Slightly aerial view of downtown Guelph.

Our History

The Guelph Community Foundation (GCF) was founded by the citizens of Guelph to reinvest in the community and its people.

The Guelph Community Foundation federally incorporated in 1999 as a registered charitable public foundation, and began its operations in 2000 with $13,000 in donations. The first fund to be established was the William K. Greenaway and Anne C. Bawden Fund, supporting the community as an unrestricted fund. 

 “We are proof that people do not need to be wealthy to establish a named fund and we decided not to specify the use of the fund as the needs and priorities of the local community are bound to change over time”

Bill Greenaway, Founding Board Member and first fundholder

“We wanted to offer a unique way for caring people to fulfill their charitable interests and strengthen our community”

Ken Hammill, Founder of The Guelph Community Foundation.

Key Milestones

  • 1999 – The Founders Circle is formed, these are the first donors who launch the Foundation, made up of 40 individuals and corporations from the local community.
  • 2000 – Cindy Lindsey is hired as the first Executive Director.
  • 2005 – The Musagetes Fund reaches over $1.5 million, and still to this day remains our largest endowed fund, supporting arts and culture programs locally.
  • 2005 – Received our largest bequest gift of $1 million from the late Norman Earl Webb, the community will benefit from this generosity forever.
  • 2006 – The elimination of capital gains tax of gifts of securities stimulates charitable giving. In just four years following this change, we received over $1.5 million in gifts of securities.
  • 2007 – Our largest granting year to date with a total of $630,000 in grants to 110 charities.
  • 2008 – Published our first Vital Signs report to help measure the health of the community and better inform our grant making.
  • 2009 – Published our second Vital Signs report in response to results with a $70,000 grant to build a vital community and reduce poverty in Guelph and Wellington County.
  • 2010 – Celebrate our 10th anniversary, permanent endowment funds grow by 27% and we receive over $1.3 million in gifts of securities.
  • 2011– With Guelph being the 5th fastest growing City in Canada, our Community Fund <link to fund page> becomes even more important to support the entire community.
  • 2012 – Two of the Foundation’s original Founders receive the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Award: Ken Hammill, Founding Chair and Pat McCraw, Founding Board Member & Grants Committee Chair
  • 2013 – Over $460,000 is granted to the community, Chris Willard joins the Foundation as Executive Director
  • 2014 – Nine new funds are added, creation of a new Stabilization Policy and launch partnerships with OakTree and Guelph Gives.
  • 2015 – GCF moves to 46 Cork Street, with $559,890 granted, we now manage 133 funds with over $10 million in permanent endowed assets.
  • 2016 – We collaborate with Community Foundations of Canada and the Government of Canada to support grass roots programming to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary. 
  • 2017 – Our largest granting year with over $704,00 granted to the community
  • 2018 – Release our third Vital Signs Report and now have over $14 million in total assets under management.
  • 2019 – Move to our current location in Old Quebec Street Mall, we now manage 152 funds, with over $538,000 granted to 115 charities in 2019. A record breaking $1.13 million received in gifts from donors. Select RBC Dominion Securities as our new investment advisor.
  • 2020 – Upgrade our grants and financial software, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic we grant a record breaking $1.45 million to the local community. Form new Community Response Fund in partnership with United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin
  • 2021 – We add six new Board members with a depth of experience to bring greater diversity and skills as we embark on a new strategic plan
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