Saskatoon Community Foundation Donors Create Meaningful Change
“These days, many organizations know they must focus on a triple bottom-line, where social responsibility to people and community are business drivers. We can help the business sector meet those goals while bettering the community. It’s a win-win.” – Carm Michalenko, Saskatoon Community Foundation CEO
Fifty years ago, a small group of businesspeople came together to form an organization with a local mission to make the community where they lived and did business a better place. Today, that organization—the Saskatoon Community Foundation—proudly carries on that mission. They work with donors both big and small who want to see their dollars improve lives and create lasting positive change.
Since its launch in 1970, the Saskatoon Community Foundation has evolved to meet the needs of the community it serves, granting over $40 million over that time. “The foundation was created by a special act of legislation that ensures it will be here in perpetuity,” says CEO Carm Michalenko. “Our model is designed for both longevity and social impact.” The foundation efficiently manages a substantial endowment—nearly $58 million, earning a ten-year average of over 7 per cent—to ensure a steady stream of grants will be there in the future. Not as well-known is the flexibility donors have with immediate impact through non-endowed funds. Either way, this flexibility and community expertise allows donors to maximize their impact by reaching many charitable causes through the foundation.
Donors look to the Saskatoon Community Foundation for something much more important than financial results, however. Through community partnerships and sound advice, the foundation team offers donors meaningful and personal opportunities to build their own story of giving. The foundation has the connections and infrastructure to create a charitable giving solution that works for each unique donor, whether you are an individual donor or a corporate donor.
“Regardless of the amount or purpose of your gift, we can ensure you as a donor get to create a personal and meaningful story,” says Michalenko. “We can help all donors whether it is by coordinating grant programs or administering individual and family giving for private family foundations. We understand that your story is the one you wish to tell. Every dollar makes a difference. The Saskatoon Community Foundation allows you to create a legacy of giving and offers excellent value for money.
“In fact, it was the foundation that assisted with Cameco’s first iteration of a corporate giving program, and that relationship continues today with new community collaborations such as Step Up for Mental Health. Another example is the MNP LLP Community Giving program for partners which is run through the foundation. And in working with John and Bernice Williams of North Prairie Developments Ltd, we have provided a suite of charitable vehicles for both their individual and corporate giving. These are only a few examples of the more than 300 fund holders we are trusted to represent, and every one of their stories is as unique as they are.”
Beyond its know-how needed for philanthropy, the foundation has a heart for community and has taken a leadership role with reconciliation, working closely with Indigenous cultural advisors and offering the corporate sector an opportunity to participate in answering the Calls to Action. The team knows Saskatoon is a unique place with a generous prairie heart and that we can and do come together to help one another. With long-term partnerships built within Saskatoon, the foundation helps donors find the best place for their legacy gift. “Through our work, we can help every donor create their enduring legacy through charitable giving,” says Curtis Kimpton, board chair. “Now more than ever, we need to build bridges and foster hope. Giving through the Saskatoon Community Foundation to the causes you care about can do exactly that.”
The Pandemic Effect
The COVID-19 pandemic also brought out the best in the Saskatoon Community Foundation. Like so many organizations, the foundation saw first-hand how the virus was affecting the most vulnerable. The foundation joined a group of 60 Saskatoon agencies, the Inter-Agency Response to COVID-19, in mobilizing community support. Thanks to generous local donors and federal funding, the foundation and Inter-Agency group targeted issues of food security, shelter, connectivity, mental health and personal protective equipment needs. “Our collaboration was an amazing feat, a model which I believe can be replicated for other complex social issues. Within six months, we deployed $2 million in new and redirected money,” reports Carm Michalenko. “The staff set to work within days to do what they could to help. It was impressive to see how quickly these agencies came together to address needs and ensure supports and funds went where they needed to go quickly,” says Kimpton.
Learn more about how you or your organization can create a legacy that makes a difference at saskatooncommunityfoundation.ca.