Friday, September 20, 2013

Sportsweekend: A peek at ViaSport, a scion of 2010 Legacies Now

A weekend special for those of any age who play, coach, referee, support, sponsor or watch amateur sports in British Columbia. 

A look at how ViaSport, the B.C. Sport Agency Society, is funded by taxpayers. 

What is today ViaSport was hived-off from 2010 Legacies Now, the mysterious quasi-non-governmental organization born during the bid phase for Vancouver’s 2010 Winter Olympics but continued through the Games as a funnel for community grants. 

2010 Legacies Now burned through a quarter-billion of your dollars over a decade without publishing a detailed list of who got how much. Its chair emeritus, Judy Rogers, is in no hurry to explain. (She hasn’t responded to my queries, but I would be glad to hear from her.) 2010 Legacies Now's central operations morphed into what is called Lift Philanthropy Partners, a nebulous "venture philanthropy" outfit.  

After the Games, Legacies Now spun-off its sport division to the newly created B.C. Sport Agency Society which was branded ViaSport and absorbed many of the functions of Sport BC, the umbrella for the province’s amateur sport system. 

HomeVANOC executive vice-president of sport Cathy Priestner Allinger organized ViaSport, whose first full-time chair was Moray Keith and CEO Scott Ackles. Keith resigned in late 2012 and Priestner Allinger became interim chair. With a change of government anticipated, Ackles’s job was terminated in March 2013. Priestner Allinger said she was not interested in the CEO job, but that was before she was passed over for the athletic director position at the University of B.C. (Scottish Swimming boss Ashley Howard got the gig in May.) Lo and behold, Priestner Allinger was appointed CEO by the ViaSport board that she helped choose; Caley Denton, the VANOC ticketing executive, was installed as the chair. 

Below is a May 31, 2012-dated Transfer Under Agreement between the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development and ViaSport to provide financial assistance for ViaSport to implement the Province's Five-Year Sport Strategy. Included is a financial report. You will not find any information like this on the ViaSport website. 

Schedule A, running from May 28, 2012 to March 31, 2013, states the government’s priorities for the funding are to foster participatory programs, high performance programs for "training to train" through "training to win" stages; and event hosting that supports sport, economic and community development.

Goals include increasing overall sport participation by 20% by 2015-2016 (above the 2008-2009 baseline data), increase active coaches and officials within each funded sport, enhance services through the Integrated Performance System and lead the sport sector by aligning with the spirit of health and education initiatives. 

ViaSport received four payments under the TUA: $885,000 (June 7, 2012); $7,905,360 (Sept. 19, 2012); $100,000 (Jan. 24, 2013); and $820,000 (March 6, 2013).

For 2012-2013, its net budget was $21,239,000 plus $1,292,000 spent by the Ministry’s Sport Branch. 

The biggest chunk of funding, $4,891,168, was earmarked to Provincial Sport Organizations, as part of the $10,090,050 participation envelope. High performance was budgeted $7,867,950.  

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