Charitable Celebration

The Stollery Charitable Foundation celebrates 20 years of investing in the community

Born just a handful of years before the beginning of the Great Depression, Bob Stollery grew up in a one-bedroom house in Edmonton, sleeping in the attic with his five brothers. Though Stollery would go on to become the chairman and chief executive officer of PCL Constructors Inc., Jeff Bryson says his grandfather never forgot the hardships he faced as a young man.

Along with John and Barbara Poole and George and Rae Poole, Bob and his wife Shirley reinvigorated Edmonton Community Foundation (ECF) in 1989 by providing leadership gifts. Five years later, the Stollerys created the Stollery Charitable Foundation (SCF), a private family foundation. “They always remained grounded and wanted to set an example for others by reinvesting in Edmonton,” says Bryson, now the Executive Director of SCF. This year, the Stollery Charitable Foundation is celebrating 20 years of working alongside ECF to support community charities.

The two organizations have remained closely linked, sharing office space in the quaint, historic Hilltop House on 103 Street. Over their respective histories, the two organizations have often shared more than just a building. Bob Stollery was the president of ECF from 1989 until 2002 while also managing the private family foundation. His family members have continued the tradition of supporting both organizations. Scott Graham, Stollery’s son-in-law, worked as both the Director of Community Grants for ECF and the Executive Director for SCF. From 2005 until his retirement in 2013, he was instrumental in creating collaborative grant opportunities between the two foundations. That collaboration continues, and in 2013 alone they worked together to support eight charitable agencies with a combined total of more than $650,000 in grants.

All told, the Stollery Charitable Foundation has granted more than $2 million dollars in the past year, and more than $20 million since its founding. It will no doubt continue to make a positive impact on the communities it serves in the years to come.

Since its initial gift in 1989, SCF has continued to support ECF by establishing a number of new funds, including scholarship programs for NorQuest College and Grant MacEwan University, and by providing leadership grants to ECF-led funds, such as the Children’s Millennium Fund, which supports programs for children under the age of six. SCF has also invested more than $300,000 into its Small Grants fund at ECF, allowing for quick response to requests for funding less than $20,000 that can’t wait until the semi-annual granting meeting.

Kathy Hawkesworth, the Director of Donor Services at ECF, says the partnership has been positive for both organizations. “We’ve really been blessed – we’re now working with the third generation of the Stollery Foundation. We do some joint funding of projects; we share information about what we know in the community, and opportunities to make good investments. There are all sorts of different ways to work together.”

The Stollery Charitable Foundation’s mandate is to provide support to health, education, social service and human rights initiatives in Edmonton and Kamloops. It supports numerous local charities and community organizations directly, including the Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts, the Centre to End All Sexual Exploitation, the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation and the University of Alberta’s Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services (iSMSS). Doug Stollery and Scott Graham, two of SCF’s Directors, have since joined the iSMSS Honorary Committee in order to continue supporting that organization.

Bryson says he’s been inspired by his family’s dedication to charitable giving. “Being raised in a family that’s been involved in philanthropy for such a long time, you grow up appreciating its value. There’s a sense of pride, but also responsibility for continuing that legacy.”

All told, the Stollery Charitable Foundation has granted more than $2 million dollars in the past year, and more than $20 million since its founding. It will no doubt continue to make a positive impact on the communities it serves in the years to come.