It’s always fun to see the names of our students and alumni pop up in the news from time to time, and it was particularly exciting this past week when we saw that one of our alumni, Sandra Richardson, is being awarded the Order of British Columbia in recognition of her ongoing service to non-profits and the community.

“The Order of British Columbia is the province’s highest form of recognition… [awarded to] exceptional individuals whose hard work, generosity of spirit and outstanding achievements have contributed immeasurably to the wellbeing of our communities,” said Lieutenant-Governor Judith Guichon, Chancellor of the Order, in a statement announcing this year’s 16 recipients of the award.

When asked what receiving this honour meant to her, Sandra replied, “This appointment means recognition of building community–with and through others.”

Sandra enrolled in our public relations program–which she describes as being “essential to the non-profit sector”–shortly after accepting a position in fundraising and PR. She credits the program with having given her the tools she needed to move forward in her career, preparing her for her current role as CEO of the Victoria Foundation.

In this role, which she has held since 2001, she spearheads a number of successful programs responding to community needs. Mind you, she is quick to point out that while, in name, she may be the recipient of this award, it is really a credit to the work of her entire team.

“I have an extraordinary staff team and Board of Directors,” she says. “Being able to show the impact of what we do is how the Victoria Foundation has grown. It makes me proud when I think of all the incredible people I work with and what we together we have accomplished.”

Sandra’s work in her current role with the Victoria Foundation is but the culmination of a career dedicated to service in the non-profit industry.

With a particular talent and passion for fund development in non-profits, Sandra’s career has encompassed service to the Victoria Hospice & Palliative Care Foundation and the Cleveland Playhouse/Cleveland Opera. As well she has served on the boards of the Canadian Association of Gift Planners and Community Foundations of Canada, and been an active member in the Transatlantic Community Foundation Network.

This is not the first time she has been recognised for her good work either. Sandra has been honoured on several occasions for her achievements and her service to the community, and yet she said she was still very surprised when she received the call notifying her of this award.

“I didn’t have a quick response to the caller at first. This was so unexpected!” she admits. “Although honoured, I am very humbled.”

With the timing of the announcement of her award coinciding with convocation week, Sandra offered some advice to our most recent graduates of the program:

“Be ready for change! The impact of technology in communications requires us all to be flexible. Develop your art of communication by staying with the values and standards of this program.”


Sandra, along with her 15 co-recipients, will be honoured during an Investiture Ceremony at Government House on July 26. For more information on the Order of BC and this year’s recipients visit:









  • Posted June 28, 2016