What We Fund

“The Peter Gilgan Foundation supports registered charities that improve life opportunities for children and families, as well as those that advance market-based solutions for global humanitarian and environmental concerns.”

The Peter Gilgan Foundation aims to accomplish this by providing support in three areas:

1) Children, Youth and Families:

We want to help those who lack the resources and opportunities to reach their full potential. In doing so, our focus will be on funding charitable organizations that create opportunities and equip individuals with the tools to seize them at critical junctures in their lives. Our giving in this area will focus on three major categories:

+ Education (birth to post-secondary)

  • We will support organizations that collectively create a ladder of opportunities from early childhood to young adulthood and independence. We are also interested in supporting organizations that provide opportunities for positive youth development. We believe strongly that all children, regardless of the circumstances of their birth, deserve opportunities to thrive.
  • Similarly, we are also interested in supporting education and career opportunities for children and young adults. We are interested in exploring options for young people to find and complete post-secondary pathways that will position them to earn a stable income and set them on the path to independence. We will explore a range of models to prepare young people for the workforce challenges of the 21st century.

+ Health and Wellness

  • We know that health is a critical variable for an individual’s life prospects, and that it is determined by far more than just access to health care. Health is determined by a complex and interrelated web of determinants. Therefore, we are interested in supporting community-based efforts to promote health and wellness for vulnerable populations by equipping them with the knowledge, tools and resources to reduce risk factors. We also prioritize efforts that take a multi-disciplinary, holistic approach to strengthen and align the various systems that affect the health of individuals.

+ Economic Opportunities

  • The most promising approaches to social and economic mobility are based on efforts to support children and parents together, i.e., a “two-generation” strategy that creates opportunities for and addresses the needs of the “whole family.”
  • We are interested in supporting charitable organizations that not only create opportunities for families, but also equip them with the tools and supports to pursue them. This requires a combination of resources across educational, employment, and social and health programs that are coordinated and aligned to serve children and their parents together.

In the area of Children, Youth and Families we also prioritize the following criteria:
o Programs targeted to low-income or vulnerable populations;
o Efforts to address root causes of problems and not just ameliorate the symptoms;
o Comprehensive, integrated solutions rather than fragmented approaches or isolated interventions;
o Organizations that have an ability to align direct services in the broader context of policy, research and systems in order to achieve scale beyond the immediate people served;
o Inclusion of the people most directly affected by the problems in the design and delivery of the solutions;
o A commitment and willingness to ongoing evaluation and learning in order to improve and increase impact.

2) Environment and Climate Change:

Emissions of greenhouse gases are the major driver of climate change; energy consumption, transportation, housing, buildings, industry, and agriculture are the major drivers of emissions. Large-scale national and international efforts to slow climate change for the benefit of the public must target these drivers, which will require changes to public policy, business practice, and a move away from fossil fuels as a major source of energy. We believe that environmental reform is both an absolute necessity, as well as an enormous opportunity for economic growth.

Our focus will be on efforts that contribute to a comprehensive climate solution. Our giving in this area will focus on three major categories:

+ Renewable and Low-Emission Energy Sources:

  • The Foundation will consider grants that contribute to the transition to renewable energy. We will also consider support for policy development and research into technologies that reduce the carbon footprint of non-renewable energy sources, and that update and modernize other energy technologies. These areas include a range of potential projects, including wind, solar, hydropower, and carbon capture.

+ Education and Public Awareness:

  • We will also consider support for efforts to raise public awareness about the challenges of climate change and the various methods underway to address them. In doing so we hope to focus our efforts around ways to translate complex policy and research topics into compelling, relevant, and ultimately actionable messages. Ultimately we want communities around the world to understand the causes of climate change and how individual and community action can contribute to a solution.

+ Green Development

  • The Foundation will consider grants and initiatives targeted at making residential and commercial developments environmentally sustainable, while also making strong business and economic sense.

+ Communities:

  • Disadvantaged communities are often adversely affected by policy and business decisions that affect environmental conditions in their communities. The foundation will consider support for environmental organizations that build community capacity to respond to these challenges, especially in ways that overlap with related health and wellness priorities. Specifically, we are interested in:
  • Community engagement in lower-income communities to build momentum and will to address environmental and health challenges;
  • Food systems: Climate change threatens food security and access, and emissions from the global food transportation network contribute to climate change. Promotion of locally-sourced, high-quality food is an opportunity to transform the agricultural and transportation sectors;

3) Special Opportunities: The foundation is committed to vibrant, healthy and thriving communities, and we believe in our civic duty to help build and maintain that. Consequently, in extraordinary circumstances, we may consider support for critical anchor institutions in the community for projects that fall outside of our major funding priorities. The foundation will consider support to these institutions only in rare, exceptional cases when they are embarking on time-limited, large-scale transformational efforts to strengthen their position as anchors. This may take the form of capital or endowment campaigns, major physical infrastructure needs, or significant investments to adapt in ways that will transform their field of work. The foundation will not accept unsolicited proposals in this area.