J.W. McConnell Family Foundation

La Fondagtion de la Famille J.W. McConnell

  • Vision: Our vision at the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation is a Canada where all people feel a sense of belonging and contribute as active citizens to improving the well-being of all.
  • Mission: The Foundation is a private family foundation funding programs to foster a more innovative, inclusive, sustainable, and resilient Canada … (about 1/2 Vision, Mission).

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Address: The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, 1002 Sherbrooke W., Suite 1800, Montreal, Québec H3A 3L6, Canada;

About 2/2 the Foundation: … Established in 1937 by John Wilson McConnell (1877-1963), The J.W. McConnell Foundation grew out of Mr. McConnell’s deep commitment to the public good and his lifelong involvement with charitable work in Canada.  

Renamed The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation following his death, the core purpose of the Foundation has remained constant since its founding: to improve the quality of life in Canada by building communities that help people develop their potential and contribute to the common good. Over the years, our approach to this work has evolved; for the past two decades the Foundation has maintained a national focus, and many of its programs operate country-wide.

The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation remains a private family foundation: the Board of Trustees is comprised of family members who set policy and assure the Foundation’s good governance. The Foundation has a small staff based in Montreal.

History – The Seed of an Idea to Support Communities:

The McConnell Foundation, established in 1937, was the second family foundation created in Canada, following the Massey Foundation. It was run by the founder with the help of a secretary. The grants it made reflected long-standing interests and commitments of J.W. McConnell, including McGill University and its affiliated hospitals (notably the Montreal Neurological Institute), the YMCA, Salvation Army, Old Brewery Mission, the Victorian Order of Nurses and a number of churches and agencies ministering to Montrealers in need.

Some of the organizations that received support in 1937 continue to be recipients of Foundation grants to the present day. The Foundation provided space for what would become the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve and Pointe St. Charles YMCA facilities, and was a prime sponsor of the construction of Place-des-Arts. Granting was mainly in the Montreal region, the province of Quebec and the Maritimes (grants to Montreal-based recipients represented 85-90 percent of total grant amounts until the early 1980s).

After McConnell’s death in 1963, the family wished to continue his work and renamed the foundation The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, whose Board of Trustees would comprise direct descendants of the founder.

In its early years, grants were usually for capital campaigns, primarily university and hospital buildings and medical equipment. McConnell’s longstanding interest in supporting programs for young people was maintained through regular grants to the YMCA, the Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs and summer camps, but there were also major contributions to homes for the elderly.

By 1974, total grants made by the Foundation passed the $100 million mark. The Foundation was a mainstay for many important health, educational and cultural organizations and institutions in Montreal, but it had also innovated in funding new programs such as the pioneering Palliative Care Centre at the Royal Victoria Hospital.

National Perspective: … (full long text).

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