Our Granting Philosophy
The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation engages Canadians in building a more innovative, inclusive, sustainable, and resilient society.
The Foundation's purpose is to bolster Canada’s ability to address complex social, environmental and economic challenges. We accomplish this by developing, testing and applying innovative approaches and solutions; by strengthening the community sector; and by collaborating with partners in the community, private and public sectors. We recognize that creating enduring change takes time, and involves more than granting. In our areas of focus, we also carry out leadership development, support knowledge creation and dissemination, and more recently, make program-related investments.
National focus and community involvement
As a national funder in Canada, our focus is on projects and initiatives that extend to all regions of the country, or that address issues from a national perspective. In considering new proposals we ask: what impact will this have on communities across Canada?
Canada’s geographic reach and cultural diversity afford opportunities for learning from the application of new ideas in different settings. Therefore, we sometimes prototype new programs at multiple sites in order to shape a national initiative. Several of our initiatives support efforts to address issues like poverty or sustainability at the community level, while sharing lessons learned with other project sites across the country. We also support dissemination of locally generated solutions that have demonstrated potential to benefit communities elsewhere.
Partnership and Social Innovation
We often structure our work as "social innovation" – defined as the application of "new ideas that address pressing unmet needs." The Social Innovation Generation (SiG) partnership , which we co-founded in 2006, complements the Foundation’s capacity to address complex challenges with the skills and perspectives of leaders and institutions in the community, public, private and academic sectors. SiG’s outward focus is on creating greater capacity for social innovation in Canadian society.