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Getting to know Tracey Friesen (Partner since 2016)

Tracey joined SVP in November 2016, and in that short time has provided consultation with an Investee, participated in an aspiring non-profit exploration visit, contributed to several Opportunities Committee meetings, and attended SVP social events. You could say she’s jumped in with both feet, and we’re thrilled! Her communications and media background fills a much needed space in our Partner skills pool and we’re looking forward to applying her incredible knowledge to help fulfill Investee needs.

Tell us a little bit about you… 

I’ve just joined the David Suzuki Foundation as Director of Communications & Engagement. I look forward to contributing to a team focused on biodiversity, climate solutions and our legal right to a healthy environment. Last year I published a book with Routledge/Focal Press called Story Money Impact: Funding Media for Social Change. I was also the first employee at Roundhouse Radio 98.3 Vancouver, a commercial station with a community focus. As Director of Programming, I worked closely with the CEO during the start-up phase through its launch. Prior to Roundhouse, I was the executive producer of the National Film Board’s Vancouver Studio, producing documentaries and digital projects with independent creators. It all adds up to the same thing: leveraging the power of media to affect positive change.

How were you introduced to SVP? 

I became exposed to Social Venture Partners when doing research on impact funding models and the philanthropic space. Then I met Dara in a professional context and had the chance to learn more about the great work SVP does in this city and beyond. I love the mix of the financial contributions to the Investees, along with the volunteer labour and pro-bono services offered by the Partners. It’s not only about writing a cheque but about rolling your sleeves up and getting involved.

What inspires you to make a difference?

I’ve been lucky in my life, blessed even, with good health, a close family, a stable community and a rewarding vocation. Abundance ought to be shared. I appreciate that we all face challenging environmental and social issues, but especially our young people. I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with others toward a better world on their behalf.

What social issue are you most passionate about?

In my work and personal life, I’ve had the chance to explore a number of compelling issues, and find I’m most driven about the environment. I’ve also volunteered around gender equity and feel strongly about disability and indigenous rights, but in my view a healthy and sustainable planet needs to be the foundation on which all social activism rests.

What do you think is the biggest barrier to creating social change?

I believe people are overwhelmed. The stories have been doomsday for so long, individuals just don’t feel they alone can make a difference. Our role now as activists, volunteers and storytellers is to paint a positive vision of the future. Deep empathetic listening – even to those on the ‘other side’ – and a solutions orientation, are more motivating.

What has your SVP experience been like so far?

I’ve been impressed with how open, generous and fun everyone has been.  Whether the staff, the Partners, or the Investees I’ve had a chance to meet so far. Honestly, it’s just people coming together to offer what they can, maximizing each other’s strengths, pooling resources, learning from one another – all in name of Vancouver’s children and youth. Perfect.