Vancouver Foundation started in 1943 with one person, $1,000 and a vision. Alice MacKay had saved $1,000 from her secretarial job and wanted to help homeless women trapped in a cycle of poverty.
At the same time, local industrialist and philanthropist W.J. VanDusen knew the potential of building a permanent endowment that could benefit many charitable activities. As Director of the Vancouver Welfare Federation (now the United Way of the Lower Mainland) and Chair of its Endowment Committee, he had studied models of community foundations for several years. By 1943, he had overseen the establishment and incorporation of Vancouver Foundation. However, at the time, it was nothing more than a legal entity with virtually no capital.
Inspired by MacKay's generosity, VanDusen added $10,000 to her endowment and encouraged nine friends to match his own gift. The nine other founding families were:
- Gordon Farrell & Family
- F. Ronald Graham
- George Kidd
- H. R. MacMillan
- W. H. Malkin
- C. T. McHattie
- Chris Spencer
- A. H. Williamson
- W. C. Woodward
Vancouver Foundation was on its way. It was formally established by an Act of the Provincial Legislature - the Vancouver Foundation Act - in 1950.
The original $101,000 investment has since grown into almost $750 million – the largest community foundation in Canada and one of the largest in North America.To Top