Stories we loved in 2016Wednesday, December 21st, 2016 | David Venn
We hope you enjoy this look back at some of the stories we loved from across our community foundation movement in 2016.
We engaged in a collective effort alongside the Canadian government, private sector and community organizations to help welcome and support refugee families arriving from Syria. 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 million to local organizations helping government-sponsored refugees settle in 27 communities across the country by investing in everything from rent subsidies to emergency loan funds to mental health care.
We launched the Community Fund for Canada’s 150th – a national initiative to support local projects that build community and encourage engagement in our sesquicentennial. The collaborative effort, seeded by the Government of Canada and delivered locally by community foundations, has so far supported over 500 projects in more than 200 communities throughout Canada with more activation set for 2017.
In the wake of the Northern Alberta wildfires, community foundations across the province pooled their resources together to support the long-term rebuilding and recovery efforts in Fort McMurray through a new Rebuilding Fort McMurray Fund.
With Universities Canada and the Rideau Hall Foundation we expanded the scope and reach of the Queen Elizabeth Scholars program thanks to contributions from IDRC to offer more international educational experiences for students, while building a dynamic community of young global leaders rooted in the ideals of inclusiveness and collaboration.
We continued our shared efforts to strengthen the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, contribute to meaningful Reconciliation, and foster a greater sense of belonging in our communities – from Truth and Reconciliation conversations in Temagami, to a Walk for Wenjack in Kenora, to an Arctic expedition visiting Canada’s North with Students on Ice.
With contributions from Unifor, community foundations in Calgary, Peterborough and Thunder Bay also engaged with the 4Rs Youth Movement to support three youth-led Reconciliation gatherings that brought together Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth for dialogue, relationship building and cultural exchange.
We mobilized community knowledge through our Vital Signs program to inspire civic engagement and provide focus for public debate in our communities and around the world. Thirty-four Canadian communities, and another 23 internationally, participated in this year’s program, culminating with the early October release of local reports measuring community vitality.
CFC also published two national Vital Signs reports continuing our multi-year exploration on belonging. One in partnership with the True Sport Foundation that took a closer look at connection between sport and belonging, the other exploring how belonging and social participation are the keys to community vitality.
Community foundation leaders from Vancouver and Halifax participated in the ALT/Now: Economic Inequality program at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, an innovative learning and leadership experience to tackle the challenge of widening economic inequality in our communities.
The 150Alliance held gatherings in St. John’s, Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Richmond and Montreal, connecting community foundations with local groups looking to make the most of Canada’s 150th. CBC/Radio-Canada also became an Official Partner with Community Foundations of Canada and the 150Alliance to deepen its connection with Canadian communities.
CKX continued to spark fundamental shifts in how we build and share knowledge in the pursuit of social change with the launch of the CKX City Series – supported by Manulife Asset Management – that touched down in Halifax and Vancouver bringing together leaders and changemakers from the public, private and philanthropic sectors. CKX also launched the CKX Canadian Philanthropy Fellowship in partnership with community, private and family foundations.