Our Impact

Creating meaningful systems change in Canada

Joining with others to create a better society

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed great inequity in Canadian society. Racialized and immigrant populations as well as those most economically disadvantaged face higher rates of infection and their housing and employment has become even more precarious.


Many of the employment gains women had realized in the workplace over the previous decades were likewise erased. COVID-19 has also weakened many institutions we depend upon to alleviate and solve our most pressing problems: one recent survey found two of every five charities and non profits are at risk of closing their doors.


The good news is the crises has also brought attention to progressive movements with the power to improve people’s lives. Black Lives Matter and Land Back movements, for example, challenge Canadians to examine power and entitlement and the real impact of our legal, political and economic systems.


Today, we have a unique opportunity to reimagine our society and rebuild in a sustainable, just and equitable manner. Let’s join together to create a better society.

Basic CMYK

“Through this CDF-supported initiative, we can ensure that no one who comes through our doors, fleeing persecution and seeking protection in Canada, is forced into homelessness or separated from family members.”

Julie Chamagne

Executive Director, Halifax Refugee Clinic

Impact by the numbers


In 2021, The Catherine Donnelly Foundation will surpass $20 million in grants to over 400 projects and partners since our founding in 2005.


4.7% of our endowment was disbursed in 2020. CDF is committed to disbursing a minimum of 4.25% of our endowment each year, an amount which exceeds the Canada Revenue Agency-required level of 3.5% for foundations.


Since 2014, The Catherine Donnelly Foundation has made, approved, or committed to 15 investments totalling $3.4 million. We have pledge to invest 10% of our assets in impact investments.

Total funding by stream, 2021

In 2019/20, over 50 organizations received $2.436 million in funding. We allocate equally to each core funding area.

Adult education • nearly $7+ million

Environment • $8+ million

Housing • $8+million

One-time grants • 60%

Long-term grants • 40%

Percentage grants by region, 2005 to 2020

The Catherine Donnelly Foundation has a national focus and has granted to every Canadian region, including Yukon and Northwest territories.

The Maritimes • 10%

Quebec • 6%

Ontario • 47%

Western Canada • 14%

British Columbia • 23%

The North • 1%

Impact Reports and Resources

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