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Campaign Milestone

The beginning of 2018 has seen significant progress in the What Really Matters integrated capital campaign. Our 60 amazing volunteer cabinet members have been having important conversations about the social service needs of our community—and donors like you are listening. Thanks to this collective action we are seeing our plan to reach out and serve hundreds of thousands more people by creating four new centres of community in Surrey, Vancouver, Coquitlam and Chilliwack come to life.  

Our Visionary Volunteers

There are 60 visionary volunteer leaders from Vancouver to Chilliwack working together to make a difference in our community. It is this team's commitment to our community that makes this campaign possible. We are so grateful for their investment in the YMCA.

Each issue we give you the opportunity to meet our community volunteers. This issue we invite you to learn more about our team in the Tri-Cities. Click here to meet the team.

The Chilliwack Family YMCA is Coming to Life

The centre of community in Chilliwack is taking shape and construction is at a stage where the vision of community is becoming a reality. The new centre of community will be 25% bigger in order to serve the rapidly growing Chilliwack community. The team is working hard and the progress is clear. The steel frame is up and foundation work is underway. The next phase will see the new gym and fitness area coming to life and pool preparations in full swing.  

Just imagine, in a few short months there will be children learning how to swim, youth connecting while playing basketball and seniors joining together to get health in the pool. We are so grateful to the volunteers and donors in Chilliwack who are stepping up to make a difference.

“It is rare for me to be out in the community without a YMCA member asking me when the new Y will open” said Wayne McAlpine, Chair of the What Really Matters Chilliwack Cabinet. “When the Chilliwack Y closed temporarily for renewal construction last summer, it left a significant hole in the lives of people in Chilliwack. If we ever needed more evidence of the positive role that the YMCA plays in our communities, this is it.”

Coquitlam: Full Speed Ahead

On March 12, the YMCA passed a milestone in the journey to bringing a new centre of community to Coquitlam. The Concert Properties rezoning, which included the new Coquitlam YMCA, was passed unanimously by Coquitlam City Council. During the Council Meeting the Mayor and each Council member took time to speak on the importance of this project to the people of the City and Region. Council spoke at length about their support for this project, mentioning the great efforts taken by the YMCA, City of Coquitlam and Concert Properties to bring it all together. Direct appreciation was given to the Coquitlam's What Really Matters Cabinet volunteers for their work engaging the community in supporting the YMCA, and how their work will impact generations of children, youth, adults, seniors and families.

The application by Concert Properties places the new 60,000 square foot Y in the centre of a vibrant, transit-oriented, mixed-use urban village. This modern community, health, fitness and recreation facility will give more than 16,000 children, teens, adults and seniors each year the opportunity to be healthy, connected and engaged. The next step is the fourth reading in the weeks to come, followed by a ground-breaking ceremony

Keep an eye out for an invitation to the official groundbreaking later this year.

YMCA Impact - People feel engaged and connected to their community and each other

We are carving out areas where we can have influence. We’re reshaping our programs, collaborating with partners, developing world class facilities and building a platform to be advocates to support change—from programs to policy. This is measured against the three reasons we do this work:

  • Helping children and families thrive
  • Promoting healthy living
  • Fostering belonging and connection

This lens is a tool that articulates our focus and intended impact on community. Each section illustrates how together we are helping people reach their potential.

According to the Vancouver Foundation’s 2017 Connect & Engage report, the need for connection in Metro Vancouver is great. Around half of people continue to find it difficult to make friends and one in four people find themselves alone more often that they would like.

People in the Vancouver area are looking for others who share the same interests, for a friendly approachable face, for more shared community spaces to connect in, and they also need sufficient financial resources to join in.

The Y is the one organization that is there to meet those needs. We provide the safe and welcoming places that foster a sense of community and welcome anyone, no matter their background or financial situation, with open arms. 


Jessica is one example of how the YMCA’s welcoming and inclusive environment is helping people in the community feel a sense of belonging and connection:

Jessica gave birth to her first child in 2016. The first few months at home with her new son were amazing. She and her husband were so excited to welcome their baby into the world and were showered with love from family and friends. When her son turned four months old and the excitement became routine, Jessica started to notice how alone, confused and lost she felt. “I started to feel so isolated as a mom” said Jessica. It had been a very long cold winter and through all the snow storms and power outages, Jessica started to develop post partum depression and anxiety. She knew that something had to change.

After some searching, she found out the YMCA offered programs for new moms which sounded like exactly what she needed. When she walked through the doors for the first time with her son, she felt such an overwhelming sense of relief. “The connection was immediate and authentic. The staff who run the centre are so kind and welcomed us with open arms.” After just a few weeks Jessica was making friends and opening up. “All the classes at the centre were included, which means a lot when you are a stay at home mama,” remarked Jessica. Jessica and her son started going to the music classes and family play time and now, almost two years later, they are still active members of the community. “I feel like it's my home away from home, walking through those doors, every time, it's the highlight of my day or week. I'm forever grateful.”

Jessica is just one example of the transformational impact the Y has in the community.

The family that gets active together, stays together

When Gabrielle was 16, she was going through a tough time. She was showing signs of depression and was disconnecting from her family. Her mom was at a loss for what to do. Gabrielle started seeing a counsellor who believed getting active would help. Her counsellor secured funding for her to join the Jumpstart program for one year. So she started coming to the Y with her mom. After some time working out together, they formed an incredible bond that continues to this day, four years later.

After the Jumpstart funding ended, Gabrielle’s mom started feeling lost again because they could not afford a YMCA membership. She talked to Y staff about cancelling their membership and they said to her, “You aren’t going anywhere! The YMCA is a charity and we can help.” Gabrielle’s parents struggled with this as they aren’t used to receiving support. Her father recently became unemployed and felt embarrassed to ask for help. On the day they were supposed to come talk about their options, they sat in the car for almost an hour, unsure about whether they could do this or not. When they finally found the courage to walk in the doors, they were both relieved and thankful.

Today, you can find Gabrielle and her parents at the Langara Family YMCA often. Dad lost more than 50lbs and is no longer at risk for diabetes. Mom proclaimed 2018 as the year she will learn how to swim and the YMCA is where she’s going to do it. When asked why they continue to choose the YMCA, they explained that the Y is not like any other gym. It’s a community they belong to and they couldn’t imagine going anywhere else.

Donor Profile: Barry MacDonald

We believe our donors are pioneers, founders and visionary leaders and it is their generosity that makes this vision possible––bringing urgently needed life-enhancing programs and services to underserved communities.

We are excited to introduce you to one of those visionary leaders who is strengthening the Tri-Cities community through an investment in what really matters.

Barry MacDonald, a corporate director and consultant, is native to the Tri-Cities. “I grew up near the Burquitlam area and I think that area has a lot of potential,” said Barry. He has fond memories of growing up in Glenayre and attending Port Moody Secondary School.

Barry, having attended YMCA programs at the old New Westminster YMCA, knows what the Y can do for a community. “The Burquitlam area is long overdue for a YMCA,” said Barry. “I’m a big believer in the YMCA. It makes communities healthier and improves people’s lives.” With 47% of Coquitlam residents feeling disconnected, we know there is work to be done in the community and we are thrilled to have Barry’s support. 

“The YMCA is important for the community because it embraces people of all income classes and backgrounds and gets them engaged and involved. I look forward to watching the community get behind the YMCA.”

Thank you to Barry and his wife Anne for joining us in ensuring a generation of children and families reach their potential.

Introducing the Coquitlam Community Cabinet

We are so proud to introduce you to the Coquitlam Community Capital Campaign Cabinet. Volunteers are the driving force behind the What Really Matters Capital Campaign, and the experience and networks of these generous volunteers are going to help us reach our $4 million goal. Led by cabinet Co-Chairs Tracy Price and Janine Davies, this team is actively meeting with people in the Tri-Cities to ask them, "What really matters?"


Janine is the Executive Director of Raymond James Canada Foundation. A private foundation, her role is to manage the philanthropic efforts of the employees, advisors and their clients across Canada.  A strong believer in supporting community, Janine is the past director for the YMCA of Greater Vancouver, the past Chair of the Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce, past Founding President of the Port Coquitlam Community Foundation, and Past Vice Chair and Chair of Corporate Partnership for the Shooting Stars Foundation.

A Port Coquitlam resident, Janine, her wife Susan and their twelve-year old son Arden, are active community volunteers at all levels. She is happy to share that her son is now a seasoned YMCA camper having attended YMCA Camp Elphinstone since the summer of 2016.

What Really Matters to Janine? “Seeing our community get the tools it needs to help families reach their potential. The new building is just the beginning, new Y programs throughout the community will come as well, creating a stronger, more hopeful and caring community.”

tracy Price, Co-CHAIR, Coquitlam CAMPAIGN CABINET

Tracy leads the Tracy Price Wealth Management Team with RBC Dominion Securities specializing in developing life-long financial strategies based on each client’s vision, life and needs. She is a lifetime Tri-Cities resident growing up in Coquitlam, with Burquitlam in her backyard. She has dedicated countless hours to a number of community initiatives including the Crossroads Hospice Society, the Eagle Ridge Hospital Foundation and Douglas College. Tracy is thrilled to be co-chairing the capital campaign to build the new Coquitlam YMCA to support the Tri-Cities and Burnaby communities.

What Really Matters to Tracy? “Located in my old stomping grounds of Burquitlam, this fabulous facility will provide a spacious modern community and recreation facility for current and future residents alike, allowing generations of families to feel connected, engaged and empowered.”

david Crawford, cabinet member, COQUITLAM CAMPAIGN CABINET

David Crawford is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA - Canada) an Environmental Professional (EP) and a Chartered Director (C.Dir.). David is a business leader with executive level experience in financial and operations management, corporate responsibility and risk management. He has expertise and demonstrated skills in the planning and implementation of complex projects. David is excited to be apart of the capital campaign to build the new Coquitlam YMCA to bring YMCA programs and services to the community.

What Really Matters to David? "My family and I were YMCA members in Winnipeg, and I have seen some of the impacts of the YMCA through my work in Vancouver and across the US. The YMCA will bring more than just a recreation facility to the Tri-Cities. It will bring the programs and services needed to help our community thrive."



Marko Dekovic is the Vice President of Public Affairs at Global Container Terminals Inc. He is also an accomplished and recognized public affairs professionalin private, public and not-for-profit sectors. Over the past 16 years he has held increasingly senior management roles, with focus on advancing and executing public policy that has impacted the economies of BC and Canada. Prior to joining GCT, Marko was part of the team at the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority that implemented transformative tactics and strategies, including the launch of a major public awareness campaign, and providing strategic communications for the Vancouver harbour during defining events.  Recognized for his achievements and demonstrated excellence in business, judgment and leadership in the community, Marko was awarded the Top Forty under 40 by Business in Vancouver in 2017.

What Really Matters to Marko? Marko lives in Coquitlam with his wife Tina and their three young children. Tina is a member of the YMCA and they both look forward to the opportunities this YMCA will bring to families in the area. They are excited to see a YMCA facility and program emerge that are innovative and built around family, to help families reach their goals.



Leah Iverson spent 26 years with TD bank, most recently as Community Relations Manager and Tactical Marketing, directing TD funds towards worthy causes across British Columbia. Leah recently completed a contract as Philanthropy Coordinator, Major Gifts and Campaigns with the Canadian Red Cross.

Leah grew up and lives in the Burquitlam area and sees first hand the need for the YMCA’s programs and services within the Burquitlam and Tri-Cities Communities.

What Really Matters to Leah? “I believe it is important that everyone contributes to making our communities healthy. In Burquitlam I see the need for the programs and services provided by the YMCA, especially the access provided to everyone, regardless of ability to pay. Being able to be involved in this campaign where I grew up and currently live is a great opportunity for me to help make my contribution towards our healthier community.”



Tim Laidler is a dedicated change advocate and operational military professional with a decade of service in leadership roles with the Canadian Forces. He was also the Executive Director of the Veteran Transition Network. He is a diligent, future-focused leader with a long and distinguished record of engagement in private, public and non-profit roles in Vancouver. He also inspires active, goal-oriented participation in others.

What Really Matters to Tim? Having grown up in the Tri-Cities and run for office here, Tim has seen and heard the needs of the community first hand. Tim is excited to see the new ways the YMCA will serve this growing community.




Born and raised in Coquitlam, Ted is a Communications graduate from Simon Fraser University and CEO/co-founder of the award winning digital marketing agency Ballistic Arts. Founded in 2002, Ballistic Arts is comprised of 20+ creatives specializing in the areas of website development, branding, online marketing and video production. Clients have included Concord Pacific, Wall Financial, Vancity, the Vancouver Police Foundation, Nature’s Path Foods, BC Egg Marketing Board, and B2Gold.

Aside from serving for the YMCA, his additional community work includes being a board director of the Douglas College Foundation, an executive committee member and NEXT Leader Council chair with the BC Business Council, the Chair of the Federal Liberals for Port Moody Coquitlam, and a leadership coach.  

What Really Matters to Ted? Ted is excited to see the YMCA’s programs and services come to the Tri-Cities in a bigger way. With the community growing he sees the need to bring new facilities and opportunities to help children and families reach their potential.



YMCA Heritage Club Luncheon – Wednesday June 20, 2018
Coquitlam Groundbreaking – Stay tuned
Chilliwack opening it’s doors – Stay tuned

What Really Matters Capital Campaign Volunteer Team

Thank you to the following leaders who are helping us reach our $140 million campaign goal. 


Robert H. Lee (Honorary Chair)
Bob Chan Kent (Co-Chair)
Greg D'Avignon (Co-Chair)
Stephen Butz
Mary Anne Davidson
Gavin Hume, Q.C.
Dr. Graydon Meneilly
James N. Morton
Houtan Rafii
Catherine Van Alstine
Staff: Darlene Hepburn, George Rodger


Mary Anne Davidson (Chair)
Shirley Broadfoot
Brian J. Hurl
David A. Woollven
Kevin Arbogast
Roberta Haas
Coral Henshaw
Darlene Hepburn
Kelly Janveaux
Marnie Jepsen
Sheri Josephson
Annie Markvoort
Grant Mosby
Karen Price
Stacey Stewart
Lisa Stiver
Staff: Baily Molotsky


Wayne McAlpine (Chair)
Jason Arnold (Vice Chair)
Scott Bate
Ken Harder
Ed Kaye
Casey Langbroek
Eddy Mejlholm
Maureen Murphy
Scott Simpson
Staff: Karen Price


Janine Davies (Co-Chair)
Tracy Price (Co-Chair)
David Crawford
Marko Dekovic
Leah K. Iverson
Tim Laidler
Ted Lau
David Bassett (Campaign Associate)
Sean Lee (Campaign Associate)
Barry MacDonald (Campaign Associate)
Staff: David A. Woollven


Leslie Castellani (Chair)
Terry Hunt
Bal Mann
Norman Stowe
Balbir Thind
Dave Pel
Staff: Coral Henshaw