Tea for Two (Hundred+) with @VicFoundation and @LGJudithGuichon at @GovHouseBC – Pt. 1

The Honourable Judith Guichon, OBC Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia and procession guests at Government House, Victoria, BC My work with a variety of Canada's Community Foundations over the years has taken me to some pretty extraordinary places but today's event really was something very special. If you don't know how Community Foundations work (well, I'm not sure I'm really the one to tell you but I'll give you my sense of it), they operate on two fronts: the way you might have heard of them is that they're behind the production of the annual Vital Signs reports in the communities where they operate. This is the report that takes the pulse of the community in terms of things like education, health, poverty, livability and a variety of other indicators; on the other front, they work with a variety of private and corporate donors who want to channel some of their wealth toward addressing some of those issues without handling all the infrastructure of managing their own foundations. It's kind of like one-stop shopping for philanthropy! So the Victoria Foundation's annual Donor Tea is a chance to get some of their partners and contributors in a room together for a little progress report, a little socializing, a little pomp and ceremony and (this is where I come in) a little storytelling.

Our host was The Honourable Judith Guichon, OBC, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia (seated, right) and the venue was the official residence, Government House, located on the traditional territory of the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations. Before things got started I was chatting with the LG's Honorary Aides-de-Camp, Lieutenant(N) Jamie Webb, CD, AdeC of the Royal Canadian Navy, who let me know a couple of important facts about Government House:
1. that this was the third Government House to stand on the site - the first two being destroyed by fires in 1899 and 1957; and,
2. that all the other Lieutenant Governors of Canada are envious of the fact that BC has the most beautiful official residence for LGs in Canada!
While he may have been biased, it wasn't hard to believe him. The grounds were swarming with volunteer gardeners when I arrived in the morning for soundcheck doing an impeccable job in spite of spring taking it's time taking hold and various spots around the site were animated with citizens walking about or doing their morning exercises with a spectacular view of the Strait below and U.S. Territory in the distance.

Her Honour was a friendly and delightful host as we assembled in the drawing room for the procession into the main ballroom. Sadly (I know some people would dispute that it's really "sadly" but I happen to love them...), the piper who was meant to accompany our procession was nowhere to be found but it still felt pretty great to be in such good company as we entered for the main event.

In the photo, standing - Left to right:
Gordon Denford, Victoria Foundation Honorary Governor and Founder of Berwick Retirement Communities (sponsor of the Donor Tea); Catelyn Creswick, Victoria Foundation Loran Provincial Scholarship Award recipient; Jean McRae, Executive Director, Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria (Longevity in Leadership Award recipient); yours truly, Jill Robinson, Executive Director, Habitat Acquisition Trust (Community Leadership Award recipient); Arjun Niranjanan, Victoria Foundation Loran Provincial Scholarship Award recipient; Patrick Kelly, Board Chair, Victoria Foundation.
Sandra Richardson, CEO, Victoria Foundation and The Honourable Judith Guichon, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia.

Thank you to our hosts and to all the wonderful staff at Government House for their remarkable hospitality.
There was much more to the day but you'll have to read on in Pt. 2!

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