About Community Foundations

Community Foundations bring together people who care about their communities. They are independent, volunteer-driven, charitable organizations that aim to strengthen their communities by facilitating philanthropy, by partnering with donors to build permanent endowments and other funds from which they support community projects, and by providing leadership on issues of broad community concern.

The Community Foundation movement is global. The number of Community Foundations has nearly doubled in the past 10 years and there are now over 1600 Community Foundations worldwide. Though all Community Foundations in Canada and worldwide operate with a similar model, we are all separate, independent Foundations.


The First Community Foundation: Cleveland, 1914

The first community foundation was established in Cleveland, Ohio by Frederick Harris Goff, partner in a local law firm who became interested in philanthropy through his work as an estate lawyer.

Also president of the Cleveland Trust Company, Goff launched The Cleveland Foundation in 1908. The Foundation functioned and grew as the collector for perpetual endowments, funded primarily through estate bequests.

Interest earnings from the invested endowments were disbursed to various charitable organizations by a distribution committee appointed for that purpose.


The Idea Comes to Canada

From 1915 to 1930, the community foundation concept spread to many other centres in the United States and crossed the border into Canada.

Canada's first community foundation was incorporated in Winnipeg in 1921.

Like our Foundation, it was started with a $100,000 donation - from W.F. (Bill) Alloway, founder of the private bank, Alloway and Champion.

Today, Winnipeg's is Canada's second largest community foundation, with assets exceeding $300 million.

The end of World War II heralded an era of accelerated growth and broadened sponsorship for all kinds of community organizations, including community foundations.


Today in Canada

More than 190 community foundations now operate across the country.

Collective assets top $3.5 billion with annual funding disbursements reaching $150 million.

Community Foundations commonly experience cycles of growth, stabilization, static activity, decline, and astonishing resurgence.

The Edmonton Community Foundation provides an example.

Established in 1971, it languishing until 1989. Reborn and galvanized to action, three years of reorganizing and rebuilding - included going back to square one and re-incorporating - brought together prominent Edmonton business and community leaders whose $15 million in gifts and pledges restarted the Foundation with a bang.

The Edmonton foundation now manages assets totaling more than $300 million.

It's a stroy repeated to higher and lesser degrees among community foundations according to their community base, ecconomic circumstances, and determination to work at their mission and purposes.

 


Community Foundations of Canada - Our Umbrella

The concept of a national network began evolving in 1988 and was four years in the making

The first national conference of community foundations occurred in October 1990 and brought together representatives of ten Canadian cities. The enthusiastic gathering produced eight national objectives and the appointment of a steering committee.

The second such conference, held in Winnipeg on May 1, 1992, officially incorporated Community Foundations of Canada as the national network center, support, and resource agency for all Canadian Community Foundations. The move stimulated nationwide interest.

The creation of new community foundations and the development of existing ones is among the fastest growing and most dynamic networking systems in Canada.

It represents a concept with solid appeal to communities seeking to become more self-reliant and less dependent on tax-related support. And it works.

Our movement has grown dramatically. More than 90% of Canadian communities have access to a community foundation.

 


What We Do

We bring people and resources together throughout Lennox and Addington in 5 fundamental ways to build better the localities in which we live, work, and play.

  • We seek out, attract, and work with out donors to create and build endowment funds that ensure vital futures for our communities and residents.
  • We bring together people and agencies from all parts of our County to educate, stimulate ideas and involvement, build partnerships, encourage active participation, and strengthen community philanthropy.
  • We build and prudently invest permanent endowments and other types of gifts to support and grow the work of registered charities.
  • We provide and manage flexible opportunities and apply our expertise to help different donors achieve their particular charitable goals.
  • We facilitate giving at all levels and vigorously promote philanthropy.

In short... We lead, example, market, engage, and work for the finer elements of our shared humanity.