The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation: Inclusion. Sustainability. Resilience. Innovation.
The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, based in Montreal and funding throughout Canada, supports what it calls socially engaged arts—arts organizations and activities that build bridges between culture and community—as a way to realize its vision of “a Canada where all people feel a sense of belonging and contribute as active citizens to improving the well-being of all.” The foundation’s most recent initiative focused on arts-based social inclusion owes much to what it learned from ArtsSmarts, an arts-infused learning program launched at the end of the 1990s. In fact, ArtsSmarts has had a lasting impact on the way the foundation approaches its work in building networks and scaling innovations, no matter the sector.
The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation often makes early stage investments to experiment and learn. Then, as it did with ArtsSmarts, it leverages its grants to support demonstration projects into national initiatives. Devoted to generating and acting on knowledge, the foundation also disseminates its own reports and white papers, and convenes roundtables with other learning organizations. With an endowment of about $550 million and up to $20 million in grants each year, all of its activities are directed towards its mission of “engag[ing] Canadians in building a more innovative, inclusive, sustainable, and resilient society.”
Listen to a podcast interview by Ann McQueen with Stephen Huddart, Executive Director, J.W. McConnell Family Foundation
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