Reflections on incubating the Rideau Hall FoundationFriday, October 16th, 2015 | Ian Bird
Two years ago, Community Foundations of Canada (CFC) and our community foundation network were invited to be among the organizations playing 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 smarter and more caring communities.
Looking back now, I can see why we jumped at the chance to help. The vision and leadership of our Governor General comes first to mind, of course. How could we widen the circle of giving in Canada? Promote a culture of innovation? Develop new avenues for learning? Re-introduce Canadians to our unique system of governance? This clarity of purpose brought together energetic partners and possibilities.
The Rideau Hall Foundation was also setting out in the same spirit that many community foundations tap into as they get started. It had chosen to involve many Canadians in its development, to listen to their hopes and aspirations for our country, and to find some early ways in which we could bring resources together around some of the best ideas and important challenges.
It’s been an honour for CFC and Canada’s network of 191 community foundations to be one of many voices and partners around a very large table at Rideau Hall and to work alongside the skilled and dedicated staff at the Governor General’s office. It’s also given us an insight into our own capabilities as a movement, one that can incubate and develop new opportunities with others for the greater good. Thank you to all of you who have helped along the way.
Today, our good friend and partner from the YMCA movement, Scott Haldane, was appointed as the first President and CEO of the Rideau Hall Foundation. Those of us who have worked with Scott in building community vitality in Montreal, Hamilton or Toronto, and then across the country with YMCA Canada know that this is an inspired appointment – a leader, a collaborator, and an innovator with unbounded passion for Canada and its many diverse communities.
I know that under Scott’s leadership, the Foundation will continue to be a gathering place for Canadians to work with and for one another, and we will find new ways to support his leadership in the run up to the milestone year of 2017. Congratulations Scott and welcome aboard!