Close Icon An icon depicting a simple close icon

2015 Year in Review

The strength of our network


Community Foundations of Canada is the national network for Canada’s 191 community foundations. We’re a movement, working across sectors, to help Canadians invest in building strong and resilient communities.

Community foundations mobilize their leadership and financial capital to support initiatives that benefit our communities most. With an intimate understanding of local needs and opportunities, community foundations direct grants and other investments where they will have the greatest impact.

Message from Victoria Grant

I’ve been part of our movement for more than 15 years and as I’ve travelled to communities across Canada and met face-to-face with foundation leaders, I am continually reminded of the commitment, energy, empathy and innovation that underpins our collective work.

We have come a long way in the course of our movement’s 95-year history, but this year taught us that we still have far to go. Welcoming refugees and newcomers to Canada. Building stronger relationships with Indigenous communities. Fostering a greater sense of belonging with one another. These are just a few of the opportunities facing our communities right now where we can have an impact.

Looking back, 2015 was a remarkable year for our community foundation network. As we approach Community Foundations of Canada’s 25th anniversary and mark Canada’s 150th in 2017, I’m excited by all that we have to contribute.

To celebrate this year, we’ve pulled together a reflection on some of our most memorable moments and highlights of what we achieved together. We hope you enjoy!

Victoria Grant
Board Chair, Community Foundations of Canada

In 2015...

We extended our reach and impact across Canada

In 2015, we extended the reach of our pan-Canadian network through the collective activation of Smart & Caring Communities. New community foundations in BC and Quebec joined our movement and we continued to broaden our impact through the creation of new community funds designed to connect the country and serve neighbouring communities.

More than 85% of Canadian communities now have access to a community foundation and we’re working towards a goal of 100% coverage.

We activated our national community foundation network

Community foundations continue to be one of the largest contributors to Canadian charities and nonprofits. Our collective assets grew to exceed $4.8 billion with more than $250 million contributed to community foundations last year alone.

Together we supported thousands of incredible community initiatives. We granted more than $215 million in 2015 and as of today more than $200 million in community foundation assets are in responsible and impact investments.

We shared our knowledge and wisdom internationally

Rahul K. Bhardwaj, Toronto FoundationCindy Lindsay, Community Foundations of Canada

Community foundation leaders went global last year, travelling around the world to share our story and champion Canadian philanthropy on the international stage.

We made visits to Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Korea, Germany, Ireland, England, and the United States to name a few, strengthening ties to our global movement of more than 1,800 community foundations in 50 countries around the world.

We thanked our big-hearted community champions

Our staff team and Board members are a remarkable group of individuals who have deep roots and ties to communities from coast to coast to coast. Each of us brings a unique perspective to our work, but it’s our connection to community that draws us together in common cause.

Last year we recognized our foundation development dynamos Jane Humphries and Amy Thompson, and thanked our public engagement powerhouse Anne-Marie McElrone for their long-standing contributions to our movement.

We launched the 150Alliance with Canada’s Governor General

We kickstarted 2015 by organizing an event in Ottawa with His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada to launch the 150Alliance. This open network was created to promote action, engagement and impact around Canada’s 150th and is now building the biggest database of 2017 organizations and projects in Canada.

CFC and community foundations hosted subsequent 150Alliance roadshows in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary and Halifax that brought together more than 400 individuals and organizations working to make the most of Canada’s sesquicentennial.

We helped incubate and grow the Rideau Hall Foundation

Community foundations came together to play a role in the incubation of a new foundation for Canada – the Rideau Hall Foundation. The opportunity to contribute arose as an extension of the Governor General’s patronage and our shared interest in fostering a smarter, more caring Canada.

Under the new leadership of Scott Haldane and support from our network, the Rideau Hall Foundation will continue to be a gathering place for Canadians to work with and for one another leading up to 2017 and beyond.

From coast to coast to coast, community foundations continue to be forward thinking in building foundations for future generations that contribute to a healthy and vibrant quality of life.

– Liz Palmieri, Executive Director, Niagara Community Foundation

We engaged a network of young global leaders

Working together with Universities Canada, Rideau Hall Foundation and the Government of Canada we implemented the Canadian Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarship program to offer promising students the opportunity to live and study abroad.

The Queen Elizabeth Scholars program has engaged 37 universities in every Canadian province and 85% of the Commonwealth to offer 2,000 scholarships over the next four years and build a community of young global leaders through enriched academic, professional and cross-cultural experiences.

We responded to #GenerationFlux with our partners

In the spring, we launched the Youth Catalyst Fund to make more than $1.2 million in high-impact grants to boost educational and career opportunities for young Canadians thanks to our partners at The TK Foundation and Teekay Shipping (Canada) Ltd.

With additional support from the Government of Ontario, Deloitte, MaRS Centre for Impact Investing and The Betsy Martin Fund, the Youth Catalyst Fund will also make investment capital available to social enterprises across Ontario that create employment opportunities for young people facing job barriers so they can enter the workforce and earn a living while contributing meaningfully.

The quality and substance of the CFC 2015 Conference reinforced that our decision to partner with the CFC was clearly the right one. We’re proud to play a role in helping community foundations and have been inspired by their passion to positively shape the places we live and work.

– Andrew Johnson, Mawer Investment Management

We gathered in Calgary to explore our “Why”

More than 600 Canadian and international community leaders convened in Calgary for our national conference to reconnect and be inspired by Canadian visionaries such as Colonel Chris Hadfield, Zita Cobb and Mayor Naheed Nenshi, among others.

Our hosts at the Calgary Foundation treated us to an extraordinary experience, including an action packed showcase of the world renowned Calgary Stampede complete with a white hat welcome and homegrown food!

We began our Reconciliation journey

Our work with The Circle on Philanthropy and Aboriginal Peoples in Canada and the 4Rs Youth Movement supported by Deloitte helped us foster new relationships and focus on what we as a community network can do to support Reconciliation, laying the foundation for future action.

This past summer we participated in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s closing events, including the presentation of a Declaration of Action prepared by Canada’s philanthropic community and signed by CFC, community foundations and 50 other organizations, to ensure that positive action towards greater Reconciliation continues.

No other institutions have the broad interest of community at heart as community foundations do. We play a pivotal role in building a smarter, more caring and more welcoming Canada.

– Lorraine Widmer-Carson, Executive Director, Banff Canmore Community Foundation

We invested in our movement’s leadership

Mawer stepped forward to strengthen our community foundation network by investing in professional development opportunities for community foundation leaders and becoming the multi-year Lead Sponsor of our international conference events.

Our ongoing investment in our movement’s leadership also led to a new Community Philanthropy Fellowship program with the Carold Institute to develop new skills and knowledge of community foundation leaders, an ambitious ALT/Now: Economic Inequality residency program with The Banff Centre to help us think differently about solving intractable community problems, and conversations convened by around the talent, needs and future of Canada’s nonprofit sector.

We also saw engagement around forming a pan-Canadian Food Funders collaborative and a national initiative to build stronger communities through sport with our friends at the True Sport Foundation.

We mobilized community knowledge for social change

Through the Community Knowledge Exchange, as well as our Vital Signs program, we mobilized the power of community knowledge for greater local impact. In October, 28 community foundations across the country launched Vital Signs reports, looking at how their communities fared in key quality-of-life areas.

Our national report on belonging, backed by FI Capital Ltd., explored how connected people feel to their communities and made belonging a major focus of our Vital Signs work over the next three years leading up to Canada’s sesquicentennial. More than 65 communities in Canada and around the world are now engaged in the Vital Signs program with more coming on board each year.

We welcomed refugees into our communities

John McCallum, Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, in Calgary with Mayor Naheed Nenshi, February 2016. Photo by Mike Ridewood/CP images.

Our friends at Manulife, CN and GM partnered with us to support the Welcome Fund for Syrian Refugees as part of a tri-sector response to welcome and settle refugees from Syria into Canadian communities.

The Welcome Fund will support local organizations across the country leading refugee housing and settlement efforts together with community foundations already engaged in building more welcoming communities.

Message from Ian Bird

Our journey toward 2017 has seeded an abundance of opportunities for our community foundation movement. This past year saw us come together in unprecedented ways and respond to some of the most urgent needs in our communities.

We were stronger because of our collective leadership and more adaptive in the face of change. These are promising signs as our network continues to keep pace with the ever-evolving landscape of community philanthropy and works together to ensure our communities are places where we all belong.

In the years ahead we will see rapid change across all aspects of our work from how we build and share community knowledge to our role supporting reconciliation to the ways we’ll unlock new forms of social capital.

This is an exciting moment for Canada’s 191 community foundations and I have a feeling the future will be even bigger and brighter. Thank you for all your support!

Ian Bird

President, Community Foundations of Canada

Meegwetch! Merci! Thank you!

This past year reminded us once again that we are stronger, smarter and more caring because of your generous contributions. Thanks to the many outstanding people and partners who helped make it all possible!

Download 2015 Financial Statements 



National Arts Centre

Canada’s 150th

Department of Canadian Heritage

Canadian Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarships

Global Affairs Canada
Rideau Hall Foundation

Community Knowledge Exchange

Manulife Asset Management
Suncor Energy Foundation

Conference 2015

Lead Conference Sponsor

Mawer Investment Management

CFC 2015 Conference Sponsors

Advanced Solutions International-Canada
Bromelkamp Company LLC
Calgary Foundation
Community Foundation of Ottawa
Edmonton Community Foundation
Foundant Technologies
Hamilton Community Foundation
London Community Foundation
MFS Investment Management
Manulife Asset Management
Miller Thomson
TD Bank Group
The Christofor Foundation
The Young Fund c/o Hamilton Community Foundation
Toronto Foundation
Vancouver Foundation
Victoria Foundation


The J. W. McConnell Family Foundation

Ontario Trillium Foundation


Community Foundation of Mississauga
Investors Group Financial Services Inc.
Jennifer Guy
Jessica Price
John MacIntyre
Michael E. Doyle
Rahul K. Bhardwaj
Terry A. Jackson
Victoria and Richard Grant


Edmonton Community Foundation
John Allan Garland
John & Barbara Poole Memorial Funds c/o Edmonton Community Foundation

Smart & Caring Communities

Anonymous Donor


True Sport Foundation

Vital Signs

FI Capital Ltd.

Youth Catalyst Fund

Government of Ontario
MaRS Centre for Impact Investing
Teekay Shipping (Canada) Ltd.
The TK Foundation

Endowment Gifts

Edmonton Community Foundation – Betsy Martin
Edmonton Community Foundation – Monica Patten
Michael E. Doyle
Nataly Rae
Spencer Duncanson

2015 Board of Directors

Victoria Grant
Temagami and Stouffville, Ontario

Bill Lockington
Chair, Governance Committee
Peterborough, Ontario

Brian Toller
Ottawa, Ontario

Don Thurston
Calgary, Alberta

Jennifer Guy
St. John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador

Jessica Bolduc
Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario

Jessica Price
Banff, Alberta

John MacIntyre
Toronto, Ontario

Michael Buhr
Selkirk, Manitoba

Michael E. Doyle
Chair, Finance and Audit Committee
Saint John, New Brunswick

Nataly Rae
Quebec City, Quebec

Terry Cooke
Hamilton, Ontario

Terry A. Jackson
Oakville, Ontario

Rahul K. Bhardwaj
Toronto, Ontario

Sally Ng
Fredericton, New Brunswick

Spencer Duncanson
Winnipeg, Manitoba