community foundation

This is a comprehensive guide designed to assist communities in Canada in the effective establishment and development of community foundations. This guide is the result of an analysis of community foundations in Canada and provides essential historical context, practical recommendations and step-by-step instructions to help new and developing community foundations to organize more effective work.

In Canada, the first community foundation was established in Winnipeg in 1921. Today, there are more than 191 community foundations in Canada with total assets exceeding $3.5 billion, and in 2012 they allocated more than $150 million in grant programs to fund various projects.

Community foundations actively support the viability and development of communities through philanthropy. They typically establish appropriate trust funds, provide broad grants, and offer some leadership in their community. Key principles of their work include building community resilience, understanding the community’s current needs, fostering ongoing stakeholder dialogue and inclusion, actively supporting partnerships to address pressing issues, recognizing diversity, and being responsive and accountable.

Readiness to establish a community foundation is determined by the following factors:

Conditions: Community support, the presence of community leaders, resident commitment to fund development, and the availability of initial funding sources are all critical to future success.

Community involvement: Involve many leaders, potential philanthropists, and organize the process through regular public meetings and consultations.

A steering committee is formed from a variety of community representatives, including wealthy residents, those with experience in fundraising, legal and financial practices, and local activists.

Initial tasks include defining the goals of the foundation, its state registration, drafting a charter and applying for a charitable organization status.

The development of the foundation consists in setting ambitious but achievable goals for the endowment and operating funds. The key to long-term success is initial stability. A document should also be developed that outlines the community’s priorities, the role of the foundation’s work in them, and realistic and clear financial plans. This should go a long way in attracting the attention of senior management and potential donors.

The current work is to create endowment funds, as the primary task is to raise financial resources through one-time targeted funds rather than through regular donations. This point requires strategic planning, gradual building of good relationships, and targeted fundraising. It is also necessary to create a formal grant program that includes clear guidelines, descriptions of the application process and follow-up procedures.

A grant program has several components: basic grantmaking principles, approved application procedures, review process algorithms, award procedures, and evaluation systems.