In some of our recent episodes we have been speaking with leaders in the nonprofit and social benefit sectors about the changes and opportunities they anticipate at a system level as we adapt to the new COVID situation in Canada.   

Today, we are talking about the front line: what the Elizabeth Fry Society of Greater Vancouver did when the emergency started, how reaffirming their values and principles helped them make decisions, and what they have learned about the scope, influence and interdependence of their work with other nonprofits and the broader society.  Elizabeth Fry supports some of our society’s most vulnerable populations – women, girls and children at risk, involved in or affected by the justice system. Their more than two dozen programs work to break the cycle of poverty, addiction, mental illness, homelessness and crime. 

 Our guest is Shawn Bayes, CEO of EFry, who has been on the podcast before, talking about strategy for impact.  During her 35-year career with EFry, Shawn has led the creation of numerous initiatives and successfully pursued policy changes to help address deep poverty and homelessness, key risk factors tied to criminalization. She was appointed in 2019 to Canada’s National Advisory Council on Poverty. We were glad she agreed to come back to talk about what’s changed, and what hasn’t, and how EFry is thinking about adapting to the future.   

 As you will hear in this conversation, COVID has pushed more people on the margin further from safety. Violence, hunger and homelessness are greater risks in the COVID emergency than before, and the possibility of a second wave could compound these risks further. Shawn describes how EFry is preparing for a larger role.  

 For more about the principles that are the foundation of EFry’s work:https://www.elizabethfry.com/about/guiding-principles/