The Story of CDF

Transforming the lives of those in underinvested communities by supporting innovative solutions in housing, adult education and the environment.

Our vision

Committed to respect for the life and dignity of creation and all peoples, the Catherine Donnelly Foundation’s vision is to collaborate with others to create a world where everyone has a voice and the opportunity to realize their full potential, a world open to dignity, transformation, justice, and peace.

Our mission

The Foundation strives to transform the lives of the underserved by supporting initiatives in the areas of access to housing, the environment, and civic engagement for social change. We achieve this by funding, ethical investing and collaborating with organizations across Canada.

A group of people wearing matching shirts with their arms around each other's shoulders

Our Story

Established in 2003, the Catherine Donnelly Foundation is the human and financial legacy of the Sisters of Service, a remarkable group of women religious. The Foundation is a living testament to the Sisters' tradition of response to need in communities across Canada.


The Foundation honours and builds upon the spirit of service and dedication that inspired Catherine Donnelly, the founder of the community. It affirms the inherent dignity of every person and the sacredness of creation. It seeks to extend the Sisters' radical commitment to social change and to empower the marginalized.


The Foundation is a lay-religious alliance that supports projects and programs designed to promote social and ecological justice and to engage those that have been overlooked and excluded.

1960 Sinnett, SK-2, 0001 (1)

Meet Catherine Donnelly

Born in Alliston, Ontario on February 26, 1884, Catherine Donnelly studied education and after teaching in her home province, moved to rural Alberta in 1918 to instruct the children of immigrant families. Shortly after her arrival, the Spanish influenza epidemic swept across Western Canada and schools were closed. Catherine volunteered to nurse the sick in their homes and became aware of a lack of spiritual and material resources for families and their children.


A devout Roman Catholic, Catherine's experience demonstrated to her that the church in Western Canada was ill-prepared to serve the increasing numbers of new Canadian settlers. That recognition led to the founding in Toronto in 1922 of the Sisters of Service, a Catholic Religious Order dedicated to caring for newcomers.


Catherine's gift was a holistic approach to life and mission, seeing the spiritual, social and cultural needs of all people and a way of being church where the church was not present.


The Sisters of Service lived in small groups in scattered settlements, ministering to those most in need; they taught in public schools and by correspondence, operated small rural hospitals, provided immigration services at the ports of entry to Canada and established hostels in the major cities. Cooperating with public agencies, the Sisters helped those most in need take their place in Canadian society.


Sister Catherine Donnelly died at the Sisters of Service Retirement Centre in St. Catharines, Ontario on September 5, 1983.


For more information on the Sisters of Service visit their website at

Our approach to systems change

The Catherine Donnelly Foundation is committed to promoting positive social change by funding and financing initiatives related to the environment, housing and homelessness as well as adult education. Our efforts are intended to promote joint action and networking by helping organizations work together and build on one another's strengths to pursue radical systems change.

Our Team

Board of Directors

Adrienne Van Veggel

Human Resource Committee

Oakville, ON

Anne Mark

Director of Programs

Toronto, ON

Anne-Marie Jackson

Board member, Chair of the Board

Toronto, ON

Anthony (Tony) Chang

Board Member, CHSO Designate, Finance & Audit, Investment and Governance Committees

Toronto, ON

Christopher Hrynkow

Board member, Environment and Finance Committee

Saskatoon, SK

Claire Barcik

Executive Director

Toronto, ON

Dallas Alderson

Housing Committee Resource person

Gatineau, PQ

Devika Shah

Board member, Secretary, Governance Committee

Toronto, ON

Eric Tusz-King

Board Member, Housing and Human Resources Committees

Sackville, NB

Gail Thornhill

Board member and Housing Commitee

St. John's, NL

Gerald Mak

Investment Committee resource person

Toronto, ON

Gladys Yam

Board member, Treasurer, Chair Finance Commitee

Toronto, ON

Hamshaa Sivaruban

Grants and Logistics Coordinator

Toronto, ON

Jeeniraj JJ Thevasagayam

Housing Committee Resource person

Toronto, ON

Kelly Holmes

Board Member, Human Resource and Housing Committees

Winnipeg, MB

Malkeet Sandhu

Environment Committee Resource person

Brampton, ON

Mary Halder

Honorary Elder

Toronto, ON

Rejwan Karim

Adult education Committee resource person

Toronto, ON

Richard Morgan

Board member, Vice Chair, Chair Adult Education Committee

Ottawa, ON

Sara Mainville

Board member

Toronto, ON

Shelley Cahill

Financial Administrator

Toronto, ON

Sherry Yano

Board Member, Chair Environment Committee

Vancouver, BC

Sr. Janet Speth, CSJ

Board member, Adult Education Committee

Toronto, ON

Steve Brearton

Communications & Policy Officer

Toronto, ON

Sucheta Rajagopal

Board member, Chair Investment Committee, Environment Committee

Toronto, ON

Tessa Hebb

Investment Committee resource person

Ottawa, ON

Yousuf Najmee

Director of Finance and Investment

Toronto, ON

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Join The Catherine Donnelly Foundation to support bold systems change in Canada

At the Catherine Donnelly Foundation you have the opportunity to use your unique talents to bring about bold systems change. Based in Toronto, we are a national foundation that transforms the lives of those most in need by supporting innovation in housing, adult education and the environment.


We are a small, creative and busy team that promises a collaborative, flexible and fun work environment. The Catherine Donnelly Foundation is committed to building a diverse and inclusive workplace and encourage Black, Indigenous, Persons of Colour), newcomers and those under 40 to apply for positions.


We post career, board of director and committee opportunities below and on social media, so please follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. You can also stay updated on the Foundation’s activities through our e-newsletter.


If there are no positions listed, please check back for upcoming opportunities.

Stay up to date

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