Taking the pulse of community foundation food activity across Canada (2015)

As a follow up action to our national 2013 Vital Signs report Fertile Ground and with support from the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, Community Foundations of Canada conducted a survey of our network in 2015 to better understand where and how community foundations support and provide leadership around food activity in their community.

This publication aims to develop a deeper knowledge of our network and shares stories of progress unfolding across the country to inspire further action. The report also explores some challenges on the road ahead and looks at opportunities for community foundations to continue to engage around community knowledge, impact investing, institutional procurement, food strategies, community conversations, and much more!

Key findings

  • Community foundations are heavily engaged in the food system. An overwhelming majority of respondents currently provide support and community foundation contributions to food totaled nearly $4M in 2014 alone.
  • Many community foundations go beyond charitable granting, funding the work of food policy councils, local food asset mapping, agriculture and sustainable food initiatives that help stimulate and support a local and just food economy.
  • Community foundations are leading the way locally. More than one-third of community foundations said they engage in knowledge development and leadership on everything from chairing local poverty and food initiatives to leading local food assessments and funder roundtables.
  • A small but growing number of community foundations have begun to provide investments such as loans and micro-finance capital for food-related businesses or social enterprises.