At Venture Trust we are privileged to work with many fantastic and innovative partners.
Dan Walker, Arc’teryx Social Impact Lead, Sustainability, talks about why a global outdoor equipment company is backing our work.
Venture Trust: What is your organisation working to achieve and how does Venture Trust help you fulfil your aims?
Dan walker: There is great power when we ask ourselves why; it can unearth core values and inform the future we seek to build.
At Arc’teryx, we repeatedly return to the simple complexity of asking why, applying it to all that we do. Why build the Alpha SV jacket? Why take action on climate change? Why volunteer our time to support the trails on Vancouver’s North Shore? The common thread running through each answer is our belief in the transformative power of nature. It is why the brand was formed. And why so many of us gravitate towards its mission.
In parallel, we know all too well of the privilege we hold in our ability to access nature. We also know that this privilege does not fall equally across society. It is here where we choose to act – seeking to support the movement to remove the barriers, so people who have been traditionally excluded from access to nature may find Outer Peace.
We see leading organizations such as Venture Trust playing a vital role in this movement and seek to leverage the assets we hold in support of the work. This runs from financial support; to volunteering; to hosting in store (or now, virtual) events; to product donations; and to creating space to uplift the work being pursued via our social channels.
VT: Why have you chosen to work with Venture Trust?
DW: Human-centred design lies at the heart of Arc’teryx. It’s the logic we apply to the design of our gear. Always seeking to listen and observe the needs of the user. We view community impact in the same vein. Those leading in the space also apply this mindset – seeking to listen to the needs of the people they intend to serve and building programs in partnership with them. It is this shared value in human-centred design that lies at the heart of our partnership.
VT: What aspect of Venture Trust’s work are you most involved with/inspired by?
DW: As a brand grounded in innovation, we gravitate towards projects that seek to question the way things are. Those that seek deeper insight and propose a new way. It is here where our partnership focuses.
In this regard, we’re proud to have seen Venture Trust pursue a 12-week pilot of an Outdoor Therapy service for young people with moderate mental health needs. This program which combines walk and talk one-to-one counselling and group work in greenspaces is a great example of Venture Trust listening to the needs of the people they intend to serve and in partnership, innovating to address that need.
The experience of COVID has highlighted for many the need for connection, both socially and to nature. This innovative program centres those needs and has proved a valuable tool in supporting participants through this tumultuous moment. We applaud the willingness to listen and the courage to challenge the status quo. It is these qualities that this moment demands.
VT: What do you see as the biggest challenges currently facing your funded organisations, and how are you supporting them/working with them to achieve success?
DW: There are many challenges facing our partners and they are all uniquely experienced. That said, a theme repeated by many is the challenge to achieve sustained impact. Tied to that is the need to shift time and energy away from the administrative work of funding and reporting to partners and instead into the work that will bring them closer to realising their mission.
At Arc’teryx we are constantly striving to listen to the insights and needs shared by our partners. We actively engage in conversation and seek to build a program that is reflective of those needs. This has seen us strip away questions from our grant application, work in partnership with the non-profits we support to create a strategy to assess our collective impact, and provide the time and skills of our team to support the work of our partners. Whilst we have taken positive steps here, we are continually working to evolve our approach. This can only be achieved through deep listening and genuine partnership.
VT: Is there anything else you would like to add?
DW: Thank you to everyone at Venture Trust. To the participants for their commitment to this journey. To the Venture Trust team for working tirelessly to advance the movement to remove barriers, so people who have been traditionally excluded from access to nature may find Outer Peace.
We deeply value this partnership and the way we collectively inspire each other to better.