Getting to know Take a Hike Foundation CEO Gordon Matchett
Take a Hike Foundation (TAH) uses the outdoors and adventure to engage vulnerable youth in grades 10-12 in school, community, and mental health supports. This unique and innovative non-profit has been an SVP Investee twice – once from 2004 to 2007 and again in 2017 with an SVP Scaling Grant.
We caught up with Take a Hike’s CEO, Gordon Matchett, to learn more about his personal journey, the journey of Take a Hike, and how SVP has been able to come alongside with support.
Tell us a little bit about your career and education background
I’ve had a career with a lot of variety in the non-profit and corporate sectors. Previous roles in the non-profit sector include managing an outdoor education center for the YWCA of Edmonton, being the Executive Director for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Alberta, and working as the Business Development Manager for the Dalai Lama Center. I’ve also worked as a financial advisor, travelled extensively, and spent two years living in an ashram in the Kootenays.
Education-wise, I have undergraduate degrees in outdoor recreation and science, and an MBA.
What inspires you to make a difference in the world?
I’ve leaned on community to get me through some really tough times. It’s important to me to stay in this circle of generosity.
What (or who) brought SVP Vancouver to your attention?
Take a Hike has been part of the SVP family since 2004. In 2017 when Norm Francis, a long-time advocate of Take a Hike, heard about our scaling ambitions he suggested we might want to come back into the fold and apply for a scaling grant. We’re so happy he suggested it. Norm’s suggestion goes to show the power of Partner stewardship.
What is your favourite thing about working with SVP?
The larger community of support, hands down. I really enjoy working with the Partners, other Investees, and staff. Whenever I need something, it seems like the SVP network is able to help out.
What is something significant that has happened in your organization since you’ve been working with SVP?
Our SVP Scaling Grant ($150,000) has helped us to articulate our theory of change, collect an evidence base for our program, and put into place tools to measure our impact on students. This has helped us generate awareness in the education community and resulted in conversations with half of the school districts in BC regarding the possibility offering Take a Hike in their communities. In addition, we received an initial $150,000 grant from the Ministry of Education. The feedback from several government ministries is that Take a Hike has become much more sophisticated in the last year – thanks for the leg-up, SVP!