Founded in 1937, we are a private Canadian foundation that supports organizations working to address community resilience, reconciliation, and climate change. Learn more about our mission and vision, how we support change, and the values and principles that underpin our work.
Vision and mission
We envision a future in which our economy and social systems promote the thriving of all people, and in which the natural environment is stewarded for generations to come. We see all sectors working together to address climate change, to help foster reconciliation, and to unleash individual creativity and organizational resources to solve social challenges and strengthen communities.
We strive for a resilient, inclusive and sustainable society that can successfully address its complex challenges.
Our roles in supporting change
McConnell funds initiatives, partnerships and collaboratives that advance lasting solutions to issues of generational significance.
McConnell seeks to activate its investment portfolio to advance change in alignment with our vision and mission. Our goal is to be a net positive force in the world. We seek opportunities to collaborate with partners from all sectors to expand available solution sets, reduce and share risk, and take certain initiatives to scale.
We believe collaboration is needed to effect lasting change. We participate in collaborations led by others, and in some cases take the lead to convene partners to share learnings. We work together to achieve impacts greater than any individual entity could achieve on its own.
Strong core capabilities are needed for social purpose organizations and the nonprofit sector as a whole to thrive. McConnell seeks to add value by supporting learning, leadership development, capability building in key areas, and field-building work.
McConnell seeks to leverage its access to decision-makers in the public, philanthropic and private sectors to amplify the voices and leadership of those most impacted by systemic barriers. We identify opportunities to advocate for policy advancements on key issues of relevance to our focus areas and philanthropic mission.
We form relationships grounded in open communication and shared learning. We ask questions, challenge assumptions, and seek insights to improve our work, that of our partners, and our collective efforts.
Values and principles
Our values and principles are the cultural bedrock of our organization. Our values inform how we develop strategies and make decisions, and our principles are how we put these values into action.
In addition to our organizational values, McConnell is also a signatory to the Philanthropic Community’s Declaration of Action. As the Declaration states: “We thank the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for inviting us into this circle that is built on the seven sacred lessons of: Truth, Humility, Honesty, Respect, Courage, Wisdom and Love. These teachings are consistent with our collective purposes, principles and missions.”
Values & principles
Community and equity
We seek to understand and serve the needs of communities — groups who share common needs and goals, whether defined by geography, identity, or other commonalities — with a priority placed on listening to and responding to the needs of equity-deserving groups.
Equity means fairness and justice in the way people are treated, respecting diversity and acknowledging that we do not all start from the same place and not that everyone wants to arrive at the same place.
Collaboration allows everyone to create more effective solutions than we would in isolation. Effective partnerships require mutual exploration and discovery. We rely on the insight and expertise of our partners, complementing it where we are best able, to help increase their capacity and empower them to succeed.
Valuing community and equity means that we will take a collaborative approach and take steps to place power in the hands of partners.
Humility is a state of remaining respectful and open and listening to voices of lived experience. It is about how you show up.
We are fortunate to work closely with respected public, private and non-profit leaders, but always remember that while we enjoy the opportunity to think big and advance transformative change, we are never bigger than our partners and those we serve.
Listen to, respect and amplify the voices of partners in charities, non-profits and communities. Do not seek the spotlight but rather to amplify and lift up our partners and the communities they serve.
Trust that our partners are the experts in their fields, and possess knowledge based in experience that must be heard and respected. Operate with an understanding that there are people who know better than we do. True partnership is a trust-based reciprocal relationship, in which we value what community partners can bring to the table.
To possess and consistently embody a strong code of ethics and moral principles. Integrity means never compromising when it comes to core values.
Being responsible and making sure there is alignment in our ways of working, including coordination and alignment internally across departments, processes and systems. We must use all the tools at our disposal to elevate the support we can provide to our partners.
A great deal of awareness, responsibility and diligence are required in every choice we make. We must also remain coherent and consistent in our approach. Our choices must be guided by our mission, vision and values, and a sense of the impacts and potential impacts of our actions.
Courage means embracing the unknown. Learning something new sometimes requires pushing your limits and venturing into unchartered territory. In our mission to enact lasting, transformative change, we embrace the need to think boldly guided by our mission and vision — and to uncover insights in both our successes and our failures. This means having the courage to change with lessons learned, and to make tough decisions when called to do so.
Having the courage of our convictions means we must be creative, open and curious.
Creativity is the spark that turns a willingness to take risks into innovation. Openness means remaining open to change and not being stagnant. Curiosity means operating at the edge of things, and remaining ahead of the curve, a trademark of McConnell’s way of working.
We must stand firm when our mission and values demand that we do so.
We value taking the long view when it comes to impact, operations and processes. And we evolve in response to evolving needs and expanding awareness.
As part of our commitment to Truth and Reconciliation, we are committed to operate in alignment with United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and be responsible to future generations. This aligns with the Iroquois principle of the Seventh Generation, in which the decisions we make today must be sustainable for this generation and the seven generations to come.
Sustainability is at the core of McConnell’s mission. As a Foundation with a long history, to act as responsible stewards means not only environmental sustainability, but organizational durability.
For McConnell, sustainability acknowledges limitations at the individual, social and global level, and aligns human activities within environmental limits. Societies are sustainable when they protect the environment, embrace diversity, push for economic security, create fair opportunities, and aim to reduce inequalities. They are fed by their members’ active participation and sense of obligation to future generations, as applied through long-term equitable stewardship.
Associations and commitments
The McConnell Foundation is a member of several associations and affinity groups. Membership in these groups help us to collaborate with other funders, expand our understanding of the issues facing the sector and enhance our impact.
The Ceres Investor Network includes more than 220 institutional investors working to advance sustainable investment practices, engage with corporate leaders, and advocate for key policy and regulatory solutions to accelerate the transition to a just, sustainable, net zero emissions economy.
The Circle transforms philanthropy and contributes to positive change between Philanthropy and Indigenous communities by creating spaces of learning, innovation, relationship-building, co-creation, and activation.
Confluence is an international organization, whose members represent a diversity of institutions, charitable asset types, personal and professional roles, and programmatic missions, but who share a commitment to values aligned investing.
CREO connects like-minded and aligned investors, facilitating information ﬂow, and fostering collaboration to accelerate capital deployment at scale. As a member, McConnell has access to a global community of investors that provide opportunities to partner and invest in climate and sustainability solutions.
A national charitable organization working — often in partnership with the private sector, governments and individuals — to ensure that charities continue to play a pivotal role in building, enriching and defining our nation.
The Peace Network for Social Harmony, created in 2009, is a group of philanthropic foundations, institutional actors, corporate members and individuals committed to peace, non-violence, and an inclusive and open-minded society. The Network focuses on healthy and harmonious relationships in communities and on collaboration among stakeholders to foster the emergence of a stronger voice for “peace in action.”
As the world’s leading proponent of responsible investment, PRI supports its international network of investor signatories to incorporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into their investment and ownership decisions.
The CISCC recognizes the catalyzing impact that investment assets can have on climate change and identifies actions investors can take to accelerate the transition to a net-zero economy. This includes requirements for our investees as well as standards and processes for investment practices.
PAR is a certification offered by the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business that confirms corporate performance in Indigenous relations. Certified companies promote their level with a PAR logo signaling to communities that they are good business partners, great places to work and committed to prosperity in Indigenous communities.
Le Collectif is a group of Quebec foundations that believe that while governments have a duty to reduce inequalities, philanthropy has a complementary responsibility to curb rising inequality, contribute to a just and fair recovery and build more resilient systems.
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