Dara is the Vice-President, Grants and Community Initiatives at the Vancouver Foundation, where she leads a team of 17 and is responsible for deploying $15 million annually in grants. Vancouver Foundation is Canada's largest community foundation, working throughout British Columbia to harness the gifts of energy, ideas, time, and money to make meaningful and lasting impacts in communities. Our vision is healthy, vibrant and livable communities across BritishColumbia.
Previously she served as Executive Director of Social Venture Partners Vancouver. Established in 2001, SVP is part of an international network of engaged philanthropists who invest time, money and professional expertise in local non-profits. SVP's mission is to strengthen the organizational capacity and scale the impact of innovative non-profits to create positive social change in our community.
She also served as the Executive Director of QMUNITY, where she had oversight of finance, resource development, human resources, communications, and strategic planning across British Columbia. During her leadership the organization secured a $10 million grant to build a new, purpose-built facility, while increasing their operating budget by 61%.
Dara is a community planner with a background in diversity and inclusion, and has more than 18 years’ experience working in social-profits and local government. Dara began her career working in international development and has travelled to over 50 countries, spanning five continents. Her CIDA-funded youth engagement work in Lesotho (Southern Africa) inspired her to return to pursue a Masters in Planning at the University of British Columbia with a focus on how to build inclusive cities.
Dara is a skilled public speaker who is regularly asked to comment on current issues.
She has been featured on Global BC, CTV, CBC, CKNW, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, The Vancouver Sun, The Georgia Straight, and The Vancouver Courier.
Dara’s notable achievements include: working for SVP, QMUNITY, the United Nations Association in Canada, Kids Help Phone, the City of Burnaby, and Cuso International.
For three years Dara consulted with UN-Habitat, the United Nations agency focused on global human settlements. Dara supported the inaugural Youth Advisory Board where she helped mainstream youth participation throughout the organization.
Dara currently serves as the Vice-Chair of Pivot Legal Society. Pivot's mandate is to use the law to address the root causes of poverty and social exclusion. Our name is metaphor for our approach to social change - by making the most tangible violations of human rights the focal point of our efforts, we exert maximum pressure in order to shift society toward greater equality and inclusivity.
Dara volunteered as Co-President of the United Nations Association in Canada Vancouver Board from 2008-2015, promoting public engagement on global issues.
Dara lives in the West End with her partner. She plays recreational volleyball and loves to walk the seawall.