ECF Turns 25

Edmonton Community Foundation (ECF) has been building bridges between donors’ wishes with the needs of charities for 25 years. Here you will find 25 fun fact about ECF and what we do to help create and maintain a strong, vibrant community for generations to come.

What is ECF?

ECF is a charitable organization that helps donors achieve their philanthropic dreams through the power of endowment funds. Each year 4 per cent of these investments are granted to organizations and causes that are important to our donors. To date ECF oversees more than $400 million in assets and has granted more than $132 million to the community since 1989.

What ECF does:


  • choices to donors on how to make their gift, how that gift might be recognized, and what charitable causes they may wish to support.
  • added value to the clients of Professional Advisors
  • financial support for a wide variety of charitable causes and programs.
  • broad-based expertise throughout the charitable sector and community initiatives.

How ECF got its start:

ECF was enabled through the Edmonton Community Foundation Act passed by the Legislative Assembly of Alberta in 1971. The Foundation became truly active in 1989, with the investment of $15 million by John and Barbara Poole, George and Rae Poole, and Robert and Shirley Stollery on behalf of their families. In its first year ECF granted more than $1 million to 60 different agencies.

Agencies served

Since 1989 ECF has provided grants to over 1,200 agencies.

Who does ECF grant to?

ECF accepts applications from registered Canadian charities through its Community Grants Program. ECF also supports students through its Student Awards Program which makes up about 6% of the funds distributed each year. Donations are always welcome.

Community Grants Program

Registered Charities can apply for funding through ECF’s Community Grants Program. ECF uses a competitive process to determine the most crucial community needs. This innovative and responsive approach ensures a high level of rigour is applied to all applications and offers accountability to donors.

Student Awards Programs

ECF oversees more than $17 million to help students pursue post-secondary education. These programs support a diverse range of students from young, aspiring musicians to older students returning to upgrade their skills. ECF’s largest student awards program is the Belcourt Brosseau Mtis Awards.

Belcourt Brosseau Mtis Awards

With an initial $3 million endowment, Georges Brosseau and cousins Orval and Herb Belcourt founded the Belcourt Brosseau Metis Awards (BBMA) in 2001. Since then, more than $4.8 Million has been awarded to over 800 Mtis youth who are pursuing post-secondary education. The fund now sits at $14 million making the BBMA the largest student award fund that ECF manages.

Community Scholarships

Community Scholarships are awarded to Edmonton area residents in financial need who have demonstrated community leadership and volunteerism, and are pursuing a program of study that will enhance their ability to contribute to the non-profit sector in Edmonton. These awards range for $1,500 to $4,500.

Community Investment Partnership (CIP)

Twice a year ECF utilizes its in-depth knowledge of community needs to produce the CIP booklet which is distributed to donors. Donors may choose to fund the timely and innovative projects presented in the booklet through their donor advised funds. CIP helps ECF meet community needs by mobilizing a larger pool of resources.

Community Play Space Program

ECF distributes approximately $30,000 annually to the Community Play Space Program. The program supports the creation or redevelopment of public use community playgrounds and parks in greater Edmonton. The program is intended as a small source of assistance that may leverage matching funds from a wide variety of other sources.

Young Edmonton Grants (YEG)

YEG applications are reviewed and vetted by the YEG Advisory Committee made up of six Edmonton area youth. The program supports activities that are initiated, led, and organized by by Edmonton and area residents between the ages of 13-22. From zombie walks to film projects, YEG helps Edmonton youth turn their ideas into reality with the support of our generous donors.

Endowment Sustainability Program (ESP)

ESP empowers local charities to invest in their own long-term financial support through the power of endowment. ECF partners with local charities to help them reach out to potential donors to create permanent support through will and estate plans.

Vital Signs

Vital Signs is an annual check-up of the community conducted by ECF in partnership with the Edmonton Social Planning Council. The goal is to measure how Edmonton compares in different areas to national averages. In 2013, the topic was food security. Visit our website to see what ECF discovered.

Wills Week

Every October, ECF presents Wills Week as a way for the public to learn how to create and maintain an up-to-date will from reputable volunteer estate lawyers.

Edmonton and Area Land Trust (EALT)

The EALT was formed in 2007 to conserve the natural ecosystems and cultural heritage landscapes in the Edmonton area. As of Feb. 1, 2014 EALT stewards 5 properties totaling 996 acres. Although these properties were appraised at millions by professionals, they are literally priceless! ECF manages over $3.11 million dollars in endowment funds designated to EALT.

The Stollery Charitable Foundation

Works closely with ECF and resides in the ECF office. Founded by Robert and Shirley Stollery in 1994, as a private family foundation that provides funds to local registered charities helping people in Edmonton and Kamloops, where members of the Stollery family reside.

Social Enterprise Fund (SEF)

In 2008, SEF was launched through a unique collaboration between the City of Edmonton and ECF. SEF provides loans to help put dreams to work. By providing organizations with flexible financing, SEF is helping agencies create or expand strong, sustainable business ventures, and to focus on a sustainable business model. Since its inception, the SEF has loaned just over $10 million with more than twenty organizations.

Bob Ward Social Enterprise Endowment Fund

After Bob Ward, the first Executive Director of the Social Enterprise Fund, died suddenly in June of 2011, his friends and colleagues honoured the work he started by creating the Bob Ward Social Enterprise Endowment Fund. The fund supports the creation, expansion and maintenance of social enterprises.

Rainbow Fund

In 1999, donor Ron Rowswell launched the Rainbow fund to support charities that work to research, enhance and support LGBTQ issues, activities and concerns in the greater Edmonton and Northern Alberta areas. In the past grants were made to the Pride Centre of Edmonton and the Queer Prom.

Hilltop House

The landmark home that houses ECF is known as Hilltop House and sits at 9910 103 Street. The land for the home was purchased from the Hudson’s Bay Company by former MLA John A. McDougall in 1891. The home was built in 1912 by his son John C. McDougall for a then whopping sum of $16,000. The home boasted many luxuries such as natural gas piping. From 1953 to 1987 it housed abused women, a drug treatment centre and then office space. ECF moved in to Hilltop in 2005.

Slatter Way

In 2012, ECF renamed the laneway leading to its office in memory of Eric John Slatter. Mr. Slatter (1919-2001) was a well-respected lawyer who served as the foundation’s first secretary and supervised the reorganization of ECF in 1989. He created a constitution for the foundation that was designed to ensure broad community support and have ongoing viability. The John Slatter Memorial Fund was established to support emerging community priorities.


In 2001, the sculpture “Return”, by local artist Catherine Burgess, was installed in TELUS Plaza located on Rice Howard Way south of Jasper Avenue. The three interdependent columns represent the three pillars of ECF: the donors, the Foundation and the beneficiaries. All three combine to enhance the quality of life in our community.