The McConnell Foundation has three focus areas guiding its work, including Communities. Learn more in our Overview section.

Scope · This focus area aims to strengthen collective resilience and create conditions for more inclusive, future-ready communities.

 

Approach

We facilitate: (1) social and civic infrastructure at local, regional and national levels, with a focus on marginalized communities; (2) conditions for inclusive community building. 

 

Overarching Frameworks

We seek partners who aspire to create inclusive organizations and who endeavour to apply the Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Accessibility (EDIA) framework in their activities.

We also intend to integrate the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals into our work.

 


What’s next

The Communities focus area is in development. As we have just recently refined its scope, we are still in a listening, learning and development phase. Over the coming months, we will further define funding specifications and develop precise criteria. 

In the meantime, we are looking to fund projects that catalyze system change in social and civic infrastructures and that enable community resilience. Communities are resilient when there is abundant social capital, a dynamic civil society, supportive informal networks, and a culture of active citizenship.  

Resilience: “The concept of resilience links social and ecological systems, people and nature, and can be addressed locally at the level of the individual, family, or community, and nationally or even globally. Individual resilience grows by acquiring skills, assets, confidence, leadership abilities, and access to knowledge and social networks. Communities are stronger when there is abundant social capital, a dynamic civil society, supportive informal networks, and a culture of active citizenship.” (In a World of Unpredictable Change, What Canada Needs Most is Resilience, J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, 2011.) 

Strategies

Social and civic infrastructure provide the means and conditions for people to learn from and care for each other, and to create a better society.

These can be programs at: youth and seniors centres, neighbourhood roundtables, information and knowledge sharing networks and systems, informal gathering places, Indigenous healing and wellness centres, libraries or welcome groups for newcomers. We want people, within and through their communities, to have the necessary resources to enhance their lives and to affect policy changes for their own wellbeing, at the neighbourhood level or through larger community networks. 

 

Criteria questions for Building Social and Civic Infrastructure: 

  • How does your project contribute to building social or civic infrastructure (outside of capital projects) for long-term change?
  • At what scale and geography is the project focused (i.e. local, regional, and/or national)? Does the project relate to the land, place or local geography where it’s carried out? If so, how?

We want to facilitate conditions for inclusive community building by supporting collaborative and innovative projects that work towards civic and economic inclusion.

We will support organizations and networks to create the conditions that address systemic socio-economic barriers affecting marginalized, racialized or underrepresented communities.

Criteria questions for Inclusive Community Building: 

  • How does your project contribute to creating conditions for inclusive community building?
  • At what scale and geography is the project focused (i.e. local, regional, and/or national)? Does the project relate to the land, place or local geography where it’s carried out? If so, how?

The McConnell Foundation is resolved to increase its impact by addressing complex financial mechanisms through innovative financial solutions.

We seek to partner with organizations that are using innovative financial solutions to increase their impact. The barriers to building resilient communities require us to go beyond funding and convening. We must deploy all our financial resources in strategic and innovative ways to create lasting systemic change.

Criteria questions for Innovative Financial Solutions: 

  • How does your project contribute to creating or accelerating financial solutions for social good?
  • At what scale and geography is the project focused (i.e. local, regional, and/or national)? Does the project relate to the land, place or local geography where it’s carried out? If so, how?