New leadership, a new direction, and a new approach to the business of philanthropy and tackling the city’s most critical needs: 2014 was an invigorating year in the history of the Community Foundation of Ottawa. Not only did we implement and support a range of innovative and exciting projects, but we strived for and achieved success in the areas of asset growth and grantmaking, disbursing a record amount of funding, while capitalizing on momentum with emerging partnerships and opportunities. Overall, the Foundation truly turned over a “new leaf” in its approach to working with and supporting the community in more creative and collaborative ways, embarking on an exciting new pathway towards improving our community’s overall well-being.
Following are just a few of the highlights of 2014 that we’re pleased to share with you:
- Assets under management reached $112M;
- Investment returns of 7.4% were achieved after fees;
- $9.2M was received in new donations;
- $8.2M was granted out to the community, bringing our total contribution to close to $85M since inception;
- The Foundation launched the “New Leaf Community Challenge,” providing $125,000 to improve access to healthy, affordable food for the 75,000 Ottawa residents struggling to put food on the table;
- We expanded our support to the national Smart and Caring Community initiative by reaching out and working with Ottawa’s surrounding rural municipalities to establish a variety of new Regional Community Funds;
- We leveraged our stellar financial stewardship record by offering flexible vehicles to charities with long-term investments in order to ensure their ongoing sustainability;
- We bid farewell to outgoing Board members Denis Desautels and Nishith Goel and thanked them for their outstanding contribution to the organization.
Farewell message from Brian Toller
2015 marks my tenth and final year on the Board of the Community Foundation of Ottawa. During that time, I have seen a lot of change take place in the organization. I have watched as we grew the assets from $87 million in 2005 to more than $110 million today. While serving as Investment Committee Chair from 2007-2010, we weathered the financial crisis of 2008, suffering an 18% loss on our investments, yet were still able to grant $4 million to the community that year.
I am particularly proud of leading the foundation into responsible investing, ensuring that environmental, social and governance issues are considered in our investments so that more of our assets are aligned with our mission. We became signatories to the United Nations of Principles of Responsible Investing in 2012, the first community foundation in the country to do so. I also led the launch of our Impact Investing strategy, allocating 5% of our endowment to impact investments, and a further $1 million in loans to charities. We are proving that we can make investments that not only generate a financial return to support our granting, but also a social or environmental benefit.
The other major change I had the good fortune to look after as Board Chair was managing the transition from our founding CEO, Barb McInnes, who built our organization and led it for 26 years, to our current President & CEO Marco Pagani, who is taking CFO to an entirely new level of impact in our city. The CFO is now stronger that it has ever been. My 10 years with CFO have been extremely rewarding. I have learned a great deal, and met some extraordinary people on the board, on the staff and among our very generous donors and hugely competent grantees. Thank you for this great opportunity.
Chair, Board of Governors
Special tribute message from Marco Pagani
I would like to personally extend my gratitude and appreciation to all the invaluable members of the Board of Governors, committees and staff for making my first year at the helm of the Foundation such a ground-breaking and successful one. After setting some rather high standards and expectations at the beginning of 2014, I’m pleased to announce that not only did we achieve those original objectives, but in most cases, we surpassed them.
I would especially like to express my gratitude and appreciation to our Past Board Chair Brian Toller for welcoming me into the Foundation fold, and for his consummate leadership role and ongoing commitment to the values and ideals of the Community Foundation of Ottawa. During his ten-year tenure with the Foundation, his contributions include leading us in the creation of both a responsible investing and an impact investing strategy, as well as helping us to navigate the treacherous financial waters of 2008, allowing us to recover in record time. For his efforts in the former areas, Brian is recognized by his peers on the international stage, and we are forever in his debt.