By Julia Park

You’ve probably heard of nationwide charities such as Red Cross and the Salvation Army, but have you heard of community foundations?

Before my internship, I was not familiar with community foundations. Upon research, I found that community foundations were not like other charities – they take on a unique philanthropic approach to helping your community.

Community foundations are non-profit charitable organizations that serve to provide aid and improve a certain area such as a city or a county. Community foundations exist in the United Kingdom, United States and Canada. Currently, there are 191 community foundations across Canada, that have the same goal of supporting and making an impact on their respective neighbourhoods.

There are many other aspects of community foundation, but to break it down simply, here are three important facts to know:

  1. Focuses to help in any aspects our community

Uniquely different from other charities, community foundations are not focused on one specific area. They strive to support in all aspects including:

  • Health and social wellbeing
  • Mental wellbeing
  • Environment
  • Education
  • and more!

Community foundations recognize local issues and take initiative to provide aid where attention is needed the most. They support local charities as well, who need financial assistance to fulfill their mission and duties.

  1. Led by your community leaders

Behind every community foundation, there are committee and board members from the local area who volunteer their time and expertise to give back to their community. They are local, professional leaders that govern the foundation and are responsible for making decisions for the better of our community.

  1. Supported by you and others in our community

Community foundations operate through supporters and donors like you. Contributions in ways of monetary, stocks or assets are pooled and invested to be used for community improvements and assistance over time.

There are many ways to make your contribution to the community, including:

  • An existing fund that supports what you’re passionate about (ie. the environment in your neighbourhood);
  • Creating a personal, a friend or a family foundation; and
  • Giving at liberty, where in these cases, community foundations will make decisions on where to make your contributions.

When you’re ready to embark on your philanthropic journey but feeling overwhelmed to choose a cause, how about starting with an organization closest to you?

Here at the Community Foundation of Halton North (CHFN), we strive to provide everlasting support to the caring communities of Halton North.


To learn more, visit our About Us page or contact CFHN’s Executive Director Sue Lawrenson at slawrenson@cfhn.ca or 905-864-9211.