Our History – If They Could See Us Now

In 1970, seven community-minded citizens, Mr. Fred MacDermid, Q.C., The Honorable Sidney Buckwold, Dr. Austin Forsyth, Mr. G. Blair Nelson, Dr. John Leddy, Mr. Albert Flavelle, and Mr. Allan Tubby, came together to establish Saskatoon Community Foundation. Each made a personal donation to establish an endowment fund. From that beginning, our managed assets stand at over $55 million.

The original Board members recognized the impact a community foundation could have on the community, but they knew it would take time. Did they envision the foundation’s remarkable growth? Did they anticipate the impact on quality of life the foundation would have in the community? Could they have envisioned such wonderful programs as these:

  • The redevelopment of the skate shack and accessible trail by the Meewasin Valley Authority;
  • The Outreach Van to the Lighthouse Supported Living Inc.;
  • Heart of the City Piano, with volunteers teaching music to kids whose families cannot afford a piano;
  • Core Neighbourhood Youth Co-op, bringing carpentry and horticulture skills to inner-city youth;
  • New environmentally sustainable lighting for Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan, to ensure that our annual summer drama festival continues to prosper;
  • families improving their quality of life by purchasing healthy inexpensive food through the Good Food Box program operated by the Child Hunger and Education Program

I think The Foundation is an example of philanthropy at its best. I remember the first award we made. It wasn’t a huge sum, but it went toward the rebuilding of a workshop where they manufactured artificial limbs for children.

Austin Forsyth, Founder

Saskatoon Community Foundation Historical Highlights

Back in 1969, at the first preliminary planning meeting to establish the Saskatoon Community Foundation, the criteria for board members was defined. It was decided that the qualities sought should be “integrity, experience and proven records of community service.”

On October 30th, 1969, seven well known Saskatonians- Fred MacDermid Q.C. ( a barrister) , the Honourable Sid Buckwold (a merchant) , Dr. Austin Forsyth (an optometrist) , Blair Nelson (a broadcast executive), Dr. John (Jack) Leddy (a surgeon) , Albert Flavelle (an automobile dealer) and Allan Tubby ( a civil engineer) -came together to establish the Saskatoon Foundation. The Winnipeg Foundation would serve as the model. This was their way of expressing love for the city which “had been so good to them”. This was their way of giving back to the Saskatoon community. The Act of Incorporation of the Saskatoon Foundation received royal assent on April 18th, 1970. The Act was amended in 2005, to reflect the change of the organization’s name from Saskatoon Foundation to Saskatoon Community Foundation.

It is interesting to note that publication of our first annual financial statement, as required by law, occupied a space of one column by two inches in The Star Phoenix, in that year.

The Foundation’s first major donors were Dr. Bart Jackson & his wife, Mrs. Madeline Jackson who, in 1971, established the Joyce Jackson Charitable Trust for Children as a memorial to their first born daughter.

The first grant ever awarded from the Saskatoon Foundation was $600 from income generated from this fund going to the Council for Crippled Children and Adults.( This agency is now known as the Saskatchewan Abilities Council) This grant comprised the entire granting total for 1973.

In 1979 the first scholarship, or student award, was established, the George Porteous Memorial for junior development of the Saskatoon Symphony.
Our first anonymous donation was received in 1981. Our first gift of capital funding through insurance policies naming the Foundation as beneficiary was also arranged in 1981, from Jerry Meckleborg and his sister, Annette.

In 1982, Ross Pinder’s “brain child” the Century Club was born. (A $100 donation as a membership to the Century Club, with continuing donations each year earning the designation of Life Member when a total of $1000 has been attained.) This creative formula for giving enabled many Saskatonians to participate in endowment creation.

In more recent years, as our community has prospered, the Saskatoon Community Foundation has seen more rapid growth, with our assets growing from $11 million to over $55 million in the years between 2004 and 2014.

We celebrate our proud past, and look forward to serving our donors and our charities in the future, for Saskatoon, forever.