Continued Growth

An organization supports its staff through endowment funds that encourage skill enhancement

Anjula Narayan has been working for the CapitalCare Foundation, an organization supporting specialized and long term care for the elderly and those with dementia for 20 years. She’s passionate about helping those in her care – and it shows through her desire to constantly update her skills.

When she started at CapitalCare, she was a health care aide, and in 2012, she went to school to become a licensed practical nurse. One of the great things about the organization, says Narayan, was that they were able to support her education through bursaries provided by endowment funds.

Two funds were started about 20 years ago by high profile women in Edmonton – the late Pearl Hawrelak Porter, wife of former mayor William Hawrelak started one, while the late Jean McBean, a successful local lawyer, began the other. The goal of the funds is to help educate staff in the areas of physiotherapy, occupational therapy and foot care. It’s a goal that helps ensure the continued growth of the organization, and one that remains important to both the families of the original funders, and to CapitalCare.


For Narayan, the extra help meant she was able to take courses in pharmacology and physiology, and most recently an immunization course. Without the bursaries, it would have been very difficult for her to update her education. “My husband is on disability and we do not always have extra money. So, the bursaries have been a great help,” Narayan says. Money from the endowment funds is meant to help individuals like Narayan, who will then go on to help countless patients within the foundation’s care. Just a few years ago, the funds were no longer growing, and the organization had to decide whether to spend the principal or find a way to make them viable.

CapitalCare decided to take part in Edmonton Community Foundation’s (ECF) Endowment Sustainability Program, a workshop composed of five classes taught by experts who speak about tax benefits, financial benefits, and how to effectively connect with donors. ECF also has a team of experts who can manage these endowment funds once they’re in place.

Both of the CapitalCare funds are now in the care of ECF, and Sherry Schaefer, director of fundraising and donor relations, says they’ve both increased, which means the annual earnings generated by the funds can actually go towards long-term goals. “I’m excited that we can continue with the goals created by the donors 20 years ago,” says Schaefer.

ECF can help both by educating charities about endowments, and by actually facilitating those funds. Noel Xavier, donor advisor of ECF, says the first step is helping organizations understand why donors want to create endowment funds in the first place. “Donors who support endowments appreciate being part of the inner circle. They get to be part of the future, not just what is happening today. And it really gives them a sense of ownership, and a sense of pride in the charities that they most love. They have peace of mind in knowing this is their legacy going forward,” says Xavier.