Family social services agency that started with $25 donated car celebrates its 90th anniversary
Family Services of Greater Vancouver grew and evolved with the socio-economic shifts of the city
Ninety years ago this week, Family Services of Greater Vancouver was launched with a start-up fund of $25, pulled together from the sale of a donated second-hand car and just one caseworker.
Back then, in 1928, the non-profit's main focus was on family breakdowns, marital problems and domestic violence — all issues that continue today but were viewed very differently then.
"They weren't talked about. They happened in the shadows," said current CEO Karin Kirkpatrick.
Marriage counselling, one of the key services offered by the organization in its early years, was significantly different in the first half of the century.
"The wife would come in and you would have a conversation about all the things she could do differently to make that marriage work," Kirkpatrick said. "It's a very different process now."
The services offered and mandates followed have also evolved over the years to reflect the socio-economic shifts of the city, Kirkpatrick told CBC Early Edition host Stephen Quinn.
FSGV now runs 90 social services programs from parenting classes and foster family support to low-barrier youth homes and trauma and victim counselling.
"It's hard for us to articulate the work that we do because it's not focused on just one area," Kirkpatrick said. "That's one of the reasons why many people haven't actually heard of the organization."
Operating out of the public spotlight makes it harder for the non-profit organization to attract donations, she said.
"We spend a lot of time worrying about funding," she said. "The problem with not having high profile in terms of our name is that it is hard to attract donors."
Kirkpatrick said she hopes the organization's 90th anniversary will provide a chance to draw attention to the work it does and attract more support from the community.
With files from The Early Edition.