For the first time in the 100-year-plus history of the organization, the Hebrew Free Loan Association of Vancouver (HFLA) has hired an executive director. In July, HFLA brought Lynne Fader on board to fill the new role.
Active between 1915 and the middle of the Great Depression and then reinvented in 1979, the purpose of the volunteer-run organization is, as the name suggests, to provide interest-free loans to members of the Jewish community. As the community has grown and spread out, the current board of directors decided it was time to extend HLFA’s reach and hire a part-time executive director.
Fader is a familiar face for many in the Jewish community, especially those in Richmond, as she was a founder of the Richmond Kehila Society. Since 2000, Fader has been co-executive director of Kehila and she will continue her work there, as it and HFLA have complementary missions. She also has served as a volunteer on various boards, including those of Richmond Jewish Day School and Richmond Multicultural Society.
Fader recently sold the company she owned and ran for 14 years, ER Plus Risk Management Inc., an enterprise that involved her in efforts to advance access for women in the trades and in the safety industry. She has worked with different levels of government both professionally and as a volunteer, and is looking forward to using her networking skills and drive to significantly raise the profile of HFLA.
Not only will Fader be meeting in the coming months with community leaders, but she will be planning and implementing educational opportunities for people who could most benefit from an HFLA loan. “I recognize that the HFLA is a hidden community treasure,” she told the Independent. “I look forward to meeting with fellow agency professionals in the effort to allow front-line professionals to have a face and a contact to connect with for their clients and members.”
The grassroots nature of HFLA – it has been run by volunteers for nearly 40 years – is a great fit for Fader. She understands the association’s mission and method: help people before they fall into poverty and as they emerge from financial difficulties. With a deep knowledge of the Lower Mainland’s various social safety networks from her work with Kehila, Fader is in the unique position of being able to refer applicants who don’t fit the HFLA framework for a loan to the appropriate assistance.
The HFLA board will continue to perform the work of interviewing and granting financial assistance. The association currently has $417,000 in loans out in the community. The loans are primarily to people in the Lower Mainland but reach as far away as Tofino, Victoria and Salt Spring Island. One of the reasons HFLA was looking to hire an executive director is the increasing number of Jews migrating to more affordable locations in the province, such as Squamish, the Sunshine Coast and further into the Fraser Valley.
In addition to Fader, HFLA also has recently hired a new office administrator, Judy Walker.
“I’m confident that Judy’s unique blend of technical and interpersonal skills will ensure those inquiring about loans are met with a professional experience,” said Leana Gaerber, vice-president of HFLA’s board of directors.
For more information on applying for a loan or becoming involved as a donor or guarantor, call 604-428-2832 or visit hfla.ca.
Michelle Dodek is a freelance writer living in Vancouver.