Our Why We Give series spotlights our supporters and why they give to our non-profit organization.
Why We Give: Vancity and Christine Bergeron
Ten years ago, Vancity (a credit union that invests 30% of profits back into communities) announced its founding partnership for Reconciliation Canada, an Indigenous-led organization that catalyses meaningful relationships through values-based dialogue, leadership and action.
“Our vision is a transformed economy that protects the earth and guarantees equity for all,” says Vancity’s President & CEO Christine Bergeron. “Reconciliation is a core value for Vancity and an important part of this vision.”
Since then, Vancity has provided $5.9 million in grants and more than $70 million in financing to projects with positive impact on Indigenous organizations and communities.
Their role at Science World as Presenting Partner of Sacred Journey is a part of that investment.
This immersive exhibition, produced by the Heiltsuk Tribal Council, SeeQuest Development and Greencoast Media, showcases the resurgence of Northwest Coast canoe cultures. Indigenous peoples can visit Sacred Journey for free at Science World.
“Reconciliation requires us to understand that change is possible,” says Christine. “And Science World helps people achieve that mindset. It shows us how to dream big and bold while staying rooted in reality to identify real-life solutions.”
“I grew up in a household where gender didn’t matter so, no matter your interest, you could explore it,” Christine says.
With a father as an electrical engineer and a mother as a physiotherapist, her interest in science was nurtured from an early age.
She recalls competing in a Canada-wide science fair in Grade 7 for a project on colour blindness, drawn to the topic because her father is colour blind. "I was curious to better understand how he saw the world.”
This experience helped Christine overcome a shyness and introduced her to the amazing diversity of people across this country.
She later earned B.A. in sociology and MBA in Strategic Management. The first stage of her career as a venture capitalist led to a transformative shift in her understanding of business and the world.
"I realized something fundamental was missing,” she says. “In all that incredible churn of talent, brains, energy and money, the most important global problems were basically ignored.”
Her work in micro finance revealed the links between our social and environmental challenges. “I realized how important it was to think about problems like climate change and inequality at a system level and to see them as interconnected.”
This understanding brought her to Vancity, Canada’s largest credit union.
“We’re committed to advancing systemic change,” she says. “Our support of Sacred Journey is part of our ongoing Reconciliation journey as well as an investment in the well-being and resilience of our communities. This exhibition helps people come together and be stronger, better informed, and more open and understanding of others.”