Our very own Vice President of Leadership Giving, Candice Tsang has been honoured with a 2018 Giving Hearts Award for Outstanding Professional Fundraiser from the Greater Vancouver Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP).

Candice is truly a game-changer. With a big heart and an even bigger smile she has changed the face of health care philanthropy in Vancouver and beyond.

“I am humbled by this incredible recognition,” says Candice. “I want to thank all my mentors – the dedicated volunteers and philanthropists and my esteemed colleagues in the industry; throughout the years, they’ve taught me so much and they enriched my life!”

Born in Guangzhou, China, Candice started her professional career in radio broadcasting and public relations in Hong Kong where her natural intuition and ability to connect with people served her well. In November 1985, Candice emigrated to Vancouver when her husband transferred to become the Editor-in-Chief of Sing Tao newspaper.

At that time, Candice was mother to two young children so she sought out a volunteer role at S.U.C.C.E.S.S. It did not take them long to recognize the potential that her skills and expertise could bring, and they soon convinced her to be their first fundraiser.

Within that first year she doubled and then tripled the fundraising income from the annual Walk with the Dragon and S.U.C.C.E.S.S.’s annual Gala.

In 1994 Candice became Manager of the Multicultural Program at BC Children’s Hospital Foundation. She saw the potential and opportunity to connect the Chinese community with the philanthropic community in Vancouver.

By engaging the Chinese-Canadian community, which at that time was an untapped donor community, Candice made a transformational impact on major giving in health care.

“Over the years,” says Candice. “I have always been questioned by people Why do we need to have an Asian strategy? Are we creating segregation? My answer has been, we are being donor centric. As fundraising professionals, we are so privileged to have opportunities to work with donors from all walks of life and all backgrounds. Having an Asian strategy helps us be able to provide platforms to meet donors’ philanthropic objectives. It’s all about relationship building and creating joy for our donors and volunteers.”

After 20 years with BC Children’s Hospital Foundation, Candice had an opportunity to once again be hired by the same woman: Barbara Grantham, CEO of VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation

“I first hired Candice in 1994 when I was a team leader at BC Children’s Hospital Foundation,” says Barbara. “She changed the organization for the better, opening our eyes to the talents and abilities of new Canadians and giving us, as a Foundation, opportunities to learn from and engage new citizens in the conversation about health care philanthropy. I had the same great fortune 20 years later, when Candice joined our team at VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation. All along the way, Candice has given her time, her talents and her passion for making her chosen home of Vancouver a better place to live.”

Under Candice’s leadership, VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation has increased the number of Chinese speaking staff to exponentially facilitate donor engagement, cultivation and stewardship. Candice’s other achievements at VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation include:

  • Raising nearly $40 million for health care transformation in BC, including cultivating and stewarding hundreds of donors.
  • Creating the Time to Shine gala, an Asia-Pacific-focused event that has raised over $10 million in only four years.

“As a fundraiser, I’ve learned that it is not about how important I think my cause is,” says Candice. “It is about my donors and volunteers’ philanthropic vision and passion. It is about the joy of giving for them. When they feel the joy, they have no problem asking me what can we do next?

The entire team at VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation would like to congratulate Candice Tsang on a remarkable career and a well-deserved honour.