• Pools the charitable gifts of many donors into a permanent, income-earning endowment that benefits the people of Ottawa, primarily, and fulfills the philanthropic objectives of individual donors, families or organizations;
  • Makes grants from the earnings of these funds to support a broad variety of initiatives, from health, education and social services, to arts, culture and the environment;
  • Offers neutral advice and support to all kinds of individuals and organizations working to make philanthropic decisions;
  • Provides leadership as a community convenor, bringing people together from all sectors to identify and address issues and leverage opportunities in the region.

The Community Foundation’s Charitable Registration number is 11922 7981 RR 0001.

The Community Foundation is independent, autonomous and accountable to the community as a whole. As a way of ensuring that the Community Foundation will be well managed today and into the future, the governing body is appointed by an outside Nominating Committee made up of the incumbents in positions of responsibility and influence.

This Committee is responsible for selecting the best possible people to fill vacancies as they arise on the Board of Directors. The members of the Board are chosen for their integrity, expertise and ability to serve the Community Foundation without compensation. These Board appointments are limited to three years, renewable once. The Board, in turn, hires and oversees the CEO who is responsible for the day-to-day running of the Community Foundation, including the hiring of other staff.

No. All of the funds under the Community Foundation’s care have been established and have grown thanks to donations, both large and small.

Individuals, families, clubs, corporations and other charities contribute. The Community Foundation makes it easy for people of all means to participate.

Individuals and families often establish an advised fund within the Community Foundation instead of establishing their own private foundation. This adds to administrative efficiency and reduces expenses.

Corporations often rely on the expertise of the Community Foundation to administer their corporate donations programs.

Many charities, including other foundations, place their endowment funds with the Community Foundation in order to ensure their future financial viability, preserve their endowments in perpetuity, and benefit from ongoing professional endowment management expertise.

The Community Foundation accepts nearly every kind of asset. Most non-cash gifts are liquidated immediately and the proceeds transferred to the investment portfolio.

The Community Foundation itself is not the object of donor’s philanthropy, but is the vehicle by which donors can fulfill their charitable objectives. Through its grantmaking programs, the Community Foundation is committed to seeding, nurturing, supporting and strengthening the community. Grants are made to not-for-profit organizations recognized by the Canada Revenue Agency as registered charities or qualified donees.

Grants are made in support of social services (including projects for the visually impaired, children, youth, seniors), health, arts, education, animal welfare and the environment, primarily within the Ottawa region. The annual earnings of many of the funds under the Community Foundation’s care are disbursed according to advice from the donors of those funds.

  • The Community Foundation prides itself on flexibility, providing a range of services to help donors realize their charitable objectives. Donors can have as much or as little involvement as they wish in how the money is disbursed;
  • The Community Foundation can assist people who want to enjoy the tax saving advantages of charitable contributions in a particular year but are uncertain as to which charities they would like to support. They can establish a fund in a tight time frame, obtain a tax receipt for the contributed amount, and then decide later where to focus their giving from the fund.

Donations to the Community Foundation are generally used to establish one or more of several types of funds, any of which can bear the name of an individual, family, corporation or charitable cause; or the fund can be anonymous.

A named fund can be established for as little as $5,000. The money can be contributed over time, through annual contributions, or added to with a deferred gift, such as life insurance or a bequest.

The definition of a fund is an invested sum, whose income is devoted to a specific object. An endowment is defined as the act of bestowing a permanent provision for support. Together, the term endowment fund means an invested sum of money which is permanently invested and whose income is devoted to a specific cause.

The following table provides the rates of return for each year since the Community Foundation was established in 1987.

Year% Return



































































4-year average return


10-year average return


Starting up a private foundation requires the creation of a new organization, establishment of a board of trustees, obtaining registered charitable status from Canada Revenue Agency, and the provision of regular financial reports. A fund at a community foundation is far easier and faster to establish and entails no start-up costs. Click here to compare the various approaches to giving. Maintaining a donor-advised fund at the Community Foundation is usually more cost-effective than managing a private foundation, and any issues around inter-generational succession are resolved. In addition, Community Foundation donors are free of the responsibility of monitoring grants made and fulfilling national and provincial reporting requirements. The Community Foundation staff handles all those administrative tasks.

The current Community Foundation service fee policy assigns a total annual administration fee of 1.5% for most funds. Flow-through funds are charged a 2% administration fee.

As a neutral broker, the Community Foundation is able to support any organization or cause that a donor advises as long as it has charitable or qualified donee status with the Canada Revenue Agency. If preferred, donors may specify a broad field of interest or make no recommendations at all as to where the earnings from their funds should be directed, in which case it becomes an unrestricted Community Fund used to support the most pressing needs in the community through the Foundation’s competitive Community Grants program.

Online donations may now be made directly to funds held by the Ottawa Community Foundation. Our online system provides a safe and secure environment through which donors may make a donation. Simply click on the Donate button that appears at the top of each web page. This will open up the online donation system, where you can select a fund from the drop-down menu or search the name of the fund to which you would like to donate. If the fund you’re looking for does not appear, you may enter the fund name in the field below. You will then be prompted through the donation process.

The minimum amount of a donation to receive a tax receipt is $20. For online donations, electronic receipts will be provided by email. Donors who make monthly donations will receive a receipt for the full amount at the end of the year.

The deadlines for the Community Foundation’s grants programs are as follows:

Community Grants – February 1st and October 1st

To be considered in each grant cycle, complete applications must be received at our office no later than 5 p.m. on the deadline date.

Proposals received at other times during the year are held and reviewed at the next grant deadline.

A limited amount of financial assistance is available for emergencies which may occur outside these deadlines.

You will receive an acknowledgement of your request within one month. Community Foundation staff review each application to determine whether the proposal meets the basic guidelines and granting criteria. If your project does not meet the criteria, or if additional information is required, you will be notified immediately. All grants are reviewed and approved by the Community Foundation’s Grants Committee.

Decision-making may take up to three months after the application deadline.

The Community Foundation is not always able to fund all the requests it receives from applicants. You are not advised to start a project for which you do not have confirmation of funding.

The Community Foundation operates with a relatively small staff and is therefore not able to meet with all applicants. If you have questions, please contact our Grantmaking staff.
If more information is required in order to process your submitted application, you will be contacted and, if necessary, a meeting may be arranged at that time.

The average Community Grant is $8,000 – $10,000.

No. The Community Foundation can only issue grants to registered Canadian charities and qualified donees.

The budget must cover all major categories (personnel, travel, office, etc.) but need not go into too much detail. The Community Foundation may request additional information if required. Remember that the total amount of revenues should be equal to the total amount of expenditures.

The Community Foundation prefers not to be the sole funder. From time to time, the Community Foundation will provide full funding for a project but only when it is evident that there are no other avenues for funding and the project is seen to be a high priority.

The Community Foundation is pleased to receive requests in both official languages. Pour des renseignements en français, cliquez ici.

No, we ask that you please submit your application online or mail it to the Community Foundation. See the section on how to Apply for a Grant for further details.