Find an overview of the field and discover what you need to know about Private Foundations for nonprofit funding in Canada with ABCD.

Guide to Private Foundations for Nonprofit Funding in Canada

In our last post, we covered grant support for NPOs, including public and private Foundations for nonprofit funding in Canada. Today, we want to expand on Private Foundations, and share some Canadian philanthropies ABCD believes to have the greatest impact. 

At ABCD, we not only provide database solutions for nonprofits. We also want to ensure nonprofits have all the tools and resources they require. This includes knowledge of funding opportunities, grantmaking, and Public / Private Foundations for nonprofit funding in Canada.

Private Foundations help give nonprofits a voice, inspire action, and raise awareness about their impact on local and global communities. Some of these are family or independently owned, while others are corporate Foundations or giving programs.

Read on for an overview of Canadian organized philanthropy, including Private Foundations for nonprofit funding in Canada.

Private Foundations vs Public Charities in Canada

First, let’s distinguish the types of foundations in Canada. Foundations are registered as charities. In Canada, there are three types of charities:

  • Private Foundations
  • Public Foundations
  • Charitable Organizations

Canadian Foundations are a diverse group of funders. Foundations contribute close to 6 billion dollars annually to qualified donees across the country. And while both public and private Foundations exist to serve the public good, they differ in how they operate and are governed.

A private Foundation is a not-for-profit entity, generally created by a single benefactor, often an individual or business. Public Foundations on the other hand, operate on funding or support from the public.

This funding comes through grants from individuals, governments, and private Foundations. Some Public Foundations also provide grants, although this is not primarily within their domain as it is for Private Foundations. Rather, most Public Foundations provide direct service or other tax-exempt activities.

How to discover Private Foundations in Canada

There’s no better place to begin your research than Philanthropic Foundations Canada (PFC). PFC is a member association of grantmakers, including private and public Foundations, charities and corporations.

This Foundation provides unique perspectives and approaches to grantmaking, Foundation governance, and up-to-date sector data and strategies. Moreover, they help nonprofits connect with a wider network of philanthropists, and to find funding for social work and initiatives.

In fact, we’ve just gone through their membership of private Foundations, and we found five we believe are worth sharing. Just like with PFC, each of these Foundations promote growth and development for grantmakers through membership services, resources, and advocacy.

Muttart Foundation (Edmonton)

screenshot of Muttart Foundation (Edmonton)

Since 1953, the Muttart Foundation of Edmonton has been strengthening the charitable section in Canada. The Foundation was incorporated as a private charitable Foundation by Merril and Gladys Muttart. It supports charities primarily in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

The Muttart Foundation’s mission includes undertaking and funding its own program activities and initiatives. It also encompasses granting programs, with funding under the Bursary and Training programs available to social service charities and early childhood care and education.

Beyond these roles, the Foundation also offers assistance by providing various publications relating to the information needs of the sector.  

Helderleigh Foundation (Toronto)

Next, there’s the Helderleigh Foundation of Toronto. This Foundation aims to improve the diet, physical health and wellness of Canadians. In fact, they are Canada’s leading Foundation solely dedicated to boosting food and media literacy in children.

Established in 1992, the Helderleigh Foundation is a small philanthropic private Foundation, located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Their partners include reputable organizations who conduct research and implement programming. 

Primarily, the Foundation funds multi-year agreements with colleges, universities, associations, and social enterprises. If this might be an opportunity for your nonprofit, have a look at the types of initiatives the Helderleigh Foundation funds.  

McConnell Foundation (Montreal)

Then, we have the McConnell Foundation (Montreal). This Foundation aims to ensure economic and social systems advance the well-being of Canadians, in which the natural environment is stewarded for future generations.

In line with this, they are committed to reconciliation between Indegenous and non-Indegenous peoples. They seek to foster creativity and resources of individuals and organizations from all sectors to solve social problems.

The McConnell Foundation was established in 1937 as the second family Foundation created in Canada. Run by J.W. McConnell, early grants showed his enduring interests and commitments. These included McGill University and its affiliate hospitals, the YMCA, Salvation Army, and more.

Catherine Donnelly Foundation (Toronto)

catherine donnelly foundation banner

The Catherine Donnelly Foundation supports bold and innovative initiatives for advocating and pioneering new strategies. They aim to advance the interests of those most marginalized in Canadian society, and those which further ecological justice.

This Foundation promotes positive change through funding a combination of programs and projects in their primary areas of support. These include Environment, Housing, Adult Education, and impact investing.

The Catherine Donnelly Foundation at present reviews grant applications twice annually. They determine the success of applications based on its committee’s recommendations. If you’d like to learn more, visit the Catherine Donnelly Foundation’s grant application process.

Trico Foundation (Calgary)

In December of 2008, Wayne and Elanor Chiu established the Trico Foundation. The Foundation focus is on social entrepreneurship and the need for creative solutions to encourage sustainability in Canada’s non-profit sector.

The Trico Foundation works with enterprising nonprofits, Futurepreneur, and the Social EnterPrize World Forum. In this capacity, the Foundation continues to learn, challenge assumptions, and find inspiration through everybody on-team and in the community.

If looking for support, research the Trico Foundation’s programs to see if they’d be the right fit for your nonprofit funding in Canada. 

Want to discover more? 

With so many Private Foundations for nonprofit funding in Canada, there are resources available for any and every kind of social work. No matter the sector of your nonprofit, you have a wealth of Foundations looking to aid organizations with demonstrable impact.

At ABCD, we’re here to make life easier for nonprofits. Whether it’s the technology and tools they need for their social good agency, or information to find funding for your projects. Simply dive into the ABCD blog to discover our work, or contact us today for more information.

ABCD is ready to not only get you off the ground, but also to support your efforts along the way. Reach out to ABCD to discover more private foundations for nonprofit funding, or to book a demo of our software today.