Skip to main content

Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation With Jeff Norris, President & CEO

By July 7th, 2023No Comments29 min read
Home » Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation With Jeff Norris, President & CEO

Raising money, for whatever purpose, is an inspirational act anyone can and should be proud of. Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation CEO Jeff Norris has dedicated his life to enhancing hospital care and improving its fundraising strategies. Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation is a provincial and regional independent charitable foundation that raises millions of dollars annually to help fund priority healthcare needs. In this episode, Jeff sits with Douglas Nelson to share his mission as a leader in the health philanthropy sector. Listen in as Jeff takes us on a little walk through his career journey towards thriving in the social-profit sector.

Listen to the podcast here

Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation With Jeff Norris, President & CEO

Our guest is Jeff Norris and he’s the CEO of the Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation. We’re pleased to have him as our guest. Welcome, Jeff.

It’s great to be here, Doug. Thanks for having me.

We want to hear about your career and how your lifelong ambition was to be CEO of the Royal Colombian Foundation, but let’s start with, what is your first memory of philanthropy?

I’m glad you gave me a bit of a preface. I can think about this. I’ll choose my words delicately because it would be a bit of an unusual one. I was involved with the Boy Scouts of Canada, the Cub Scouts and I remember we took on a project that was building a neighborhood garden, when I lived in Saskatchewan, what we did to raise money.

It was a little bit different from philanthropy, but we went door to door selling fertilizer and manure. It was donated. We drive around in trucks and go door to door selling this stuff. Ultimately, use those funds to set up this community garden with the Scouts that we’re involved in. That’s maybe not my first memory, but certainly, it’s the most distinct memory, a very unique way of raising funds for a project.

That’s what planted the seed, as it were, for moving into the social profit sector. You have been a leader in the health philanthropy sector as you are now and post-secondary as well, but how did you come to be in the social profit sector? Take us for a little walk in your career journey.

I started fairly young and I’ve been in it for many years. I started fairly young in terms of getting involved with philanthropy which is interesting. I didn’t cross by many people that this was their first and only career and that’s certainly is the case for me. I always worked a lot when I was young. I was always drawn into being involved with jobs or projects where I got to deal with people quite a bit. That’s when it took me to different places.

I remember I had a job working for a bootlegger selling clothing when I was in my 1st or 2nd year in university. I thought, “I enjoy talking to people and trying to encourage them to buy jeans and these sorts of stuff, but I don’t feel very fulfilled doing this.” I remember a summer job came up to work for the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

There are more creative ways that you can add value other than just writing a check. Click To Tweet

As I was paying my way through school, I thought, “I’m going to take this summer job.” I was successful in getting at it and it was doing something called the Big Bike tour. I’m sure readers are very familiar with it. It’s a 30-person bike and my job was to take this all across Saskatchewan. If you’re not familiar with the Saskatchewan course, I’d go to 250, 300 different places and you got to be specific little places because there would be super small towns, but it was a cool way to get into philanthropy. I would meet a neighborhood of 5,000 to 6,000 donors over the course of the summer.

In fact, I met more donors in the course of the summer than anyone else working in the organization and they would eventually come up and tell their stories. Sometimes gentlemen would hold up their shirt and show a scar and say, “I had open heart surgery and this is why I give,” or people would talk about someone that they lost and this is why they’re involved or some people are coming up because they thought it was cool and it was fun.

It was a great introduction to understanding, who donors were and getting that frontline play into the fundraising world. As it turned out, it was very successful for us that summer. I got into it and I made an effort to stop at towns a month before I’d be there to talk about the bike and meet organizers. We raised about twice as much money as the previous year.

Someone there, the CEO at the time in Saskatchewan, was great. She recognized, “This guy could probably help us out and do some more fundraising work.” I ended up moving from being a full-time student to being a part-time student and a semi full-time employee. I did things like Jump Rope for Heart for them, Splash for Heart, Dance for Heart and I did anything that had “for heart” at the end. I ultimately got into doing work around a door-to-door campaign. I’m heavily involved with some annual giving. I worked for the Heart and Stroke Foundation for the first few years to introduce myself to fundraising.

It’s bootleggers and bikes. The examples that you’re sharing there are all about connecting with people who share the cause that you’re representing. As you move on from Heart and Stroke, where did that desire to connect with people around causes that matter take you next?

I did a short stint with the Kidney Foundation, but then I landed in the place that was the epiphany that this would be a lifelong career for me, which was St Paul’s Hospital. That was many years ago. Originally, I came in there to extend doing some work at a call center program that needed to be run, so very much on the annual giving front, but then pretty quickly, they came to me and said, “Would you take on a project called Lights of Hope?” It had been started a few years ago. It hadn’t been translated into being a fundraising program at that stage. It was more recognition that was occurring.

I took that on and now it’s a massive project to build up and continues to be very successful. It’s very rewarding to be involved with it and meet some great people from it, but the epiphany for me is I loved moving into a fundraising environment where you were asked to walk down the hallway and see how the money was being spent. I enjoyed my time at the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the idea of raising money and it being sent to researchers that I may never meet, but I understood they’re having an impact.

For me, that connection of being part of the community that I was fundraising for and seeing patients come into the office and talk to me about what was going on in their lives and why the hospital was important or talking to physicians, nurses or clinicians about new equipment that we purchased that was making a big difference in the care they could offer. That was when things clicked and I decided that I’d be fundraising for institutions for the rest of my career because that was what got me excited.

That’s an important point. It’s something that we see in our work here at the Discovery Group is that often leaders moving between cause-based organizations or national health-based organizations, institutional-based organizations assume that it’s the same. We hear a lot from people going, “I had no idea how much different this would be.” That it is maybe not a different language, but certainly a very distinct dialect of a language, you know the sector very well. How do you see leaders straddling that or making that transition from cause-based to institution-based leadership?

It’s understanding what you’re looking for in terms of what excites you. It’s funny that you mentioned talking about that and leaders have that challenge. That’s the advice I’ve given a lot of people when they say they want to take a jump away from working for institutional to cause-related or outside of the organization side of things, but they’re going to see a pretty distinct change to it and they got to understand what that looks like. Particularly when you’re working for, let’s say, a national-based organization, where the decision-making might be rooted in a different place.

One of the really exciting things about working for one of the hospital foundations, NBC, is there’s a pretty good variety of sizes, but even at the larger set of hospital foundations, it’s not too many stages down from where someone might be working at an organization to where the decisions are made and they can have that real impact and be involved with that. If that’s what you’re looking for or the career journey you’re after, I do encourage people to go in that direction.

You sound like someone who’s hiring.

We’re always hiring. That’s one of the few challenges that we have in the sector these days is that there are not enough good people coming into the industry for the number of positions. It’s funny that I teach a not-for-profit accounting class. Most people in a university class are not necessarily looking to go and do not-for-profit work or be involved with it. I’m in there pitching all the time that this is an industry and a career that people need to start thinking about much earlier in their career journey.

It’s funny how many people try to drift into it later and realize that they’re not getting what they want in working in the private sector. I’m encouraged because I see lots more younger people coming into this direction as their career, but more people should consider it as their first choice and started heading in that direction.

I couldn’t agree with you more, but let’s get back to you. We got bootlegger, bikes and Lights for Hope. What comes next?

I was at St. Paul’s for eight years. This is the thing that happens to a lot of people. That’s a discussion I’ve had with a lot of people that are looking to take the next step. I have always wanted to be a CEO. I always wanted to be in that leadership role in an organization. That was always the career path I wanted to head. I was very deliberate about it. Sometimes I see people that say, “I’d love to be a CEO. I want to take that role on with a not-for-profit.” I sit down and have a conversation about what they enjoy about their work and everything they enjoy about their work has nothing to do with being a CEO.

You want to share the best news possible to encourage people to feel good. Click To Tweet

They enjoy very different aspects. They’re not interested in the board, the governance and financial relationships and pulling all those kinds of pieces together, but I was always very interested in those sorts of things and that was the direction I wanted to go. I came to the realization at some point, if I wanted to be a CEO, I’d have to leave an organization I loved and enjoyed working with.

Quite often, especially in smaller not-for-profits, there’s a pretty big gap between being a second in charge and the person in charge. You might not be able to pick up that experience that you need within the organization itself and make that transition. I didn’t think that was something I could achieve at St. Paul’s. Time proved out that was something correct.

An opportunity opened up for me to go to Kwantlen. At that time, it was Kwantlen College, but when I was there, it transitioned to Kwantlen Polytechnic University. It moved from a college to a university, but regardless, they were looking for a CEO to run their foundation and I thought this would be a great opportunity for me to go use some of the skills that I had. Smaller organization in terms of the fundraising horsepower that they had at the time, but something I felt I could take on. Build up, then take that on as my first CEO role and then build from there in terms of other things I could do in the future.

On that theme of transitions, we talked about the transition from organization cause-based to institutional. The transition from health to post-secondary is not insignificant, either. Both are institutions, but very different kinds of institutions. We’re not in Saskatchewan anymore moment for you where you were like, “This is very different than being in the health environment.”

Funny enough, not really.

Are you just not aware?

No. When you get to the end cause, for sure, but in terms of the dynamics of the organizations, both large organizations with lots of employees, some unionized, some independent, physicians and professors are these independent folks and they fall under a different set of rules. You’ve got your management and excluded staff, that piece was very similar.

Both worked under the government in some way, shape, or form, but the difference was the immediacy of the impact of what you were fundraising for. In healthcare, it’s life and death. In education, it is life, but it’s life over a longer period of time. You’re setting someone up to be successful, potentially 10, 15 years from there or setting their life going forward.

Did you notice a difference in the kinds of conversations you have with donors and the different roles? In healthcare, my experience is donors are willing to share a lot of personal details because they’re talking about their health experiences of themselves or somebody close to them. In post-secondary, there’s a bit more reserved. There’s why education was important to me so many years ago. It’s a little bit more distant, but they’re both areas of their sector that received these significant gifts and deep meaningful philanthropy on a consistent basis.

It’s because it touches a different part of the psyche and soul. It motivates them. If you can remember back to that transition because you’ve made it twice, you’ve gone from health to post-secondary and then back to health. How does that change those conversations or does it change your approach to how you want to engage donors?

As I went into education, the conversations were more of an analytical basis. People have been thinking it out for a number of years. In fact, some of the investments that we’re having we’re folks that might run a welding shop, and then Kwantlen University has to have a welding program. They thought that would be a good thing to invest in and to make sure there was a better market for employees coming through. It’s a very analytical decision around making a gift as opposed to something driven by emotion or an immediate event. That changed, for sure.

By the same token, we had a great donor. One of the most fulfilling gifts is I worked with a gentleman named Ike Barber. He was a pretty well-known donor in BC and was involved in education. I spent a lot of time with him talking. He was doing it for very compassionate and emotional reasons. It’s very similar to what you’d see in healthcare. Even though the averages would certainly push you more analytical, sometimes the conversation takes you in another direction as well.

You’re at Kwantlen for a number of years and then you move back across the river to Royal Columbian. What brought you there and what did you find when you got there?

I was at Kwantlen for eight years and I’ve been at Royal Columbian for several years. I don’t plan on leaving shortly, but it does seem to be a bit of a pattern in terms of timing. I always knew I wanted to go back to hospitals. To be honest, in my head, I always figured I’d go back and run St. Paul’s at some stage. The cycle of where you came from and all those kinds of things. An organization I got a lot of exposure to is St. Paul’s and it’s very similar in a lot of ways in culture and what was offered was Royal Columbian.

I remember my predecessor leaving to take a job at the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Everything circles around in different ways. I remember saying, “I’m going to go take that job because I would love to be the CEO of Royal Columbia.” I love the hospital. I loved where it was in terms of its trajectory and building it up. I was thinking, “I should probably call up their board chair and let them know you don’t need to hire a search for anything. Why don’t we sit down and I’ll come and take that job.” Quite frankly, I’m glad I didn’t go that way.

It probably wouldn’t have worked out very well.

When you’re not honest, people won’t know what the real problems are, and they're not going to be able to give advice on what matters most to you. Click To Tweet

It wouldn’t and even if it worked out very well and let’s say I did get hired in going that way, I think there is something very healthy about a board having that opportunity to see multiple candidates and know they are making the best choice going forward. Regardless, I did ultimately get the position and I arrived at a fascinating time to be involved with any organization that the hospital had been pushing for many years to see a significant expansion of their physical plant here and expansion of their services. Within about a year of my arrival, it finally got announced. To me, it was all green lights. It looked like it would be announced, but dealing with government funding and all those kinds of things, you never know until you know.

It was announced that it would move forward. Ultimately, a $1.5 billion project put us in a position where we knew we had to ramp up and increase the fundraising activity, which is something career-wise, I’ve been lucky that I’ve been at organizations where we’ve been able to grow fundraising significantly over that period of time. It’s what gets me excited about coming into organizations. I don’t want to see them stay static. It was a great opportunity for me to push forward and build some systems and teams to raise some more funds around here.

Your approach to building both the foundation and the role of philanthropy within the hospital community has been one of the hallmarks of your success over the last several years. Not just the foundation leader, but certainly the foundation leader raising more money and putting the campaign together. Particularly over the course of the pandemic, you’ve been pulled into what feels like hospital leadership-type roles in terms of managing programs at the hospital. How did you balance being part of the leadership team of the hospital with the important responsibilities of leading the hospital foundation and your team?

People around here would know I over say it, but anytime I’m speaking with doctors or other hospital staff, I’m constantly quoting Jerry Maguire and they always expect that I’m going to say, “Show me the money,” but I’m always saying, “Help me, help you.” I always think that the tighter that relationship we can have between the people delivering care and ourselves so that we can one, know what they need, and sometimes having that tight relationship, they know they need something and they don’t know what it is we can offer.

I’m going to have some conversations in the next couple of weeks with some of the folks. One of the big issues we have around the hospital, which is the same issue that everybody’s having in the world these days is the recruitment of new staff. Call them up and say, “Maybe we can do something within the foundation.”

In terms of your work and what you’ve done, the resources that sometimes we can bring to the table within a charitable foundation go so far beyond being able to bring checks to the table. In terms of the relationships, we can draw or the expertise that we can bring in or our ability to coordinate and bring communities together and move things forward.

We’re always looking for more creative ways that we can add value rather than writing a check. That means we have to go deep in terms of the relationship and sometimes that means we’re directly running something within the hospital or sometimes that means we’re doing something much more traditional than just writing a check. The balance is not something I find as any concern because I find it to be very integrated in the way that we do our work and the way we’ve been successful in doing our work, also viewing ourselves as an integral part of the hospital rather than an organization off to the side.

That’s a valuable insight there. Rather than focusing on finding the balance between an operational role in the institution and integrating philanthropy into the operational leadership of the organization, you’re probably going to be able to move the conversations you need to have internally along much more quickly.

I’m curious about you as CEO at Royal Columbian. As the structure dictates, you report to a board. Coming in as a CEO, you’d seen how board management had worked at St. Paul’s in years past and had some experience at Kwantlen. How did you approach building the relationship with the board when you first joined and how has that evolved over time?

One of the mistakes that I see leaders in the not-for-profit sector do is not to clearly delineate the relationship between the board and the CEO. Sometimes too much direction from the board and sometimes too little direction from the board. That’s always been important for me is having those conversations very early on with board members in terms of making sure everyone’s role is 100% clear. Everyone looks for that. It eases that relationship as they go forward.

Setting up long-term strategy or vision for the organization, that’s a role that the board comes in and then we have this interesting aspect wherein that visioning part, I’m ultimately reporting up to the board in those aspects, but then once we set that and we start building on our plans of what we’re going to do, a lot of times the board will be flipping over and they’ll become the servant volunteers to the organization in terms of carrying out some of those aspects. At that point, it’s my job to lead them.

Sometimes it’s their job to lead me and sometimes, it’s my job to lead them. It’s defining that relationship and making sure it’s clear for folks how that works that can make it effective. It’s also spending time. I’m wildly open with my boards. I’d encourage CEOs to build a relationship where they can be wildly open because you’re going to have 12, 14 or 16 people sitting around the table that is smarter than you in a bunch of areas that you’re not smart about.

As you’re facing these different challenges, there are probably 2 or 3 people that have faced it before and have better expertise in whatever area it is than you have. If you can show up in a humble way and say, “I don’t have the answer to this, but that’s why I’ve got advisors like you around the table. Let’s have that conversation.” There are current board members and frankly, there are past members that have reached out for those kinds of things. Sometimes I seem smart that it’s only because 4 or 5 people have given me the answer as opposed to me coming up with it myself.

We’ve identified many of the different rules that board members play in an organization. We talked about being the deciders, advisers and explorers looking at the issues outside of the organization that is going to impact the current and future state of the organization. The ambassadors are doing the work in the community and helping to raise the money that makes the organization go.

I want to underline something, you said it is so important to be clear about what you’re asking your board to do because if they don’t know, they’ll fill in the blanks and they may not fill them in, in exactly the way you had intended, and that’s where a lot of misalignments can start to show its head. For several years, you’ve done a very good job of working with your board. Looking back, is there something you did differently as an incoming CEO or in your early days that you’d take a different approach to now?

You caught me on one that I don’t have the immediate answer to.

People tend to spend more time focused on what they can improve rather than celebrating their success. Click To Tweet

I remember my first time as CEO, getting good from two very long-time CEOs in the Vancouver community, Sue Carruthers and Faye Wightman, who said, “Whatever you do, make sure you tell your board the bad news too.” I see this for fundraisers moving into the CEO role. Fundraisers should almost always be the ones moving into the CEO roles in our sector, but one of the challenges of that is we’re used to being the cheerleaders and the rallier in our organizations often. We want to share the best news possible to encourage people to feel good and ultimately make a gift.

As CEOs, we have to remind ourselves and remind our teams that we need to share the bad news too, because the board can’t give good advice if they don’t think we’re being straight with them. That causes a whole bunch of other problems or the board doesn’t know what the real problems are, so their advice doesn’t help at all because they’re not giving advice on what matters most to the organization.

It’s great advice that it goes up there. Now, that you’ve given me a second to think about it, that’s the mistake I’ve made and I’ve made it consistently across my career. I try to make sure I guard against it, but I do end up going into board relationships or running organizations with an expectation that success will be achieved. Frankly, when success is achieved, my reaction to it will often be, “We’ve achieved it,” as opposed to highlighting it more.

Sometimes that drives me to spend more time focused on what we can improve rather than celebrating its success. I do a better job later in my career than I did early in my career. Frankly, I would’ve made sure to have a better balance working with boards earlier on and talking as much about the successes and things that we wanted to focus on to improve.

It’s an unspoken rule or not spoken enough rule that one of the important things, when you’re dealing with boards in our sector is they’re volunteers. Volunteers want to know that they’re making a difference and making a contribution. If we said, “We were going to raise X amount. We’re going to finish this campaign, and now we’ve finished it, now onto the next thing.” It robs them of joy. As professionals, we get to experience the joy on a day-to-day basis and don’t need the crescendo or don’t need the big party, often because we have to plan the party ourselves. For volunteers, we need to make sure that they have the chance to celebrate and pat themselves on the back.

It’s wonderful advice and something to look for all the time. It was a smaller not-for-profit group that asked me to come in and talk about governance and board management. That was one of my things. You got to remember volunteers come there for a variety of things. One of those things is to have a good time. It can’t be all about getting all the business stuff. You have to sometimes make sure you’re building in that experience. It’s in those moments where you’re giving advice to somewhere else where you go, “I need to do that myself more often,” then you move forward with it.

People want to enjoy it. The irony is when we often see. It’s become a particular curse of the pandemic, Zoom governance, infrastructure and a lot of organizations are using or everyone’s been using. You invite people and they say, “We want your advice, insight and counsel to help us make our organization successful. Come on our board. Sit on these Zoom calls every couple of months. We’re going to pound you with PowerPoint presentations and acronyms that you don’t understand that we hope you’ll figure out by the end of the 1st or 2nd year. We’re then going to ask you to help us fundraise.” Management and leaders often go, “I can’t figure out why my board is not engaged.”

I said, “It’s because you’re doing violence to them by pounding them with PowerPoint rather than engaging them with the purpose of the organization.” That engagement with purpose has been harder through the pandemic, but there are organizations and CEOs that have nailed it and some that have doubled down on, “I don’t know if you can read this Excel spreadsheet, the print is pretty small.” By the way, if you ever hear yourself saying that to your board, you’re off the path. You’ve gone too far.

Coming back to what you were saying, giving them the chance to have fun and enjoy the purpose that they’re there to support goes a long way. Speaking of purpose, I want to pivot now because one of the remarkable things that have happened at Royal Columbian is that you’ve had a precious little turnover in your team over the last couple of years. I had told a couple of people that we were going to be doing this interview and they said, “Ask Jeff how he manages to hold on to all of his staff.” Jeff, how have you managed to hold onto your staff and keep the core team together through this pandemic?

It’s one of those things you can’t take full responsibility for in any way, shape or form. In many ways, the staff hold onto each other, which is that team aspect. People enjoy working with the people they work with and enjoy working in the environment. We do an annual engagement study and it’s quite fascinating. The last time we did it, 95% of the folks coming through the survey had one idea. Their top motivator for doing their work was wanting to have a greater impact on the world. They were coming with that very purposeful alignment with doing not-for-profit work. That’s been consistent for us for a few years.

It’s something that we’re always trying to do and we can always keep improving it and making sure that we are exposing people in the organization from top to bottom to the impact that they’re having. Hopefully, these things will start again. That meant bringing people up and giving them an opportunity to spend a lot of time working directly in the hospital environment.

We’re a major teaching site, so we’ve got the opportunities for people to come through and learn about surgeries or go into other areas. If you can’t get excited about going up and seeing what an open-heart surgery looks like and the impact it has, then go back to work with like, “I’ve got a pretty important job here.” Those kinds of motivations are huge. I’ll go in and shadow in the emergency room overnight. I’ll get a better sense and give that opportunity for other staff to do those kinds of things where they can go deep and understand what’s going on for the organization, which gives them a good impact on their work.

That’s one aspect that’s been important, certainly, as a style of organization in terms of the culture of the organization that it starts with a high level of trust. The people who are experts in their areas know the work that they’re doing. They certainly have managers and people in the organization like myself that are there to help guide them and find the right steps as they go forward in terms of how they work. There isn’t an oppressive culture where things are dictated to them.

I’ve always viewed organizations like ours and other not-for-profit organizations that there’s a giant buffet table of things that need to be done. A bunch of those things on that table are equally important and we’re not going to be able to do them all. I love it when I’m sitting down and I see a new staff member or someone that’s been here for a while. They go, “I’m interested in doing that.” We go, “Great. Go do that. We’re going to support you to do that and go forward.”

The other thing that we say around the organization is, “If I’ve got an idea that I think it’s 10 out of 10 and you’ve got an idea that’s a 9 out of 10, I’ll always let you do your idea that’s 9 out of 10 because it’s your idea. You’re going to be passionate about it and be able to move it forward.” All of those things only work when you have incredible people working for you that you can let people run with things with a safety net to help them out if they’re falling into trouble. We’ve had good people that have run with that. We want to keep encouraging that going forward.

It makes my life so much easier than we’ve had people stay with the organization for as long as they have and retain. We’ll keep trying to constantly figure out the next step of making sure that we can do that even more so. The conversation I’ll have with folks around our organization all the time is their career has sometimes had to take them to other places. If they leave for the right reasons, I’m so happy for them. I want to see that. I want to see them go to the next position that makes sense for them to go to and if we can offer it in our organization, I’m going to support them in terms of making that next step, but that’s the way we look at it.

The pandemic has made it harder to create engagements with a personal purpose. Click To Tweet

I can understand why it’s worked. You’re thinking behind it and building that culture and keeping that focus on the individual contributions of team members, giving them the space to make those contributions and keeping the purpose of the organization right at the forefront. That is impressive stuff. As we come to the end of our conversation, you’re someone who’s very involved in the sector. You’ve been very involved in the CFRE designation and encouraging people to get their CFREs. Looking at the sector in general, as we’re coming out of this pandemic, if you had a magic wand, what’s one thing you would change about the social profit sector and why?

I would change the shared understanding of how the social sector works amongst our donor community. One of the most interesting tensions that I find in terms of running an organization is that in this generalization, our annual donors come with an expectation that everyone should be a volunteer and there should be no infrastructure in the organization where they’re making a smaller donation.

Our major donors come with an expectation that the organization should be highly professionally run with MBAs, lawyers, accountants and people that are making great protection of their investment to make sure that it’s put into the organization the right way. Sometimes almost this dynamic tension between two donor groups that have very different expectations of how the sector should be run or how organizations should be run.

If I could wave a magic wand, I’d certainly bring alignment between the two to make sure that there is some better understanding across all donor communities. What’s practical for the organizations we run? What’s going to be effective for them to move forward? That the right questions are being asked about whether organizations are meeting their ethical standards of running as effectively as they can. Quite often, the wrong questions are being asked. Sometimes it’s so much focused on cost per dollar raised rather than the impact the organization is having. If we could shift that conversation, that’s something that would be very important.

There’s a lot of great work to be done there. Thank you for highlighting that. One last question is, what are you looking forward to in 2022?

We’re not far away from our organization and the opening of the new acute-care tower at the hospital. It’s a billion-dollar project, as I alluded to earlier in the interview. The very first drawings of it were several years ago. There have been people that have worked on that forever. I’ve worked on it for a few years, but the time it opens up, that’ll be several years. The idea of seeing this physical manifestation of people’s hard work and what it represents and being able to provide top-notch healthcare to the folks at BC, that’s going to be a pretty exciting moment for so many people.

Whether it’s the supporters, the donors who came forward, the board members and campaign volunteers that we’ve had over the years, or the folks working in the hospital who put so much effort into planning and getting this thing built, that’s a pretty obvious milestone that’s coming up in a couple of years for us.

You, your team, the hospital, and all of your donors are going to be there together to celebrate it when it finally opens. That’ll be a special moment.

Thanks, Doug, for having me. I appreciate the opportunity to chat with you.

Important links

About Jeff Norris

Experienced Chief Executive Officer with a demonstrated history of working in the hospital & health care and Education. Skilled in Nonprofit Organizations, Coaching, Governance, Fundraising, Volunteer Management, and Team Building.

Leave a Reply