Vancouver Foundation aims to spark community conversation with On the Table

Events are scheduled throughout the city and across the province Sept. 13

To mark its 75th anniversary in the community, the Vancouver Foundation is launching a new initiative aimed at fostering community connections.

On Sept. 13, volunteer hosts around Vancouver and across the province will open their doors and gather in living rooms and board rooms, backyards and lunch rooms, public places and community spaces to talk with friends, family, colleagues and, in some cases, strangers about issues important to them for On the Table.

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The results of those conversations will be collected by the Vancouver Foundation and shared with the public.

The inspiration for creating a series of community conversations came out of the foundation’s 2017 report “Connect and Engage.” In it, a survey of more than 4,000 people revealed a surprising number of Metro Vancouver residents feel isolated in their community. One-third of those between 25 and 34 said they felt “alone more than they would like.” And another third said they have trouble making friends. The study also found that the loneliest also reported being in poorer health and lacking trust in others.

The survey results sparked the idea that the foundation’s diamond anniversary celebrations should be about something more meaningful than a party.

“We know there’s no quick fix to cure loneliness,” said Vancouver Foundation CEO Kevin McCort. “But we want to do our part by inviting people to come together, meet one another, and talk about the things that matter most to them. That’s what On the Table is all about.”

More than 230 hosts, including individuals and organizations, have already signed up to host On the Table events. Hosts include big community organizations and small neighbourhood groups, artists and musicians, fall fairs and cultural festivals, local restaurants, small businesses, educational institutions and everyday people who just want to make a connection.

“Being community-inspired is key to who we are at Vancouver Foundation,” McCort said. “That means listening to community and responding to what they care about.

“But we’ve never before given B.C. such a wide-open invitation to tell us anything and everything that’s on their minds,” he said.

The Courier is hosting an On the Table event Thursday, Sept. 13 from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m. at 303 West Fifth Ave. with the theme “Why Local Newspapers Matter.” Come enjoy refreshments and conversation with some of our editorial staff and let us know what you look for in a newspaper.

Those interested in attending the Courier’s On the Table event are asked to RSVP to mbhatti@vancourier.com or 604-630-3503.

For more information, or to sign up as a host, visit www.onthetableBC.ca.

@JessicaEKerr

jkerr@vancourier.com

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