Bob Williams is president and chair of the Jim Green Foundation. He is an experienced civic leader and is a founder of 312 Main, Vancouver’s Centre for Social and Economic Innovation.
Formerly, Bob worked as a Vancouver city councillor, and a provincial cabinet minister with Premier, Dave Barrett. Bob’s past career also included being a long time director of Vancity Credit Union, owning the Railway Club Bar, advising the Four Corners Bank, and establishing Robson Square and the modern Whistler Blackcomb. Jim and Bob were long-time friends and colleagues.
Bob notes Jim’s incredible positive impact in Vancouver, particularly in capturing the city’s conscience about the Downtown Eastside. Jim and Bob both appreciated the arts and shared many a Saturday afternoon together, conversing and enjoying the jams at the Railway Club.
Over a decade ago, Jim was arguing for a social innovation centre; Bob has been pivotal in seeing this vision through to fruition at 312 Main, the site of old Cop Shop. This project is a memorial to Jim that will celebrate his legacy in richly alive way.
“He was the most important reformer in the city and enhanced the lives of countless people that nobody cared about.”
– Bob Williams
Alexandra (BA, MBA) is a director of the Jim Green Foundation. She is a principal at Jim Green Consulting, a boutique family-run consultancy dedicated to community and social development. The organization’s mission is to continue building inclusive communities as envisioned by the consultancy’s founder, the late Jim Green. Alexandra is also a manager at Deloitte, providing management consulting services to public sector and First Nations clients in BC.
Alexandra is Jim Green’s daughter. It was Jim’s wish that she continue his work after his passing; in 2011 Jim began formally mentoring her, which led to her becoming his business partner and now his successor. As part of this work, she’s committed to developing a Centre for Social Innovation and Inclusion in Vancouver.
Alexandra appreciates the work that Jim did in developing social and mixed-use housing, championing inclusivity for the economically disadvantaged, and creating cultural programs that improved the lives of thousands in the inner-city.
“Jim was a foremost leader and visionary in Vancouver with enduring contributions spanning four decades as an activist, politician, and developer. He was an expert at getting what he needed from the system, reaching the decision makers, and making things happen.”
– Alexandra Rutherford
Mauro (MA) is a director of the Jim Green Foundation. He is currently the executive director of the Italian Cultural Centre. He previously served 12 years as program director at the Vancouver Foundation (Arts, Social Enterprise, Environment, Education and Health & Welfare portfolios) and was a Major Gift fundraiser at Simon Fraser University.
Mauro worked with Jim on the Woodward’s redevelopment project and several other arts and cultural projects in the city. He regards Jim’s significant contributions to the Vancouver community as an activist, community builder and advocate for those in need. The Centre for Social Innovation initiative is a living legacy for Jim Green as it connects social justice, arts and community together for the betterment of all: inclusion rather than exclusion, connecting the Downtown East Side to the broader activities of the city region and country.
“Jim showed the people of Vancouver that community had a voice that must be listened to and included in the dialogue about place and civil society.”
– Mauro Vescera
Elvy Del Bianco
Elvezio (“Elvy”) Del Bianco is a director of the Jim Green Foundation. For 25 years he has worked as policy analyst and project manager for provincial and regional governments and in the social economy. As Vancity Credit Union’s Program Manager for Co-operative Partnerships, Elvy currently works on building partnerships and developing projects with community organizations, trade unions, governments, and others to support the creation of co-operative enterprises and realize a stronger co-operative economy. This work is largely informed by the activities of the Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region, the world’s most significant co-operative economy and the focus of Vancity’s Co-operative Study Tour, which Elvy has organized since 2008. Elvy has served on the boards of a number of arts organizations and is currently the President of the Neworld Theatre Society. An essayist, Elvy has had works produced by CBC Radio and published, including contributions to World Film Locations: Vancouver(Intellect Books, 2013).
Elvy considered Jim a friend and a confidant; he shared with Jim a love for the arts, the art of politics, the attributes of a perfect public square, Camus, colourful adjectives, and bourbon. Elvy was particularly inspired by Jim’s belief in the city as an inclusive, creative and –ultimately- civic space.
“In a city that is succumbing to the imperatives of capital and exclusivity, Jim offered an alternative vision highlighted by inclusivity, creativity and the dignity of all persons irrespective of their financial standing and personal circumstances. The 312 Main Street project represents the highest potential expression of Jim’s vision.”
– Elvy Del Bianco
Heather is a director of the Jim Green Foundation. She is the Executive Director of The Vancouver East Cultural Centre (The Cultch), and has overseen $28 million of capital improvements to the Cultch and York theatres. Her association with Jim Green was both personal and professional; they worked together and were also partners in their personal lives.
Ms. Redfern is highly regarded as a curator who programs a season of 20 – 25 different presentations from the local, national and international repertoires for The Cultch each year. Over the past 11 seasons, the programs have achieved growing audiences and are renowned for their diversity and risk taking. Before coming to the Cultch, Ms. Redfern was the Executive Director of the Greater Vancouver Alliance for Arts and Culture, a member driven alliance that advocates for the arts. Ms. Redfern was the artistic producer for Catalyst Theatre in Edmonton and was the founding chairperson of Canada’s national theatre festival, Magnetic North. Heather has sat on numerous boards including The Koerner Foundation and The Edmonton Arts Council.
Heather and Jim worked together on several projects including developing a plan to save the York Theatre and raising funds to complete the renovation at the Vancouver East Cultural Centre. They traveled together studying urban planning, architecture and attending performances all over the world.
“He knew how to create a win-win situation and he was very creative in terms of how he put a project together. It was unbelievable how he would get all the right people in the room to actually make something happen.”
– Heather Redfern