Changemakers Vancouver is a network of people who want to learn, share, and act so to make the world a better place. We believe in connection, collaboration, and creativity.

Vancouver Crossroads conference May 5th

Vancouver aerial photo by Gord McKenna via Flickr

Evening Panel: May 4th, 7pm–9:15pm at TELUS World of Science
Conference day: May 5th, 9am–4:30pm at the Croatian Cultural Centre


Vancouver is facing crises on multiple fronts – sky-high rents, the overdose crisis, homelessness, social isolation, rising sea levels – and the community is fragmented on solutions. Our city is at a crossroads, and the best path forward will be chosen together.

Saturday, May 5, community members from across Vancouver will gather for the entire day to build relationships with one another, share their hopes for the future of their city, and collaborate to outline plans for making that future a reality.

More information

Photo: Gord McKenna via Flickr

SVI Vancouver Party

Crowd at the Fluevog store

Thursday April 19, 8:30–11pm
Gastown Fluevog Store, 65 Water St

Welcome ALL. Bring a friend or two to connect with this powerful gathering of Vancouver’s growing social entrepreneur and innovative leaders, as we unite to build a better world. This party is in celebration of our SVI Vancouver 2018 Conference and is open to conference attendees, SVI Alumni and all who are SVI curious.

Your ticket includes one drink ticket and light snacks from Railtown Catering.

And do come ready to buy shoes! Half of all profits on shoe sales for the evening will be donated by John and Ruth Fluevog to the Hollyhock Scholarship Fund.

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Changemakers Summer Potluck

Social change is hard work — let’s pause and share a meal together to celebrate our strength in diversity.

We’re honoured to invite you to the 2cd Annual Changemaker Summer Potluck!

There’s a lot going on in the world these days — from Trump winning the election in the US to the elections in Europe, and also the closeness of our provincial elections recently — what’s happening!? Who are we? Where did we come from and where do we want to go? As Canada marks 150 this year, we must reflect on this and think about so many things including Truth and Reconciliation and how do we want to honour and support one another. We know that strength comes from our diversity and learning our collective stories. We hope that love and unity can be brought back and healing does happen. As a first step on this journey, why not share a meal and get to know one another’s stories?

Join us on June 20th (summer solstice) for our Changemakers Summer Potluck #CMPotluck in Stanley Park — we can eat, learn and play together. All are welcome, your colleagues, friends and family — let’s eat and find solidarity and strength in our numbers and diversity. At our 1st annual potluck, we had over 160 potluckers and ~15 partners — we wonder who will join us this year?


(In)secure: Future of Working, May 25

The Future of Work poster

Changemakers Vancouver is pleased to be a community sponsor of The Tyee’s upcoming (In)secure: Future of Working event on May 25 in Vancouver. Please join us for an engaging night of storytelling and dialogue with people working, studying, advocating, and just dealing with the changing nature of working in Canada.

Thurs, May 25 at Djavad Mowafaghian Cinema
149 West Hastings Street
Social: 6pm in the World Arts Centre
Talk: 7-9pm
Tickets: $10 (early bird)/$15 general admission. $5 (early bird)/$7.50 for students and seniors
More info

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Urban Worker Skillshare Series: April 8

Skill Share banner

More and more of us are working freelance or on contract. That means we need to figure out how to do all kinds of stuff by ourselves: taxes, setting our rates, writing contracts, invoicing and making sure we get paid on time, and what we can do when we don’t. And then we have to be our own advocates because policy has not kept pace with the new reality of work today. We don’t have access to benefits or protections like EI. The list is endless. And kind of overwhelming, no? We think so too. That’s why we partnered with the Urban Worker Project to bring you the Urban Worker Skillshare Vancouver.

Saturday April 8th from 10am–6pm
Creative Coworkers

Unit B1/buzz #010, 343 Railway St, Vancouver

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Can’t make it for the daytime event? That’s cool. We’re having an after party too at Vancouver Mural Fest HQ (207-877 East Hastings) hosted by GenWhyMedia. Tickets/more info!

The Planet in your Portfolio

Clean energy is the future — but will we get there fast enough? We as individuals can do our part by reducing our consumption, maybe even putting solar on our roofs. But we’ve been largely excluded from utilizing one of the most powerful tools we have in our arsenals — our investment portfolio.

CoPower is on a mission to move millions for climate change by empowering everyday Canadians to invest in clean energy projects for both profit and planet. Find out how this innovative green investment platform is partnering with Canada’s largest Credit Union to accelerate this vision, and how you can be a part of it.

Join us for a panel conversation and light refreshments at SAP from 5:30-6:30. Cocktails and snacks to follow next door at Yaletown Brew Pub!


Trish Nixon, Director of Investments at CoPower Inc
Christine Bergeron, Vice President of Impact Investing, Wealth Management and Community Real Estate at Vancity Credit Union

Moderated by:

Christie Stephenson, ‎Executive Director at The Peter P. Dhillon Centre for Business Ethics, UBC Sauder Business School

Tues Mar 7 2017, 5:30pm
Executive Briefing Center, SAP Labs Vancouver
910 Mainland Street, Vancouver
Use our promo code changebocperk to enjoy a discount!


Who Needs Canada? Canada’s Role in the World

Are you concerned about current events happening to the south and around the globe? Do you wonder how Canadians will be affected? Do you think Canada has an increasingly important role to play in the world? More than ever, we need courageous Canadians to define who we are, globally. That means you.

Join us on February 27 for the launch of the 2017 SFU Public Square Community Summit, Who Needs Canada? and get the straight goods from our diverse, experienced, and knowledgeable speakers and share your thoughts, as together we can push for the Canada we believe is possible.


Roland Paris, University Research Chair in International Security and Governance, University of Ottawa and former Senior Advisor on Global Affairs and Defence to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Sheila Watt-Cloutier, Canadian Inuit activist and author, advisor to Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission, former International Chair for the Inuit Circumpolar Council, and nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Senator Yuen Pau Woo, former President of HQ Vancouver, former President and CEO of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, and Senior Resident Fellow at the Beedie School of Business, Simon Fraser University.

Shuvaloy Majumdar, former senior policy advisor on international security and the global economy to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his cabinet, Munk Senior Fellow with the Macdonald-Laurier Institute and writer at the Huffington Post.

Moderated by Laura Lynch, award winning CBC News correspondent.

What do you think? Does the world need more Canada?

Monday, Feb 27, 7–9pm
Vancouver Playhouse, 600 Hamilton Street

Use our promo code SFUFRIENDS for a discount!


3rd Annual Sparkle Party: A Holiday Soiree for Changemakers

Sparkle Party banner

For the third year in a row, Transformation Projects is stoked to bring together some of Vancouver’s most celebrated game-changers, solution-seekers, change-makers, truth-speakers, art-makers and justice-keepers under one giant umbrella of celebration, snacks, tea, art, dance and friends. Come in your sparkliest!

Friday, December 9th, 9pm–2am
The Beaumont Studios

326 W 5th Ave (Corner of 5th / Alberta St)
Unceded Coast Sailish Territory, Vancouver, BC

Tickets $21 with promo code Changesparkle; $16 for Elders.

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WHO IS WELCOME? Genderqueer folk, indigenous folk, elder folk, people of colour folk, young folk, queer folk, trans folk, gay folk, straight folk, cis-gender folk, new immigrant folk, introvert folk, and exuberant folk.

To All the Folks: We made this party for you.

DRESS: Sparkly! ie. whatever makes you feel FAB·U·LOUS.

FOOD: Your Ticket includes: Veggie pot-pies, cheese plates, + savoury snacks by Alex Atchem.

This building will host the friendliest and funkiest dance floor started off by by DJ Anjoli w/ Divinity DJ’s, followed by A Mystery Live Act and topped off by DJ Blenda + Lighthead who will are recreating a Vintage MuchMusic Dance party starting at Midnight. Upstairs will be a Gong Fu Cha Tea Tasting lounge hosted by local Teajay: Luke Moloney as well as: Coffee-Leaf Tea by Wise Monkey and Matcha Tea by Let’s Matcha. And back by popular demand: Tarot by Heidi of the Hammock Residency. Annnnnddddd a rad Photobooth by Michael Hall (cause you dressed up, and deserve some evidence!)

A New Friendship Generator Environment (patent pending): Featuring “actually connecting with folks” powered by very tasty food made by Alex Atchem, very groovy and sublimely chill tunes by GROUNDWERK DJ’s and vibey lighting by Nick’s Vintage Lamp Collection.

11PM-2AM SaunaBus Environment: Hosted by BC Mobile Sauna Society. Towel rentals avail, tea is served. Sauna: A respectful, safe, quiet, happy cozy warm space for you and your crew as you traverse the party-scape.

ORGANIZATIONS PARTYING TOGETHER (so far): CityStudio, Changemakers Nite Out, Groundswell Grassroots Economic Alternatives, Social Venture Institute Hollyhock, HIVE: Sweet Social Impact, Junxion Strategy, RADIUS Social Innovation Lab, Creative Coworkers Studio, Arbutus Medical, SHIFT Delivery, New/Mode, Uproot, Gen Why Media, Futureprenur, Board of Change, Modus, and yours? ASK:

ACCESSIBILITY: Gender-diverse accessible washrooms. The West Building now has wheelchair accessible washrooms on the ground floor. Do not hesitate to contact us with any further questions on accessibility:

TRANSIT: The Beaumont Studio is 2 blocks from the Olympic Village SkyTrain Station (stop 980).

CONTACT: Adrian Sinclair or Andrea Curtis: // 778.837.8889

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Save $4 with promo code Changesparkle

Changemaker Spotlight: Eli van der Giessen

Eli strives to be a connector — the interstitial tissue that holds the muscle of a community together. He’s been a volunteer manager, an event organizer and a digital campaigner. Basically he’ll take any gig that allows him to enable a group of passionate people to create things they love.

Currently he’s the NetSquared Community Manager supporting a global volunteer network of 50 monthly meetups for the nonprofit technology sector. Together they hold over 450 events per year.

What precipitated you organizing unconferences? Why even do one in the first place? What didn’t you find in a standard conference?

I started planning unconferences because real conferences suck!

The common refrain you hear from conference attendees is “the most valuable moment was the unplanned conversation in the hall between sessions.” The unconference movement takes that insight and turns your entire event into a series of serendipitous moments. By throwing out a formal agenda and predefined “experts” we flip the power dynamic of most conferences. We know that the smartest person on any topic is never onstage — but your secret geniuses are often introverts, minorities, women, or others who are less likely to be invited to present. When we remove the formality of the standard conference format and invite people to share ideas as equals an amazing flowering of new insights and relationships emerge.

Another huge benefit is that everyone is invited (nay, expected!) to participate. In our digital age the unconference format gets people to close their laptops, put away their phones, and engage.

Describe an unconference you’ve organized — it can be your first one or one that you’re most proud of. What happened? Who attended? What did you expect? What was the outcome? Feel free to share one or many stories here.

My first unconference (and the first I attended) was Vancouver Changecamp. Our goal was to help renew the relationships among citizens and government. We worked to create connections, knowledge, tools and policies to drive transparency, civic engagement and democratic empowerment.

But I didn’t believe anyone would show up for something with such squishy goals. Luckily I was super wrong. We had several hundred attendees including civic groups, neighbourhood houses, government staffers, seniors groups, and more. There was an amazing productive energy in the room as groups that normally clashed with their different interests and strategy came together to discuss their common interests and vision for their city. Normally environmentalists and city staffers are battling with each other, but for one day they came together to talk about a shared vision.

I was hooked, and I’ve organized an unconference every year since.

I’m often asked about the impact of the unconferences. What came from all that work? And the honest answer is that I don’t know. In the space of an unconference all we’re really doing is creating a space where unlikely allies can come together and start building a relationship that may turn into something amazing later. I’ll often hear from someone three years later about the job they found, or the project they created, or the new career direction that emerged from their experience at an unconference. To me, that’s the real goal of the unconference – to create the conditions for the next amazing project or life transformation.

What are Eli’s spicy tips on organizing an unconference? How do you come up with the burning question, theme and potential speakers? What other prep work is useful in putting on an unconference?

Here the truth: don’t overthink it. Your attendees are going to ignore all your specific instructions anyways. They’ll talk about what they want to talk about.

I recommend unconference planners be very open with your theme and questions. If there’s a question between specificity or broadness always lean towards opening up the question space. Instead, your prep should focus on getting a diverse mix of attendees and working with a couple ringers to seed some interesting discussion topics that model what a pitch session could look like.

What’s the best gathering you’ve attended and why?

The best gathering I’ve attended by far is the Edmonton Folk Music Fest. It isn’t an unconference — it’s a music festival. But it shares a spirit with an unconference in that it’s all about creating the space for relationship building and fostering collective creativity.

The music programming is done by a small team of producers, but the event itself is planned and run by over 2,000 volunteers, dwarfing the team of 10 who are paid staff. The volunteers come together to build something for themselves, and for their community. Edmonton Folk Fest volunteers build their own fully functioning community. Crews come together to build the festival site, cook the meals, direct traffic, run the sound and lights, and fill every other responsibility needed to host 20,000 attendees each year. The experience of coming together to create a gift for their fellow Edmontonians is so meaningful to the volunteers that many volunteers travel from other countries, contribute 100+ hours of time, and then don’t even attend the festival itself. Creating the event is the reward in itself.

If you could look into a crystal ball, what would the future look like for events and / or gatherings?

Getting face to face is magic – nothing can replace it. But the next big challenge is to blend the in-person and the online. How can we make our events inviting to virtual attendees and provide genuine opportunities for engagement. Broadcasting is now getting easier with new technology like Periscope, but the old skills of facilitation will continue to be vital to make all voices heard.

What’s the best way to capture the energy of the room at an unconference and also capture the energy, ideas or discussion post-event (including the outcomes)?

Graphic facilitation is the sexiest technique out there! Capturing a conversation with text notes can be tricky, but a trained illustrator/summarizer can distil an hour’s worth of conversation into one amazing image.