ‘Orientations’ or short introductions to MVA for leaders in member institutions
  • Tailored training workshops for member institutions
  • A series of training sessions on Listening Campaign skills delivered to specific sectors or organizations
  • Two book study groups on Going Public, by Michael Gecan and Laudato Si, On Care for our Common Home, Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment. Thanks to Deb Cameron Fawkes for leading these sessions.


The North Shore Affordable Housing Assembly and our campaign work around social inclusion helped MVA to build new relationships with journalists and gained coverage, both within our member institutions and in the wider press and media.

Our work on housing received significant coverage in North Shore News.

Roundhouse Radio featured an interview with Paul Clark, Co-Chair of the MVA Social Inclusion Campaign Action Team

For further news coverage, see

MVA launched a new NationBuilder website in November 2014. Many thanks to Patrick Bragg and PSAC for their continued support in this project. MVA also provided information tables at key community events, including, Labour Day and Archdiocese of Vancouver One Conference.


MVA’s current membership stands at 56 member organizations and 3 sponsoring organizations (see list attached). The following organizations joined over the past 12 months:

  • Anglican Diocese of New Westminster (sponsoring organization)
  • Capilano University Students’ Union
  • Strathcona Residents’ Association

MVA has a very active Board and Leaders’ Group which hold one-to-one meetings with leaders in faith, community, education and labour organization. These ‘relational’ meetings are aimed at getting a better understanding of the person, their concerns and those of their organization. The goal is to identify where leaders and institutions share common interests which could be best advanced by being part of a broad-based community organization. Interested leaders are urged to attend training and to invite MVA to make formal presentations to their decision-making bodies.


MVA has been functioning with one staff member since its start in 2011. Most IAF organizations of this size would have 2-3 staff. As discussed below, the Board and Strategy Team has been working hard to raise the funding needed to employ a second full-time organizer.

Deborah Littman took up the post of Lead Organizer in June 2011. Deborah came to MVA from London Citizens, a thriving broad-based community organization in the UK.  She previously worked for UNISON, a large UK public service union where she was one of the founders of the UK and BC living wage campaigns.

Alicia Neptune worked as an Outreach Organizer for MVA over the summer of 2016 under the Canada Summer Jobs program. Her work involved organizing listening sessions with youth, helping to map community contacts in Maple Ridge and producing publicity materials and web content. Alicia is a final year Communications student at Capilano University.

Flossie Baker has joined MVA from our sister organization Citizens UK, where she worked on their award-winning Refugee Welcome campaign. From September- December 2016, Flossie will be working as a Trainee Organizer for both MVA and Greater Victoria Acting Together, moving to Victoria full-time in January 2017.

Tracey Maynard will be joining MVA as an Organizer in January 2017. Tracey comes to MVA from her role as Provincial Organizer at Dogwood Initiative.

MVA is fortunate to have regular support from students doing their population health promotion practicums in the VCC B.Sc.N. program. Over the past year the students have been working on a demographic survey of MVA member institutions, supporting our North Shore Housing work and planning a presentation and webinar on community organizing for Look Up, BC


MVA is registered under the Society Act and overseen by a Board of Directors, made up of three representatives each of faith, labour and community member organizations.

Current MVA Board of Directors (as of the 2016 AGM)


Gail Berger, Gloria Dei Lutheran Church

Andrew Wilhelm-Boyles, North Shore Justice Group

Justin Berger, Gloria Dei Lutheran Church


Mike Clarke, BC Government Employees Union

Joey Hartman, Vancouver and District Labour Council

Deb Cameron Fawkes, UFCW 1518


Wilson Liang, Strathcona Residents Association

currently vacant

Shari Laliberte, Vancouver Community College


George Pinto (Treasurer), Archdiocese of Vancouver

The aim of MVA’s governance structure is to encourage the widest possible participation in the leadership of MVA. The following structure has been operating over the past year:

  • A nine-member Board constituted in line with current by-laws (3 faith, 3 labour, 3 community)
  • A ‘delegates’ assembly’ made up of at least 2 representatives from every member institution.
  • A Strategy Team made up MVA officers (Co-Chairs, Secretary, Treasurer) and co-chairs of teams and committees. Strategy team meetings are open to representatives of all MVA member organizations. This group carries out the day-to-day running of the organization, alongside the lead organizer.
  • Teams and committees to include:
  • Five ‘Assembly’ teams (logistics, floor team, publicity, turnout, program)
  • Four Campaign Action Teams (Affordable Housing, Income Justice, Transit and Social Inclusion)
  • Neighborhood Clusters (DTES/Strathcona, North Shore, South Vancouver)
  • Committees (education, fundraising, co-ordination)

IAF Canada

MVA is affiliated to Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) Canada, which has charitable status. The first IAF Canada AGM took place on Sept. 23, 2013. Robert Doll is the IAFC Director representing MVA. Robert has worked with the Directors from the other affiliates, Greater Edmonton Alliance (GEA), Metropolitan Alliance for the Common Good in Calgary (MACG) to carry out the procedures for the Foundation.

This year a new BC sister organization, Greater Victoria Acting Together, joined IAF Canada. MVA is supporting the organizing efforts in Victoria and collaborating closely with our colleagues in GVAT.

Industrial Areas Foundation Canada significantly increased its fundraising and project activity in the financial year to March 31, 2016. IAFC raised $27,000 in grants and $4,989.08 in personal donations. It was agreed by all affiliates to contract with Canada Helps to process online donations, which helped to increase the volume of small and recurring donations.

 The work of IAF Canada is overseen by MVA Lead Organizer, Deborah Littman.


Funding for the work of MVA comes from a combination of membership dues, sponsoring contributions from regional/provincial organizations, grant income and charitable donations. MVA does not take government money.

MVA’s income for 2015 was 117,886.23 and our expenditure was $ 95,541.03 , leaving a surplus of $ 22,345.20. MVA’s opening balance for 2015 was $14,961.70, leaving a net surplus of $37,306.90 for the year. This surplus was largely attributed to a one-time grant from UNIFOR National for our work on transit.


Fundraising is a key area of work for MVA. The strength of a broad-based community alliance comes from both organized people and organized money. By combining our resources, we build the capacity to bring about real social change.

While the surplus generated in 2015 put MVA on firmer financial footing, further efforts are needed to increase our fundraising capacity for 2016/17. The Fundraising Committee has estimated that the current global budget would need to rise to $150,000 - $200,000 in 2017 to support the organization’s activities and recruit a second organizer. Fundraising efforts in 2016 have yielded only modest results.

Dues form the core of MVA’s funding. In 2015 dues made up 61% of MVA’s income, while 38% came from grants and 1% from donations and other sources.

The goal is to raise both the absolute amount of dues collected and the proportion of the budget represented by raising dues levels and recruiting new members.

This would allow the employment of a second organizer and fully fund campaigns and public assemblies. The Fundraising Committee has developed plans for reaching this income target. These include:

  • Encouraging current member organizations to meet or exceed the minimum dues level of $500 annually, which took effect in 2015. Existing member organizations paying less have retained their membership and are being offered assistance in raising their dues levels through fundraising.
  • Urging all member organizations to increase their dues contribution by 30%.
  • Setting out a dues structure for new member organizations at $1 per member or 1%-3% of operating budget
  • Continuing to recruit new organizations
  • Pursuing new avenues for grant funding and personal donations.
  • Adding MVA to the list of potential recipients for the United Way and other fundraising campaigns
  • Developing creative ideas for fundraising events and activities


Over the next 12 months MVA will:


  • Continue to reach out to potential new member institutions, particularly in those sectors not yet represented in the Alliance
  • Continue to consolidate membership by building and strengthening core teams inside member institutions
  • Build clusters of member institutions in local areas

Develop Leadership:

  • Continue to hold 2-day Leadership Institutes and other forms of training
  • Support member organizations in their listening campaigns
  • Facilitate participation of MVA leaders in regional and national IAF training
  • Encourage new leaders to take part in Campaign Action Teams and other MVA committees
  • Work with member organizations to develop their core teams


  • Refresh and strengthen the Campaign Action Teams
  • Bring the work of the Campaign Action Teams back into the member institutions, carrying out further listening, power analysis and campaign planning
  • Hold a Provincial Election Assembly on April 4, 2017 to broaden our campaign work, build allies and gain political commitments to our agenda
  • Carry out strategic action in support of our proposals
  • Share campaign experience with other IAF affiliates
  • Generate a robust fundraising campaign



Co-chairs Campaign Action Teams:

Affordable Housing – Agnes Jackman, VDLC; Pat McSherry Carnegie Community Centre, Michael Markwick, Capilano University School of Communication (North Shore); James Cavaluzzo, BCGEU (North Shore)

Income Justice – Gail Berger, Gloria Dei Lutheran Church; Shari Laliberte, Vancouver Community College

Transit – Bruce Murray, UNIFOR 111; Marie Robinson, Our Lady of Guadalupe Tonantzin, Community, Des Burke, St. Mary’s Church (RouteSpeak)

Social Inclusion – Paul Clark, St. North Shore Justice Group; Jayne Fenrich, St. Thomas’s Anglican Church

Co-chairs Committees:

Co-ordinating Committee – James Cavalluzzo, BCGEU, Patrick Bragg, PSAC, The Rev Margaret Marquardt, Eco-Justice Unit of the Anglican Archdiocese, Joey Hartman, VDLC

Education – The Rev Margaret Marquardt, Eco-Justice Unit of the Anglican Archdiocese, Deb-Cameron Fawkes, UFCW 1518

Finance and Fundraising –Pat McSherry, Carnegie Community Centre, Mark Freisan, Vantage Point

Thanks to the hundreds of MVA leaders who have contributed their time and energy to building the Alliance and supporting its work.




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