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2016 Annual Report

A Journey of Collective Leadership and Engagement

Over the past few years, Canada’s community foundation network has been on an incredible journey of collective leadership and engagement. Inspired by a common interest in building more inviting and inclusive communities, our network reached new heights in 2016, working together through an unprecedented wave of opportunities.

The uptake by community foundations to help welcome and settle refugees from Syria or to engage more meaningfully around Reconciliation are examples of the kind of spirit that truly reflects the heart of our movement, and our country.

Through local, national and international activities, our community foundation network embraced new challenges, while supporting one another with the values that are at the core of our work.

The future is bright and I’m hopeful as we continue to build a community of Canada where we all belong.

Victoria Grant
Board Chair

A Year of Momentum and Milestones

The 2016 year was filled with big milestones and the continued commitment of our movement which came together for the greater good of our communities.

Through the Welcome Fund for Syrian Refugees, established with contributions from Manulife, CN and GM, we worked with community foundations to distribute more than $5.5 million to local organizations. We also helped government-sponsored refugees from Syria settle in 27 communities across the country. Early events with the Calgary Foundation and London Community Foundation for the Welcome Fund kicked off a wave of investments across Canada – in everything from rent subsidies to emergency loan funds to mental health care.

We launched the Community Fund for Canada’s 150th, a collaborative national effort seeded by the Government of Canada and delivered locally by our network. The Elkhorn and Area Community Foundation jumped on board first, followed by another 175 community foundations supporting projects in every province and territory. By the end of 2017, the Fund will have supported 2,000 local projects in over 400 communities, while engaging 100,000 volunteers across Canada along the way.

Our activation around Canada’s 150th was also supported by a growing Alliance 150 network of 2,000 organizations, groups and individuals working to make the most of the country’s sesquicentennial. Alliance 150 held gatherings in St. John’s, Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Richmond and Montreal, connecting community foundations with local groups looking to get involved.

We continued our shared efforts to strengthen the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, contribute to meaningful Reconciliation, and foster a greater sense of belonging in our communities. The Philanthropic Community’s Declaration of Action continues to be a springboard for those on the path towards Reconciliation, including early signatories: Victoria Foundation, The Winnipeg Foundation, Community Foundation Grey Bruce, Clayoquot Biosphere Trust, and Temagami Community Foundation, to name a few.

We were also there when our communities needed us most. In the wake of the Northern Alberta wildfires, the Edmonton Community Foundation, Calgary Foundation, Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta and community foundations across the province pooled their resources to support the long-term recovery efforts in the Wood Buffalo region through a new Rebuilding Fort McMurray Fund.

New contributions from IDRC and SSHRC expanded the reach of the Queen Elizabeth Scholars program to more low- and middle-income countries. This gave 450 doctoral, postdoctoral and early-career researchers the opportunity to undertake global research projects, strengthening the exchange of talent between Canada and other countries. Early engagement between local universities and community foundations have seeded new mentorship and education opportunities for promising young scholars.

Our movement also mobilized local data and knowledge through a growing Vital Signs program that continues to measure community vitality, inspire civic engagement and provide a focus for public dialogue. Thirty-four Canadian communities, and another 23 internationally, participated in the 2016 program which culminated with local reports and talks during Vital Signs week in October.

Finally, a strong, well-rounded foundation development practice, new philanthropy fellowships, and ongoing learning opportunities all continued to help community foundation leaders adapt to the changing world around us.

Rolling out the Welcome Fund for Syrian Refugees in Canadian communities

Following the 2015 Federal Election, Canadians united around a commitment to welcome 25,000 refugees from Syria. John McCallum, the newly appointed Minister of Immigration,...


New Community Fund for Canada’s 150th to build community and encourage participation for the sesquicentennial

TORONTO, ON, March 14, 2016 – A new community fund to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation was announced today by the Honourable Mélanie...


Community foundations across Alberta unite for Fort McMurray

(EDMONTON, AB) – As first responders and frontline organizations continue to address the immediate crisis in Fort McMurray, community foundations from across Alberta are pooling...


IDRC contribution expands scope and reach of Queen Elizabeth Scholars program

(OTTAWA, ON) June 2, 2016 – A new $10 million contribution from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) is helping to expand the scope...


The Changing Landscape of Canadian Communities

Right now, our world is going through a lot of change. Social, economic, environmental and technology trends are reshaping our communities and altering the landscape of philanthropy as we know it.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Thomas Friedman calls this “the age of accelerations.” He writes that: “Those societies that are most open to flows of trade, information, finance, culture, or education, and those most willing to learn from them and contribute to them, are the ones most likely to thrive in the age of accelerations. Those that can’t will struggle.”

In the years ahead, we’ll continue to see shifts across all aspects of our work – from how we build and share community knowledge to our role in Reconciliation to the ways we unlock new forms of social capital. All of this happening at a time when the demographic makeup of Canadian communities is going through change as well.

According to the latest Statistics Canada figures, by 2036, 30% of all residents will have been born outside the country, 30% will speak a first language that’s neither English or French, and 20% will be native-born with at least one immigrant parent. In the next twenty years, Canada will become a country of large, diverse urban centres with growing numbers of visible minorities, Indigenous people, and newcomers.

These shifts aren’t just isolated in Canada, they are reflective of an increasingly globalized world – one that will see income inequality, climate change, globalization, and urbanization continue to impact our communities in new ways.

This rapidly changing environment calls for philanthropic institutions to be ready and able to respond to community priorities while thinking both locally and globally.

World Refugee Day takes flight across Canada

Today, on June 20, Canadians and the international community are participating in World Refugee Day – a global day of action dedicated to recognizing...


ALT/Now residencies spark community-driven innovations to tackle economic inequality

The challenge of widening economic inequality in our communities Over the past 20 years, the income and wealth of all groups in Canada has...


First wave of Indigenous-led projects engage communities for Canada’s 150th

(OTTAWA, ON) June 21, 2016 – An initial wave of Indigenous-led activities will engage communities across the country this summer thanks to contributions from...


Activism, faith and digital connectivity key to community participation and belonging in Canada, says new national Vital Signs report

(OTTAWA, ON) October 4, 2016 – Canadians who are involved in activism, attend religious services and connected online are all more likely to feel they...


The Future of Community Leadership and Philanthropy

As we look to the future, Canada’s 191 community foundations are exploring the kind of leadership that’s relevant for this new contemporary context. One that connects us with our communities and a global network of more than 1,800 place-based foundations, across 50 countries.

Today’s times invite us to build on our shared values, bring our resources together and focus on what matters most in our communities. In fact, so much of that work has already started.

New community foundations in Wood Buffalo (AB), Outaouais (QC), Eenou-Eeyou (QC), Francofonds (MB), Headingley (MB), Onanole (MB) and the Yukon (YT) are helping expand our reach to cover the remaining 10% of Canadian communities that don’t yet have access to a community foundation. Recognizing that the majority of this gap is in Canada’s North, we’re exploring the possibility of a foundation in the Arctic. One that taps into the existing strengths and resources of Northern partners, which would help contribute to the region’s future.

As our network continues to grow, we’re always looking for new ways to support our network’s leadership. We’ve begun design work to enhance our program of learning for community foundations with a range of professional development and leadership opportunities. The year-round programming will include in-person activities (national conference, global summits, new foundation staff retreats, thematic gatherings, learning labs, master classes and workshops), as well as a more robust suite of online learning (webinars, toolkits, product hubs, and guidebooks).

We’re making great use of new technologies and focusing in on areas of innovation aligned with our values and purpose. Drawing on insights from across our network and sector, we’re working on a new data strategy to improve how we collect, curate and share data. This will help us better visualize the growth, development and impact of our movement, both in Canada and abroad.

Community foundations are also helping shape the emerging field of impact investing in Canada. They’re exploring new ways of leveraging our assets through impact and responsible investments, responding to The Canadian Task Force on Social Finance recommendation that foundations invest at least 10% of their capital in mission-related investing by 2020.

With these opportunities, we’re hoping to better align the scale and reach of our resources with a global network of community foundations. Through Vital Signs and other philanthropic initiatives, community foundations are starting to coordinate local activities with Canada’s commitment to deliver on the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This is all part of a global agenda for action.

Through relationships with the Global Fund for Community Foundations, Council on Foundations, European Foundation Centre, UK Community Foundations, MATCH International Women’s Fund and the Worldwide Initiatives for Grantmaker Support (WINGS), we continue to deepen our connections between community philanthropy in Canada and other global networks.

These efforts are a sign of what’s next for our movement. To step out onto the world stage united with other countries. To go beyond our community roots into spaces of networked philanthropy and social innovation. To work locally, but think globally.

Protecting natural spaces, building stronger relationships with Indigenous communities, creating smarter more sustainable cities – to do all of this, we need to align our organization and community foundations with the right tools and aspirations for the future.

As we continue to take on global challenges at the community level, we need the collective leadership and engagement of Canada’s 191 community foundations. It’s the only way to keep up with the ever-changing ways of the world, and philanthropy. Together.

We hope you join us on this exciting journey. Stay connected for more to come!

Ian Bird
Andrew Chunilall

In The Middle of Everything: Reflections from the Arctic

I find it difficult to put into words how transformative our trip to Northern Canada and Greenland was with Students on Ice three months ago....


Building a movement where we all belong

Strengthening the connections between people in our network, the communities they call home and the values we share is part of what makes us...


Engaging our communities in Canada’s 150th

I know, I know – Canada Day 2017 is still over a year away. But the recent announcements made by Minister Joly have reminded...


An Amazing Opportunity: My experience so far as the 2016 Community Philanthropy Fellow

Alex Draper with the Edmonton Community Foundation is the 2016 Community Philanthropy Fellow. As part of his fellowship, Alex is undertaking a sabbatical project that...


Thank you!

Thanks to the many outstanding people and partners who helped make 2016 an extraordinary year! Please feel free to share our 2016 Year in Review with leaders in your community.

Download 2016 Financial Statements 


Canada’s 150th

Government of Canada
Laidlaw Foundation

Canadian Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarships

Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development
Rideau Hall Foundation
Victor Phillip Dahdaleh

Community Knowledge Exchange

Manulife Asset Management
Suncor Energy Foundation

Endowment Gifts

Edmonton Community Foundation – Betsy Martin
Edmonton Community Foundation – Monica Patten
Mark Neale
Spencer Duncanson

Ignite NPS


4Rs Youth Movement
Students on Ice
Unifor Social Justice Fund


True Sport Foundation

Vital Signs

MFS Investment Management

Welcome Fund

HSBC Bank Canada
PayPal Canada

Youth Catalyst Fund

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


Conference 2017

Lead Conference Sponsor

Mawer Investment Management

Conference Partners

Amazon Web Services
Bromelkamp Company LLC
Calgary Foundation
Canada Helps
The Circle on Philanthropy and Aboriginal Peoples in Canada
Edmonton Community Foundation
Foundant Technologies
Foundation of Greater Montreal
Jarislowsky Fraser Partners Foundation
London Community Foundation
Manulife Asset Management
MFS Investment Management
Miller Thomson
Ottawa Community Foundation
PwC Canada
Stanford Social Innovation Review
SurveyMonkey Apply
Suncor Energy Foundation
Unifor Social Justice Fund
Vancouver Foundation
Victoria Foundation
The Walrus
The Winnipeg Foundation


Angela Bishop
Bill Lockington
Brian Toller
Don Thurston
Ian Bird
Investors Group Financial Services
Jessica Labonte
John MacIntyre
Kevin McCort
Michael Bhur
Nataly Rae
Rahul K. Bhardwaj
Terry Cooke
Vincenza Travale

2016-2017 Board of Directors

Victoria Grant
Temagami and Stouffville, Ontario

Angela Bishop
Halifax, Nova Scotia

Bill Lockington
Chair, Governance Committee
Peterborough, Ontario

Brian Toller
Ottawa, Ontario

Don Thurston
Calgary, Alberta

Jessica Bolduc
Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario

Jessica Labonte
Banff, Alberta

John MacIntyre
Toronto, Ontario

Kevin McCort
Vancouver, British Columbia

Michael Buhr
Chair, Finance & Audit Committee
Selkirk, Manitoba

Nataly Rae
Quebec City, Quebec

Terry Cooke
Hamilton, Ontario

Rahul K. Bhardwaj
Toronto, Ontario

Rasool Rayani
Victoria, British Columbia

Sally Ng
Fredericton, New Brunswick

Spencer Duncanson
Winnipeg, Manitoba