Our History

The Guelph Community Foundation, federally incorporated in 1999 as a registered charitable public foundation, began its operation in 2000 with $13,000 in donations. The first fund to be established was the William K. Greenaway and Anne C. Bawden Fund, supporting our broad community as an unrestricted fund. “We are proof that people need not be fabulously wealthy to establish a named fund and we decided not to specify the use of the fund as the needs and priorities of the community are bound to change over time”, states Bill Greenaway, Founding Board Member and first fund holder of The Foundation.
The Founders Circle, are the first donors who launched The Guelph Community Foundation - they were comprised of 40 individuals and corporations in our community. “We wanted to offer a unique way for caring people to fulfill their charitable interests and strengthen our community”, states Ken Hammill, Guelph resident and Founder of The Guelph Community Foundation.
Today, The Guelph Community Foundation is home to over 140 funds. Total funds under administration are $13.3 million with over $10 million in permanent endowed assets. Most importantly, we have distributed over $5.9 million in grants to over 800 charitable initiatives since our founding in 2000.


2017: Our largest granting year with over $704,000 granted to the community. Released our third Vital Signs Report, with over 139 funds and $14.4 million total assests under management.

 We collaborated with Community Foundations of Canada and the Government of Canada to support grass roots programming in preparation for Canada's 150th anniversary.  We now have a total of 133 funds.  We manage over $14 million, with over $10 million in permanent endowed assets. 

2015: GCF moved to our current street level location at 46 Cork Street East with $559,890 granted to the community.  We added 14 new funds to our portfolio, and now manage $13.3 million in total dollars. In 2015 we celebrated our 15th Anniversary with a gala that raised $50,000. 

2014: Nine new funds were added to our Family of Funds. Creation of a new Stabilization Policy is in place.  New partnerships with The OakTree Project and Guelph Gives.

: Over $460,000 is granted out to the community. Pat McCraw, Founding Board Member & Grants Committee Member receives The Caring Canadian Award. Executive Director, Chris Willard joins The Foundation.
2012: Over $265,000 is granted out to the community. Canada officially designates November 15th as National Philanthropy Day. Two of The Foundation's original Founders receive the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Award: Ken Hammill, Founding Chair & Honourary Board Member; and Pat McCraw, Founding Board Member & Grants Committee Member.

2011: Grants to the community are now over the $2 million mark and have had substantial impact in our community. With Guelph being the 5th fastest growing City in Canada, it presents change, emerging needs and new opportunities. Growing the GCF Community Fund becomes even more important to support charitable programs that support the entire community. Our 2nd Random Act of Kindness Day is launched with a flashmob in downtown Guelph.

2010: The Foundation celebrates its 10th anniversary. Permanent endowment funds grow by 27% and we receive over $1.3 million in gifts of securities. Our first Random Act of Kindness Day is launched. 

2009: Released our second Vital Signs report. In response to Vital Signs, The Foundation granted $50,000 to Building Vital Communities, a grant program developed to reduce poverty in Guelph and Wellington County. In Fall 2010, an additional $20,000 was granted to further support this initiative.

2008: Launched our first Vital Signs report ... to help measure the health of our community and better inform us in our grant making, highlight issues and opportunities for donors, and serve as a guidepost for conversations and plans.

2007: Our largest granting year with total grants over $630,000 to 110 community organizations.

2006: The elimination of capital gains tax on gifts of appreciated securities stimulated charitable giving. In just four years following this federal change, The Guelph Community Foundation received over $1.5 million in gifts of securities.

2005: Received our largest bequest gift of $1 million from the late Normal Earl Webb. Our community will benefit from Mr. Webb’s generosity forever.
2005: The Musagetes Fund reaches over $1.5 million and still, to this day, remains our largest endowed fund supporting arts and culture with over $220,000 in grants.