2019 Annual Report

Community Foundations of Canada (CFC) is the national leadership organization for Canada’s 191 local community foundations. Together with foundations from coast to coast to coast, we help drive local solutions to the issues that matter most. 

Welcome to our 2019 Annual Report. To view previous annual reports, click here.


From Our Board Chair

Bill Lockington, Chair

2019 was a pivotal year at Community Foundations of Canada.

Alongside the community foundation network, we advanced important initiatives, built new cross-sector partnerships, and centred our outlook on philanthropy in a shared commitment to “relentlessly pursue a future where everyone belongs”.

As CFC Board Chair, it was a privilege in 2019 to work with inspirational and dedicated community leaders from across the country whose unique insights and diverse perspectives energized our work as governors and enhanced efforts to build a truly pan-Canadian movement.

I would like to convey my sincere thanks to those Directors whose term concluded at the 2019 AGM in June. Their individual and collaborative contributions were significant. We also welcomed three new members who will help guide our work in the years ahead. 

In conjunction with the AGM, June 2019 saw the “All In” Community Foundations Conference welcome over 800 leaders from across Canada and around the world to the unceded Coast Salish Territory of the Lekwungen and Songhees nations in Victoria, British Columbia. Together, we explored what “All In” means in terms of addressing our most imperative issues. With Agenda 2030 and our commitment to Truth and Reconciliation as a compass, the conference charted a course for a bold and globally networked philanthropy, building a future where no one is left behind. 

Throughout the year, the CFC team and community foundation network  implemented many initiatives that strengthened communities from coast to coast to coast. These are highlighted in greater detail in the following report. 

As 2019 wound down, the board thanked out-going President, Ian Bird, for nine dedicated years of leadership at CFC. Having shared many of those years with Ian, I cannot adequately express how grateful CFC and all community foundations are for Ian’s transformative contributions. His belief and commitment to shared leadership ensures an enduring legacy of impact through the continued efforts of all those he inspired and supported during his time at CFC.  

Through a task force-led succession strategy, the Board completed a leadership transition process that welcomed Andrea Dicks as incoming President in early 2020. Andrea is well known to our network and philanthropic organizations both nationally and internationally, and we are fortunate to have the continuity of exceptional CFC leadership.

On behalf of the board, I would like to express our sincere gratitude to all those who are part of the community foundation movement across Canada and around the world. Our interconnectedness and interdependence has never been more important; nor has the value of community leadership. Thank you for all that you do to support and build our communities, nationally, regionally and locally.  

Bill Lockington, Chair

From Our Co-Leaders

Andrea Dicks, President
Andrew Chunilall, CEO

The idea of ‘belonging’ has long been central to the work of community foundations.

As a network, it is our shared call to action, our imperative challenge and our greatest opportunity. It’s a pursuit, not of what it means to ‘fit in’, but of a future for our communities rooted in inclusion, collaboration and equality. 

At Community Foundations of Canada, 2019 was a year defined by this pursuit. Through new programs and partnerships, important investments, and in collaboration with community foundations across Canada and around the world, we deepened our work on ‘belonging’ and leaned into a future for CFC that works in service of it.

Perhaps most significantly, our focus on belonging was crystallized through the adoption of a renewed purpose statement in early 2019, informed by CFC staff and board, community foundations and partners. 

Rooted in three pillars – shifting power, strengthening community, and taking the long view – CFC’s renewed purpose builds on the important role that our network has long played in fostering community vitality through local leadership. At the same time, it responds to important questions about philanthropy and its responsibilities in the face of intractable global challenges with a firm call to shift power, resources and decision-making into the hands of those who know the needs of their communities best. 

With this in mind, we explored as a network what it means to shift power and decolonize philanthropy at “All In”, our biennial conference; we helped launch the Equality Fund to support women’s movements and advance gender equality; we deepened our efforts to support intergenerational equity through the RBC Future Launch Community Challenge, and we advanced critical social finance efforts that demonstrate how we can go all in on the issues that matter most. 

As we reflect on the past year while in the midst of a global pandemic, the groundwork laid in 2019 to deepen our focus on belonging could not have been more timely or relevant; nor could the call for philanthropy to be all in.

Looking forward, the local leadership, collaboration and solidarity that has long defined our network will be needed more than ever as communities work to address the prolonged social and economic impacts of COVID-19. As will bold actions that shift power and activate the full scope of our collective assets in service of a future where everyone belongs.  

Our most significant challenge within a precarious future is centred around our collective ability to reimagine philanthropy’s contributions to society at large. With this, means letting go of the past, leaning into our creativity and advancing a new future built on equality, justice and protecting the earth.

In this challenging time, and at all times, we are deeply grateful for and humbled by the collaboration and the persistence of community foundations across Canada, the insights and contributions of our partners, and the trust and confidence of our board and staff. Our work to “relentlessly pursue a future where everyone belongs” is even more critical now.

Andrew Chunilall, CEO
& Andrea Dicks, President


The RBC Future Launch Community Challenge

Alongside the RBC Foundation and 80 community foundations across Canada, we are supporting 210 youth-led initiatives in small and mid-sized communities across Canada. Over 50,000 youth are expected to participate in the projects, and it’s anticipated that nearly 100,000 more community volunteers will be lending their support. In addition, we also launched the Youth Powering Community online learning program that will be culminating in a multi-day digital conference for youth across Canada. We are now planning towards a virtual youth summit which will take place in mid-September. It will truly be youth-led in that youth are informing the content and facilitation. View our infographic for the #RBCFLCC with program highlights.

The number of youth-led projects supported.
The number of youth leaders engaged.

The Investment Readiness Program

We all want communities where everyone can belong and thrive. The Investment Readiness Program (IRP) is a $50 million national funding program with the Government of Canada that helps social purpose organizations grow. The IRP has already launched its first round of funding, and is preparing for its second. The fund will distributing $10,000 to $100,000 in non-repayable capital to support eligible social enterprises. For this program, we also launched a national application portal and supplementary website.

Equality Fund

In 2019, CFC became one of the founding partners of the Equality Fund, a groundbreaking collaboration that will deliver new momentum for women’s movements in Canada and around the world.We joined the Equality Fund and the Government of Canada on a multi-year collaboration to advance gender equality, known as the Pilot Fund for Gender Equality. Through the Pilot Fund for Gender Equality, 112 projects were supported in 40 communities, highlighting a diversity of efforts and impact areas. 

The number of community foundations involved.
The number of projects being funded.

#AllIn2019: CFC’s annual conference

From June 6-8, 2019, CFC hosted its biennial conference in Victoria, BC alongside host partner, the Victoria Foundation, and our lead partner, Mawer Investment Management.

The 2019 theme, “All In,” addressed challenges with no one-size-fits-all solution but which require meaningful participation, collaboration and trust by all Canadians: young and old; non-Indigenous, Indigenous, and newcomers alike; urban and rural; from east, west, North and everywhere in between. Or in other words, challenges that require us to be ‘All In.’ The conference was designed specifically with community foundations in mind, providing plenty of networking opportunities and cultural activities— this was truly the event of the year.

The number of conference attendees.
The number of sessions and workshops.
The number of inspiring speakers.

Sustainable Development Goals

The Sustainable Development Goals continued to provide an important framework to guide our efforts through 2019. In partnership with the Mott Foundation, we laid the groundwork for our multi-year SDG Learning Institute program. With over 1,700 members, the Alliance 2030 network is connecting Canadian organizations across the country and around the world working to advance the SDGs. Alongside Impact Hub, we expanded our headquarters in Ottawa and launched the National Centre for the Sustainable Development Goals. And, in collaboration with the International Institute for Sustainable Development and community foundations across the country, an SDG-aligned Vital Signs program is providing an important platform to track our progress as we look toward 2030.

Vital Signs

For close to two decades, Vital Signs has played an important role in helping community foundations identify and respond to the issues that matter most in their communities. Today. more than 65 community foundations in Canada and 41 around the world take part, producing Vital Signs reports, hosting “Vital conversations” and more. In 2019, we welcomed Leith Wheeler Investment Counsel as a new multi-year National Vital Signs Partner. Their support has enabled important investments in scaling the Vital Signs program, supporting community foundations in their work locally, and investing in the first stages of a Vital Signs digital platform.

Financial Statements

Partners and Contributors

#AllIn2019 Conference Partners

Amicus | Bromelkamp | Calm | CanadaHelps | Causeview | CIBC | Coast Capital Savings | Foundant Technologies | Global Payment Solutions | Grantbook | Greenshield | Heart Pharmacy | Island Savings | Jarislowsky Fraser Partners Foundation | Leith Wheeler Investment Counsel | Manulife | Manulife Investment Management | Miller Thomson | Charles Stewart Mott Foundation | PwC | RBC | Suncor Energy Foundation | Victoria Native Friendship Centre