40 Under 40

John Andru

VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation
Vancouver, BC

Why is a 40 under 40 winner

  • John joined VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation in 2016 as an Associate Director, Major Gifts, where he has been responsible for a portfolio of 120 donors and has consistently achieved mutli-million revenue targets each year, with a total of over $16 million raised.
  • In September 2018 John was entrusted with the leadership of a $35 million comprehensive campaign for VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation - a priority cause in the community. The result: Brain Breakthroughs (www.brainbreakthroughs.ca) launched in autumn 2019 and has already raised 60% of the $35 Million goal, including a $2 Million gift for Brain Breakthroughs secured by John at the height of the COVID pandemic.
  • In 2014 John developed the inaugural BC Cancer Foundation Hope Couture event, which raised $1.5M in it's first year.

Q & A

1. How did you get into healthcare philanthropy?

I’ve always wanted to work in the philanthropic sector“to make the world a better place”and my first fundraising job was with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Since then most of my career has been spent working for hospital foundations.

2. Why did you choose to make healthcare philanthropy your career?

Health as a topic is relevant to everyone regardless of gender, age, and socio-economic status. Health is also very personal, and you often become very close to the donors you work with. I’m also very squeamish about blood so this is as close as I’ll get to medicine, a discipline and profession that I have tremendous admiration and respect for. It is such a privilege to work with doctors, nurses, and researchers to help advance healthcare.

3. Tell us about a pivot point or crucial step in your career journey.

Two stories. Early on in my career, I was hired as a temporary assistant by a woman who would introduce me to the potential and impact of individual philanthropy (i.e. major gifts) and be my mentor for the 7 years I spent with that organization. Two years ago, I agreed to lead a nascent capital campaign for brain health after a colleague left and that has been my single most challenging undertaking of my career to date.

4. What was your first job, and what is something it taught you?

My very first job was working in retail. I learned to never judge a book by its cover. You never know who will become your next best customer, so you should treat everyone with respect and curiosity.

5. What are your future aspirations?

I want to continue to make the world a better place by connecting philanthropic resources to great ideas and projects that have the potential to positively impact the lives and health of people.

Find John on LinkedIn.

John Andru Headshot-cropped

Fun Fact:

I spent a lot of my childhood watching Hong Kong soap operas with my grandparents who didn’t speak a word of English so I learned to speak Chinese with them. Years later, I can still order dim sum and thank donors for their support in Chinese.