Building a Vibrant Future

Strategic Plan 2023-26

Edmontonians want a city where vulnerable people are taken care of, children have opportunities to grow, the sick are treated, musicians and artists contribute to a vibrant community and our city stays beautiful for future generations.

Over the past 34 years, Edmonton Community Foundation (ECF) has established itself as a progressive, innovative and flexible funder that connects passionate community builders with the needs of the charitable sector.

Since its inception in 1989, ECF has distributed more than $370 million to community charities and is proud to be the largest non-governmental funder of Edmonton’s charitable sector providing an average of over $30 million in grants and scholarships each year.

“Thanks to the funding from the ECF, Norwood Child and Family Resource Centre supports over 150 adults and 70 children with access to free counselling and mental health groups.”
— Laurie Fagan, Executive Director, Norwood Child and Family Resource Centre

ECF’s 2023-26 Strategic Plan serves as a roadmap, guiding us towards the future and ensuring that we stay aligned with our mission, vision and values.

Below you will find highlights from the plan or you can read the full plan. 

One of ECF’s strengths is its endowment model. Instead of fully spending a donation the year it is received, gifts are invested for the long-term. 

Because donations are invested for long-term growth, endowments provide consistent and reliable funding, independent of social and political factors, giving charities autonomy and control through financial independence. This allows them to focus on doing what they do best — delivering services. And it creates a legacy for the donor because the fund keeps giving forever. 

ECF is also known as a trustworthy partner with the expertise to identify gaps of support in the charitable sector. This is why donors entrust ECF with discretionary dollars that allow it to adapt and be flexible to address emerging or immediate community needs.

Through ECF, our donors and community partners have supported thousands of projects and initiatives over the years including: 

  • Edmonton and Area Land Trust (EALT), which works to conserve biodiversity by protecting natural areas. In 2022, the EALT secured its 17th conservation property with help from one of ECF’s generous donors. 
  • The Belcourt Brosseau Métis Awards, which has provided more than $11 million to approximately 2,000 Métis students studying at institutions across Alberta, making it one of the largest Métis scholarship programs in Canada. 
  • Pilgrims Hospice Society, which opened the Roozen Family Hospice Centre in 2021 — Edmonton’s first freestanding residential hospice, providing compassion and care to nearly 2,400 people and families during the most difficult times of their lives. 
  • ECF’s Social Enterprise Fund, that has invested $85 million in over 90 projects that are led by businesses with mandates for community good. This includes Jasper Place Wellness Centre’s Redemptive Developments which provides dignity and jobs to people in the Jasper Place community. 

Additionally in 2020, ECF partnered with the Government of Canada to deliver more than $2.2 million in grants from the Emergency Community Support Fund to help with COVID relief for 108 charities in the Edmonton area.

ECF’s impact runs much deeper than dollars and cents. Flexibility, openness and experimentation have allowed us to cultivate relationships and connections with thousands of donors, charities, volunteers, government and community partners. This uniquely positions ECF to contribute to solving complex ongoing issues and creating communities where people can thrive. 

Creating vibrant, healthy communities where everyone belongs takes the expertise of business, government, educational institutions, the charitable sector and community members. Our interests are interconnected and overlapping. We can’t do it alone and one kind of expertise isn’t all that’s needed. It will take all of us working together to build the city we all want. 

Donors know ECF as a place that connects their generosity to the charities and causes that matter most to them. 

“ECF has helped Action for Healthy Communities assist over 200 newcomers by providing guidance on planning, launching and growing their own businesses. ECF helped these individuals fulfill their dreams.”
— Abdoulaye Barry, Program Manager, Action for Healthy Communities

Key Strategies 

  1. Identify complex community needs and prioritize ECF’s focus areas.
  2. Be a community catalyst and convenor to solve complex community needs.
  3. Measure and quantify the impact ECF is making in the community.
  4. Do good with the money we invest.

What success looks like in 3 years 

In the next three years we will focus on taking a proactive and prioritized approach to determining where funding can have the greatest impact. Community and partner input, along with data, will inform how we prioritize community needs and opportunities. We will continue doing good with the money we give and invest, and our value will be understood by the individuals, organizations and communities we serve. 

Key Strategies 

  1. Grow granting with under-represented groups traditionally left out of philanthropy.
  2. Grow giving with new and target audiences. 
  3. Provide more flexible giving options.
  4. Revitalize ECF’s Brand and communication strategy.

What success looks like in 3 years 

Over the coming years Edmonton’s diversity will be reflected in our donors and community partners. ECF will expand its reach and grow granting with underrepresented groups, and increase giving from new audiences. While still maintaining our focus on endowments, flexible giving models will be available to allow individual and corporate donors more opportunities to move from transactional to transformational philanthropy. We will use our knowledge of the charitable sector to help donors better understand community interests, needs and priorities. There will be an increase in awareness of the positive impact ECF has on our community. 

Key Strategies 

  1. Define ECF’s customer standards, approach and performance objectives for prospective and existing grantees and donors. 
  2. Enhance, personalize, and improve granting experiences. 
  3. Simplify, personalize, and improve donor experiences.

What success looks like in 3 years 

We will better understand the experiences of our donors and community partners, and use this understanding to improve services and simplify processes. We will continue to implement adaptable and flexible processes allowing us to expedite grant approvals for established community organizations with promising ideas. We will personalize donors’ experiences to match their interests, and provide grantees with access to various capacity building models to help them secure the funding they need. 

"Our road to starting a family was long and difficult so we wanted to do something to help others who are faced with a similar journey. Our fund is a way to celebrate children and families, and an opportunity to teach our kids the importance of giving back. Edmonton Community Foundation has given us a platform to do that."

Ted Kouri, Donor, Kouri Family Fund