Why Brian Hill and Andrea Thomas Hill give back

Brian Hill and Andrea Thomas Hill | BCBusiness

A conversation with Brian Hill, CEO of Aritzia LP, and Andrea Thomas Hill, founder and chair of Cause We Care Foundation

“We both believe strongly in helping others,” Brian stresses. “We believe it’s an obligation, given how fortunately we ourselves are able to live.” Whether that help is advice, money or resources, such as Aritzia’s recent Full of Heart initiative to raise money for Cause We Care, the couple follows the approach of first helping family and those closest to them then working outwards.

In 2007, set up the Vancouver-based foundation to help local single mothers and their children in need; gave $100,000 plus to the charity’s capital campaign for YWCA Cause We Care House.

Brian says his wife is “a big believer in giving back.” Andrea founded the first Run for the Cure, which raises money for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, in Toronto in 1992; as chair, she was instrumental in taking it across the country in 1994 and sat on the CBCF B.C. chapter for five years after moving to Vancouver in 1999. Her husband explains Cause We Care emerged after observing the grim daily reality of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (Aritzia’s office is in Gastown). “The plight of single mothers living below the poverty line was a cause that really resonated with her.”

Andrea emphasizes the “staggering” statistics around child poverty—that with eight out of 10 lone-parent families in Vancouver being headed by females, 25 per cent of those are living below the poverty line. “If there is something we can do to create a brighter outcome for these families, then we want to try to do it,” she says. “For many, like us, we give for our own personal reasons. We don’t look for loud ways to publicize what we do on a personal level, and many others feel the same way. Everyone knows why it’s important to give back—if you can, you should. It’s pretty simple.”

This is the last in a series profiling eight local powerhouse philanthropic duos.