Wayman Crosby, SVP Vancouver
Meet Wayman Crosby, a passionate philanthropist, community leader, and SVP Vancouver member. As Founding Executive Director and Board Chair of Urban Promise Vancouver, an organization using after-school programs to empower inner-city youth, Wayman has seen firsthand the transformative impact of investing in children’s potential. He currently serves as Executive Director of Family Giving for the Nicola Wealth Group, where he helps cultivate a culture of engagement and giving.
What brought you to SVP?
I heard about SVP through a colleague and friend who was actively involved with SVP. I was interested in learning more about SVP’s approach to due diligence, charitable impact, collaborative funding, leveraging resources, and their focus on children and capacity building.
What inspires your approach to philanthropy?
Initially, it was a faith-based “love your neighbor as yourself” mindset. The benefits I’ve seen have enlarged my heart, like being inspired by the resilience and stories of those most impacted by poverty and the long-term, generational changes a helping hand can make. I’m particularly drawn to programs that support single moms and children’s programs that prepare them for life. Seeing how even a small investment in a child’s potential can put them on the path out of poverty motivates me.
Can you share an experience that shows the power of collective philanthropic action?
I have a vision for collective action both domestically and internationally – traveling with a charitable purpose, not just for pleasure. For example, years ago, a college student living with us who had served with Urban Promise in Camden, NJ, shared that they might have to close a leadership program for lack of funds. I knew that program, having helped start Urban Promise chapters in Vancouver and Toronto. I phoned three friends, asked if they’d fly to Camden on their own dime, and if they liked what they saw, write a $10K check. We flew out, toured the program, and heard the impact stories firsthand. My friends were so inspired that each wrote a check so the program could continue transforming lives. That showed me the power of getting fellow philanthropists directly exposed to the work.
Why does SVP’s focus on children and youth resonate with you?
From age 16 to 23, I worked at summer camps and saw the most significant impact from engaging younger kids rather than waiting until later. As Founding ED and Board Chair of Urban Promise Vancouver, our after-school programs transformed inner-city children’s lives.
What does SVP’s trust-based philanthropy model mean to you?
It means trusting the organizations’ leadership as good stewards and avoiding restricting dollars to specific projects or directions. We work to empower their vision for impact, encouraging them with unrestricted, multi-year commitments.
For example, with an organization like Urban Promise, we could have been prescriptive with funding by saying, “This money has to go to the street leader program.” Instead, we trusted their leadership to allocate resources where they were most needed. That enabled them to iterate, take risks, and build capacity in program areas that may not have appealed to donors but were critical.
Trust-based philanthropy is about developing a true partnership with organizations, listening to their challenges, and granting unrestricted support. When funders control the purse strings too tightly, it constrains nonprofit creativity and resilience. I’m inspired to help unleash more potential through flexible, trust-based funding.