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BC CEO Awards: Dick Vollet

CEO’s unwavering leadership has helped make new world-class hospital a reality
Dick Vollet, CEO, St. Paul’s Foundation

Construction is under way on the new St. Paul’s Hospital at the Jim Pattison Medical Centre. It will become a catalyst for a thriving neighbourhood, just as the old St. Paul’s did on Burrard Street.

It will anchor a global hub of innovation and growth. And it will rise as a testament to Dick Vollet’s sustained, tenacious focus over 10-plus years to engage and inspire donors to partner with St. Paul’s Foundation to create a world-class medical centre in Vancouver.

The foundation’s success and enviable stature as part of the beloved St. Paul’s family are the direct result of Vollet’s leadership, his deep roots across the community, and his gift for building strong relationships. His approach underpins the foundation with financial strength, intrinsic resilience, and the trust and confidence of its donors, board members, staff and stakeholders.

Revenue has grown each year under his leadership. During fiscal 2020-21, he led the foundation to a record-setting $55 million raised, oversaw the disbursement of $26 million for patient care, life-changing research and innovative teaching initiatives, and kept operating costs to less than 20% of revenue during a pandemic.

Over the past three years, St. Paul’s Foundation has seen significant growth in both revenue and long-term pledges. Total revenue (including donations, investment income and other sources) grew 106%, from $40 million in fiscal 2019 to $83 million in fiscal 2021. Donations, including cash and new pledges, grew 65%, to $66 million in fiscal 2021 from $40 million in fiscal 2019.

In the spring of 2020, there was widespread uncertainty about how the pandemic would affect the economy and charitable giving. Many organizations shut down or laid off staff. Not St. Paul’s Foundation. Vollet championed a financial plan that included tough spending measures. He cultivated the board’s approval, and he was able to pivot the organization without laying off a single staff member.

He has led an internal Truth & Reconciliation (T&R) committee to embed T&R practices and Indigenous cultural safety into our organization. With significant funding from the foundation, Providence Health Care is recruiting Indigenous leaders and expanding its Indigenous wellness and reconciliation department. 

The foundation is leading the charge to fund the $50 million Clinical Support and Research Centre attached to the new hospital. This 750,000-square-foot facility (the current St. Paul’s Hospital is 300,000 square feet) is where cures will be found, life-saving drugs will be developed and leaders in medicine and technology will work together to fast-track discoveries from the lab to the hospital and to communities across B.C. and beyond. •

For more information about this year's BC CEO Awards, click here.