I see Vintage living on with very hard work in organizing. I look at Jaco in Chicago and he is an awesome TO, and his efforts with the Lords of the Pit grew Old School. I'd like to figure out some way to do that for Vintage.
Shout outs to Jaco - he is an awesome guy all around, and honestly the Lords are a great group all around.
As a member of the Chicago vintage and OS scene, and a big pusher for paper vintage (I have my deck on MTGO, but hardly use it... it was simply something to put credit into after winning a double up at EW a few years back), let me talk about what I view as the state of paper vintage, and possible solutions.
First off, you are 100% correct about the need for Vintage to move to proxy... as far as I know though, minus EW, and the EW trials, basically every paper vintage tournament has moved to allowing proxies. This really has to be the norm, as not only do 99% of players not have access to $25,000 in cardboard, but as someone who does own all their cards... I don't feel comfortable playing with my real cards most of the time anymore. There is just to much risk playing with them. So all together, this is a given - if you are not going to support proxy use for vintage (and honestly, for OS as well) than the community will not grow.
The next is exposure, lack of experience, and people not having a desire/want to pick it up (often times because of misconceptions).
Many non-Vintage players do not understand that 99% of paper Vintage is proxy friendly, therefore right off the bat they never even consider trying the format, because it is only for "rich people" or those who have been playing since the 90s. This is compounded by the misconception that we all play Turn 0 kill decks, and that the games are therefore short and boring.
The biggest solution to these two things, is communication, pushing the format, and exposure. When I would go to my LGS for commander night, my buddies and I would often get a few vintage games in. I would regularly encourage younger players to "take a seat" and try it out... this is the same method that got ME into OS - just trying it out. More often than not, the player will try out the deck, and realize "wow... this is nothing like I thought it was going to be, and is a lot of fun". Encouraging them to proxy up a deck is the next step, as it gets them wanting to play.
The next, is the number of events. Pre-COVID, every week I could drive less than 20 minutes and have EVERY major format fire off. Commander, Standard, Modern, Legacy... but never Vintage, and other than LOTP meetups or events, rarely OS. Trust me, we tried - we had a monthly Chicago vintage event that was going rather healthy, and then just died after one bad month (when 1/2 of our normal group had to miss, because of another event). Our monthly OS event out in the burbs died for a similar reason. I would regularly talk to LGSs about hosting a Vintage event, and even the few that we got to agree... we rarely would fire off (and this is including me, my wife, and our two friends, all of whom play vintage as well). So stores have little incentive to host events when they have zero demand from most of their community.
Finally... and honestly, one of the biggest reasons IMO... most of us who play the format are just lazy when it comes to pushing the format. Let me give a perfect example.
There is a weekly Sunday vintage webcam event. This thing has been going on for almost a year now. It is plugged weekly on Facebook. It has even been dropped on a few vintage articles. Often times, we don't even have 8 people. We allow for 100% proxy. So... why? The FB group has 3,500 members, all of which who get alerted each week... and we can't even break 8 most weeks. This is pitiful, and makes posts like this honestly feel like a joke when we talk about the community as a whole.
We have nearly 20 players here in Chicago who likely could play paper vintage, 0% proxy. Most events they wouldn't show up. The same thing happened with our old IL/WI tournament - it went on for years, and died because the WI guys generally wouldn't want to drive out.
So why expect the format to grow, when we actively act against it growing?