A special constable

Christopher Richardson has found an offbeat way to give back to the community.

It was a cold, wet Vancouver night when Christopher Richardson, 61, found a man lying in a gutter while he was on patrol.

“It was the tailor’s name on the suit that suggested to me that this was not just a rubby [someone who drinks rubbing alcohol to get drunk],” the part-time special constable recalls. From a note in the man’s pocket, Richardson found out where he lived and paid for his cab ride home.

Months later, Richardson met the man he helped, who by that time had found a job in healthcare. The man thanked him for helping him turn his life around.

Moments like those have made Richardson sensitive to the needs of others, and he has found ways to make a difference through accounting.

Richardson cites his business, Helping You Achieve Your Philanthropic Dreams, which provides charitable gi planning, consulting and philanthropy advisory services, as a way he gives back to the community. “I could see from its emerging acceptance that the not-for-profit community had a real impact to play in Canada but needed professional advice as much as anybody else,” he says.

Since his early years at Price Waterhouse (now PwC), Richardson has helped charities make the most of their money. He co-founded the Canadian Association of Gi Planners and was the founding chair and then co-chair for the Charitable Incentives Review Task Force.

As demanding as his accounting life may be, Richardson continues to moonlight as a cop, having become a reserve officer when he was 18. He says the role, which now sees him assisting at events or directing traffic, is an enjoyable and relaxing way to spend his spare time. “Some people may go off and hit a silly little golf ball around a course for five hours, [while] I might just go off and work a hockey game as a policeman,” he says.

His work for the community runs even deeper. Richardson has been a member of both the Vancouver Park Board and Vancouver School Board, and his hobbies of learning Mandarin and walking every street in the city have also put him more in touch with his community.

“It’s who you know as much as what you know. Get out in the community,” he says. “A lot of what I do is introduce people who may not have gotten together, and they can collaborate and make this a better community.”