From Our Board Chair
2020 was a year of tremendous change, uncertainty and perseverance.
These past twelve months, community foundations showed up with great strength when called upon to support communities dealing with the impacts of COVID-19. Through establishing emergency funds, flowing grants swiftly to those who needed it, convening community conversations, and much more, community foundations worked hard to adapt to the urgent and evolving needs of the pandemic. Our experience in 2020 has shown us that COVID-19 did not impact all Canadians equally and together we supported projects designed to help communities experiencing heightened vulnerability during this crisis.
This is my first year as chair of the Community Foundations of Canada Board of Directors, and it has amplified my appreciation and admiration for our team. We have an inspirational group of people who worked hard to meet the challenges of such an unprecedented year.
I would like to convey my sincere thanks to departing board members, Victoria Grant and Julia Sanchez, whose term concluded at the 2020 AGM. Their commitment and service to CFC and community philanthropy were exemplary. In 2020, we welcomed Corey Mattie to our Board, who has brought new energy and perspectives to our work.
Our Board thanks the CFC staff and leadership for continually driving our network forward, building new relationships with partners and community leaders from across sectors, advancing important conversations about gender equality, anti-racism, equitable recovery, and Indigenous-led response efforts, and for pursuing opportunities that help position our communities towards a future where everyone belongs.
On behalf of the Board, I share our appreciation for the great privilege to collaborate with leaders from across Canada in service of our movement. As we look to the year ahead, I extend to all of you, our sincere gratitude and best wishes.
Rasool Rayani, Chair
From Our Co-Leaders
To say this past year has been challenging would be an understatement. For family and friends, in schools and places of work, and throughout our communities, the profound impacts of COVID-19 have run deep and the gaps faced by those experiencing vulnerability have only widened.
In community, this has spurred incredible acts of kindness and bold calls for transformation from local leaders on and off the frontlines. Growing inequality and systemic racism, made more visible this past year, was met by movements demanding justice and equality, reminding us that our purpose — “Relentlessly pursue a future where everyone belongs” — has never been more salient nor challenging.
In response, community foundations stepped up, amplifying the role of community-based organizations and removing barriers for those disproportionately affected by the pandemic. As a network, we worked together at an unprecedented scale and pace, leveraging community knowledge to respond to an emergency, while investing in a more resilient and equitable future.
The Emergency Community Support Fund (ECSF) alone saw 176 community foundations support almost 5,000 projects from coast to coast to coast. Partnerships like ECSF and those listed through this report, stand as examples of the generosity and collaborative spirit that has defined community foundation philanthropy in Canada for the past century.
Through this year, we’ve seen a glimpse of the future of community philanthropy; one that builds on these strengths by shifting power and capital and placing equity at its core. This philanthropy is one that requires all of us to reimagine our institutions and ensure that those historically excluded from the decision making table are at its centre. The conditions for a just recovery hinge on this critical work.
In 2021, we mark and celebrate the centenary of Canada’s first community foundation, The Winnipeg Foundation; a milestone for our network and a moment to both honor the past and look toward the future. As we do, we draw courage and inspiration from the idea that sparked our movement 100 years ago: a brighter future will be driven by community.
We are deeply grateful for the leadership and tireless efforts of community foundation staff, board, and volunteers across the country, and for the vision, dedication and contributions of our team, board and partners.
Andrew Chunilall, CEO
& Andrea Dicks, President
This past year, alongside community foundations and partners, CFC worked to strengthen community, respond to COVID-19 and advance a more equitable and sustainable future.
Together, we launched a number of initiatives that show us what we can achieve when we work together as a movement. Here are a few of the ways we ensured critical programs in 2020 were driven by community.
The Emergency Community Support Fund provided emergency funding to almost 5,000 projects, each providing essential support in areas including social inclusion, physical and mental health and food security for people experiencing heightened vulnerability.
Our three part National Vital Signs report: “Power, Peace, Planet”, we saw that belonging is impossible without gender equality. Alongside community foundations, through Communities for Gender Equality, we provided support to 198 projects working to ensure justice and opportunity for women, girls, Two-Spirit and gender-diverse people.
Round 1 of the Investment Readiness Program supported 257 social purpose organizations working to build inclusive and sustainable communities. Collectively these organizations are advancing all 17 of the Sustainable Development Goals.
The Queen Elizabeth Scholars (QES) program continued to offer emerging global leaders opportunities to strengthen community through research and engagement. Since inception in 2015, QES has supported 2231 scholars in 73 countries in collaboration with 46 Canadian universities thanks to the generous support of partners, including the Victor Dahdaleh Foundation, the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).
The RBC Future Launch Community Challenge connected youth with their community foundation in 180 communities from coast to coast to coast. Together, through 210 youth-led initiatives young leaders across the country are advancing solutions to pressing local issues and responding to COVID-19.
Through partnerships like the Indigenous Peoples Resilience Fund, CFC joined community foundations and private foundations in deepening its efforts to shift power and capital, in line with the Philanthropic Community’s Declaration of Action.
The Learning Institute provided regular opportunities for shared learning and connection across our network. Through new resources, direct support, and close to 80 webinars and online learning opportunities for community foundation staff, board and fundholders, we continue to learn and grow together.