Vibrant Communities Charlotte County putting out a call for board members

Submitted photo The current Vibrant Communities Charlotte County Baord, from left: Briana Cowie, Rebecca McSheffery, Sylvia Humphries, Wayne Dempsey, Alex Henderson, and Suren Yoga Nathan. Vibrant Communities is looking to add to its board and are specifically searching for those who have a lived experience of poverty, as well as those who have business experience.

Charlotte County

In Charlotte County, 17.5 per cent of people, 26.7 per cent of children, and 11.2 per cent of seniors live in poverty. Vibrant Communities Charlotte County (VCCC) is a nonprofit organization whose main goal is poverty reduction, which is much more complicated than that simple phrase would lead you to believe.

According to Raymond Funk, the executive director of VCCC, poverty reduction involves putting together all of the moving parts of housing, education, transportation, and social services, while building self-reliance. Knowledge of these diverse fields are required to best use the resources that are available.

For this reason, VCCC is looking for a diverse group of people to join its board. “One of the big things for Vibrant is cross sectoral representation,” said Funk, who began the job eight months ago.

“It’s actually in our mandate to have representation from citizens with lived experience of poverty, the nonprofit sector, the government sector and the business sector.

“I think a lot of boards struggle with this, but we’re really trying to have a good broad base of skill sets at the table.”

Funk says having representation from the sectors Vibrant wants to work in is crucial to their ability to fulfill their mandate.

“At Vibrant, we’ve got quite a wide breadth of interest in everything from housing, to food security, to transportation, and it’s very unlikely to find somebody who specializes in more than one of those areas.”

VCCC currently has six board members, but they are hoping to add two to six more, bringing the total to somewhere between eight and 12.

Vibrant Communities is supported by the Economic and Social Inclusion Corporation (ESIC), an entity created by the government of New Brunswick whose goal is to develop, oversee, coordinate and implement initiatives to reduce poverty and assist thousands of New Brunswickers to become more self-sufficient.

Funk says what VCCC is most in need of are board members with experience in the business community, as well as those with a lived experience of poverty.

Funk says VCCC has come to learn the structure of a board is incredibly important, and so they want to take their time to make sure that they have representation from all of the sectors that they need. “We also have recognized the importance of onboarding and having those who understand what it takes to a committed board, along with a succession plan for board members who retire.”

Funk says that traditionally they have had board meetings once a month in the morning. This can make it difficult for those with full time jobs to sit on the board – but they are open to adjusting the meeting times. The meetings rotate between the communities that VCCC serves, which Funk says allows them to invite organizations which work in different areas to their meetings, allowing them to more easily collaborate.

Prospective board members should have skills related to strategic thinking and decision making, along with experience related to education, financial accounting, law, government services, strategic development, business development, and health and wellness.

Applicants should also have a history of being active and involved at the community level.

Expressions of interest to join the VCCC board may be submitted by e-mail or regular mail, and should include details of education, work experience, references and contact information. Those who are interested can find more information at vibrantcc.ca/board-opportunity

andrewsutton@stcroixcourier.ca