How we work

How we work

Foundation initiatives and responsive granting

As a national private foundation, The J. W. McConnell Family Foundation has two principal granting streams. Foundation initiatives are multi-year collaborations that align the efforts of several partners, including other funders, to achieve change in a particular domain. Examples include Cities for People, a program that aims to foster more inclusive, innovative and resilient cities; and RECODE, a program that provides social innovation and entrepreneurship opportunities for post-secondary students wanting to drive change. Within such initiatives, grants are generally made through an invitation to apply or by a request for proposals.

The Foundation also makes a limited number of responsive grants in line with its mission and program priorities. Click here to learn more about our granting priorities for 2017.


The Foundation regularly holds roundtables and working sessions to share new learning and approaches for working on complex issues.

Creating and sharing knowledge

The Foundation places a high value on learning from its work through evaluation and reflection. Most grants include an evaluation component, and we make many evaluation reports public. We also publish occasional guides and monographs. For examples of these, visit our Resources section.

Strengthening organizations and networks

We recognize that leaders and community organizations may need to strengthen their ability to carry out a particular project or innovation, particularly when they are ‘scaling up’. Therefore, we may support such activities as leadership and human resource development, the creation of communications tools, or the introduction of improved financial systems, when such an investment is considered critical to the effectiveness of an initiative the Foundation is supporting.

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