Focus Areas Overview

We believe that many organizations are working to build a more inclusive, innovative, sustainable and resilient society. While the legacy endowment provided by J.W. McConnell places us in a highly privileged position, our resources pale in comparison to the scale of the issues that communities and the environment are confronting. We therefore need to concentrate our funding and efforts. Responding to all needs — as acute and glaring as they are — is impossible. Our commitment is to partner selectively with organizations engaged in at least one of the following focus areas.

Infographic presenting the Foundation's Focus Areas. Climate Scope: Contribute to Canada’s transition to a net-zero carbon economy in a way that produces sustainable and equitable outcomes for all. For more detailed information visit this webpage. Reconciliation Scope: Advance a reconciliation economy where wealth and resources are equitably shared and sustainably stewarded for this generation and those yet to come, in relationship with both Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. For more detailed information visit this webpage. Communities Scope: Strengthen collective resilience among those affected by continuous stress and the repercussions of the pandemic while building inclusive communities that are more future ready.

We use diverse approaches and methods that support each focus area. This includes supportive funding, impact investing, capability strengthening, supporting public policy change, and co-creating along with partners from the public, private and non-profit sectors. Throughout our work, social innovation practices and principles are integrated.

Learn more about the focus areas that guide our activities and funding:

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Overarching Frameworks

Diagram presenting the EDIA framework:


In addition, all three focus areas intend to support and carry out the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Diagram presenting the United Nations' 17 sustainable development goals: (1) No Poverty, (2) Zero Hunger, (3) Good Health and Well-being, (4) Quality Education, (5) Gender Equality, (6) Clean Water and Sanitation, (7) Affordable and Clean Energy, (8) Decent Work and Economic Growth, (9) Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, (10) Reducing Inequality, (11) Sustainable Cities and Communities, (12) Responsible Consumption and Production, (13) Climate Action, (14) Life Below Water, (15) Life On Land, (16) Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions, (17) Partnerships for the Goals.

We hope that our focus areas and frameworks contribute to fostering vibrant emerging or already existing ecosystems of change and acknowledge that we have much to learn.


Where we work

Canada

We support organizations and projects that are based anywhere in Canada, that have potential for replication in other parts of the country or that show ambition for national impact in one or more of our focus areas. We prioritize initiatives that seek to catalyze large-scale systems change.

 

Our commitment to Montreal

Since its founding in 1937, the McConnell Foundation has supported many organizations dedicated to improving the lives of Montrealers. Today, alongside our focus areas, the Foundation remains deeply committed to our Montreal roots, where we continue to support local projects. In addition to funding Montreal-based projects that advance our three focus areas, we devote approximately $1,500,000 – $2,000,000 annually to organizations and institutions that have a positive impact on the greater Montreal community.

Important note: If you are a Montreal-based organization seeking funding to address community resilience, reconciliation and climate change, please submit an application through the McConnell Foundation’s focus areas funding streams. If you are not sure if your work is highly aligned under one of the focus areas, please submit under Montreal.

We accept a small number of applications for Montreal funding yearly. Download our Application Guidelines to learn about eligibility requirements and assessment criteria.

 


Transition

While our mission has remained constant, our funding strategies evolve in response to changing needs. Our current focus areas emerged from our pre-existing initiatives. Though initiatives are no longer accepting applications, the financial commitments made under their purview are being honoured. We are also refining our public interest journalism work in service of the three focus areas.

Cities for People, Re-Code, Sustainable Food Systems and WellAhead resources are still available. These can be found under Tools & Resources on our website.

Find out more about our focus areas as well as what we do and do not fund in our FAQ.