Fundraising with Joy Interview – Marc Villeneuve

Marc Villeneuve, CEO, Fondation du CSSS de Gatineau

Marc headshotMarc and I worked together at KCI Ketchum Canada where he was the Vice President of the West Quebec / East Ontario division. He has since gone on to his current role as CEO of Fondation du CSSS de Gatineau, a complex organization that encompasses three regional hospitals, three chronic care hospices, and nine social service community centres.

I knew Marc had to be a part of this series because I so admire his passion. His love of his work is an extension of the passion he has for his community and his family. He works in the community that raised him and where he raised his family. His commitment to his organization and to the broader philanthropic culture in Quebec rings clear in his words below.

One story in particular illustrates what Marc stands for as a leader. Every year he devotes time to personally meeting with and thanking the almost 6,000 employees at his organization. In our culture we often speak of not having enough time, but Marc proves with his “MAY: month of THE FOUNDATION” commitment that good leaders create time for what is important to them. And for him that sense of community and connection is a key strategic priority and also part of what makes his work so personally fulfilling.

Janice: What made you choose a career in the social profit sector?

I didn’t choose the sector, it chose me. I had no idea of the true value/need of the social profit sector until I had my hands and feet in it. It started to make sense to me after achieving a couple of successes with a hospital Foundation.

The need to make a difference and feel that I have a positive impact on the lives of people around me.

Giving a humanistic purpose to the work I do and to the goals I set for myself.

The need to leave some form of discreet, significant legacy.

Janice: What does philanthropy mean to you? Has your definition changed over time?

It is both an art and a science:
The art lies in the beauty of the human gesture of providing for others without expectations of personal gain or return.

The science lies in the ability and expertize of professional fundraisers in creating the perfect equation that will bring together the variables of community/organizational needs and the donors intent.

It is difficult to identify another form of human activity that brings together both concepts in such a way. In that perspective, I would place philanthropy close to music in terms of creating beauty.

Philanthropy has not changed; managing philanthropy however is ever changing. It is and has always been influenced by context, opportunities, nature, leaders, politics and so many other variables. Professional fundraisers are the ones who have changed and will need to keep doing so otherwise they will lose the science and will not be able to deliver the art.

Janice: How does your organization’s mission connect to your personal values?

All causes are worth supporting and to that sense, all social profit sector organizations are close to my heart. My Foundation caters to health care and social services therefore provide direct, front line support to people. I’m a people person…

Our beneficiary is a massive organization that includes 3 regional hospitals, 3 chronic care hospices, 9 social service community centres with a 6 000 people work force. It caters the residents in the city that I was born, my wife and her family was born, my children were born. The institution is very close to my heart therefore anything I can do to ensure its development and enhancement, I will do.

For me, it is all about people helping people. We are not here for a long time, why not try and make it enjoyable while we’re here!

Janice: What brings you the most joy in your work?

Small things and large things:
I have a staff of 70 employees and knowing that most of them are happy to come to work in the morning brings joy to me. Knowing that by creating jobs, our Foundation provides for their families also brings joy to me.

Being waved good morning by the hospital personnel and members of my team is fundamental to me. Small gestures, large impact.

At a macro level, knowing that part of the outcome of my work will change the way people receive treatment or social service support is significant to me. My role will enhance the quality of life of my community.

Also, having the opportunity to work with community leaders who are looking at ways that they can provide value to their community, tying a cause to the intent, acting as a catalyst makes me sleep well at night.

Janice: Your job focuses on cultivating relationships and supporting others, what do you do to recharge your batteries?

I turn my iphone off.

My wife and I have raised 3 children and two have left the nest. We have more time for each other and are in the process of cashing in on our investment in our family. We travel, we host friends, we garden, we read a lot.

I also do physical training on a daily basis to recharge the batteries but also to empty myself. When I train, I train intensively always to the beat of music. I listen to the music and I let myself get carried by the notes, the rhythm and again, the beauty of artistic creations.

Janice: Research shows that philanthropy and volunteerism are proven ways to increase happiness. How have you experienced this in your work and life?

Both from a donor and a receiver’s perspective.
I have always made promise to myself that I would share my professional knowledge in philanthropy with my community and make my environment more philanthropy-savvy. I mentor groups in my community all the time and introduce them to the art & science of philanthropy. That’s how I donate.

As Leader of a Foundation, I have the privilege of receiving a lot for my organisation both financially and altruistically. I work with a community of volunteers, my Board members who are committed, dedicated and focused on one thing: making a difference. We have a very low turn-over on our Board therefore I conclude that there must be pride and value to this form of giving.

Janice: Our work in the social profit sector allows us to make a contribution. What is the lasting impact you want to make during your career?

I want to have a say on where philanthropy is going to be in the minds of the people in the province of Quebec. Culturally, we have been accustomed to being sought after by the Church or by government. Through its development, the province has moved away from religion and government involvement is at its historical lowest. People must take it upon themselves to look after themselves. Through our profession, I want to increase our capacity to be our own caretakers.

This is why I have joined Quebec’s Association des professionnels en gestion philanthropique (APGP) and I’m now vice-president of this organization whose mandate is to increase capacity of our charitable organization’s management.

Basically I want to fast-track Quebec into 2013’s philanthropy.

© 2013, Janice Cunning. All rights reserved. You are welcome to share this posting if you include my contact information. Please contact me if you wish to reprint any portion of it in any periodical or on a website

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About Janice Cunning

As a certified coach and fundraiser, I am passionate about partnering with people and teams to increase their personal and professional Joy Quota.

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