Future Intended: History Matters

Learning about history is crucial to how we engage in the present and frame the future. We’re proud to support a series of programs led by, and geared to, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of colour) communities that enhance historical literacy to tackle pressing issues like colonialism and racism.

Retracing Colonial Histories in Hamilton

Hamilton, like Canada as a whole, is steeped in a history of colonialism. This is the focus of a new program from Righting Relations, a women-led, pan-Canadian network of adult educators working towards a more just Canada through political and economic literacy. The program consists of a series of workshops with historical topics like the Water Walkers, Hamilton’s Black Community, Six Nations land struggles, 1492 Land Back and the Red Hill Valley Parkway. Workshops will feature storytelling with panel discussions, witness testimonials, community leaders and activists.


This program from Filipinas of HamOnt takes its meaning from the Filipino words saysay (sense) and kasaysayan (history). Drawing on experts from the local Filipina-Canadian community, the focus is on the “hyphenated” histories and contexts of Philippine, Southeast Asian, and Canadian heritage. The program combines workshops, a networking event, and a collaborative video production in time for the Philippine Independence Day on June 12.


History can function to build character, generate pride and provide role models. A program from RAFIKI, an organization that supports Congolese and other Francophone Africans in Canada, seeks to help Black children of the French-speaking community discover their history and learn about the contribution of Black Canadians to Canada’s development.

Educating through video

TRAD started as a club at McMaster University in 2013 and has evolved into an online magazine that explores African cultures, ideas, philosophies and traditions, and serves Black youth in Ontario. An HCF grant will support TRAD in developing informative and interactive videos designed to connect local Black youth to Hamilton’s African diaspora and to one another.

Nuestra Historia

Asocacion Fraternidad Hispana (AFH) is a local organization committed to the inclusion and progress of Hamilton’s Hispanic community. A new program from AFH looks to help Hamilton’s Latin American community learn and engage with its roots. In collaboration with McMaster students, expert-led workshops (including Black and Indigenous Latin community members) will delve into topics such as race, identity and colonialism in Latin American history.

Our Future Intended blog is an ongoing series that spotlights some of our most recent granting in areas such as physical activityIndigenous communitiesliteracyfoodcommunity theatreseniors, our pandemic response and more.

Transforming Hamilton for trans-feminine folk

If you were assigned male at birth but identify as a woman, you may consider yourself trans-feminine. While some safe spaces exist where Two-Spirit and LGBTQ+ Hamiltonians can spend time with peers, a program run by Compass Community Health (CCH) is helping to address a gap in support for trans- feminine people in the city.

An Edith H. Turner Foundation Fund grant is helping CCH, along with key partners Kyle’s Place and speqtrum, to create three trans-feminine peer support groups: one for youth, one for adults, and one to encourage intergenerational sharing.

The idea came from members of the trans-feminine community. The groups will be run by two peer facilitators who will receive training and ongoing support from several organizations, including the AIDS Network and YWCA. Along with CCH staff, these agencies will also support both the development and the health of peer facilitators whose work makes them susceptible to vicarious trauma and burnout. In turn, the agencies will benefit from hearing trans-feminine perspectives. Ongoing feedback will shape program delivery and ultimately help address gaps in trans-feminine research.

Excerpt from 2021 Spring Legacy newsletter

Supporting students

Hamilton’s high-school graduation rates have improved over the past decade, but there are still pockets of the city where students struggle. With HCF support, Munar Learning Center will expand its already successful after- school programming for Somali-Canadian students using the award-winning Pathways to Education model.

Some 80 students aged 10 to 17 at Hess Street Public School, Dr. Davey Elementary School and Bernie Custis Secondary School will receive one-on-one and group literacy and numeracy support, including six hours of tutoring a week. Building on already successful relationships with families, program volunteers — which include parents — will attend parent-teacher interviews, connect with teachers regarding student progress, track student attendance, encourage parent participation and help students set academic and social goals. Students with learning disabilities will receive individualized action plans.

The program is promoted by downtown mosques and local youth-serving organization Empowerment Squared, which helps recruit volunteers.

Excerpt from 2021 Spring Legacy newsletter

Mental health for all

Maintaining mental health is a challenge for many people and COVID-19 has made it worse. Fifty percent of Canadians say their mental health has deteriorated, according to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. In Hamilton, Shalem Mental Health Network has seen demand for its services increase 25 percent. Still, many can’t afford to get help.

With support from HCF, Shalem’s Counselling Assistance Program will allow 150 children, youth, couples, families and seniors on the margins and struggling with poverty and housing, to access psychotherapy sessions at a reduced cost.

Sessions are offered by video call unless there are safety, privacy or technology concerns that warrant in-person, socially-distanced meetings. Treatment plans identify sources of ongoing support once sessions are completed. Clients are asked to contribute a small sum to increase their own engagement in the process.

The short-term interventions used by Shalem staff have been shown to result in strong outcomes, balancing quality of care and cost.

Hundred Waters Fund

Lori Dessau Tauber and Lewis Tauber first envisioned an HCF fund as part of the couple’s Our Millennium project. They established the Hundred Waters Fund to support artists who are making innovative connections with their community, naming it in tribute to the ideas and work of Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser, whose belief in the power of art and architecture to improve everyday life was a guiding principle for the couple.

“It is the partnership idea Lew and I thought was vital and interesting — the creative ways artists can support and engage community to improve quality of life,” says Lori.

Since Lew’s passing in August 2019, Lori looks back and finds even more meaning in the way they established and grew the fund together.

“Lew’s imagination was sparked by Hundertwasser,” she says, reflecting on his art, book, coin and stamp collecting, curation of an international mail art show, and his book about the artist. “This fund is a very personal legacy.” She remembers Lew on birthdays and anniversaries by encouraging friends and family to donate to the fund, which also supports the Community Fund.

“Our grants are small so far,” says Lori, “but even a small grant can be very powerful if it’s just what someone needs at the right moment.”

Excerpt from 2021 Spring Legacy newsletter

Jane and Stewart Capell Dream Weaver Fund

Jane Capell has been connected with Hamilton Community Foundation for more than 20 years, including monthly giving and participation in the Women 4 Change giving circle. She is thrilled by the latest step in that relationship: she and her husband’s Dream Weaver Fund is about to begin granting. The potential to change people’s lives is exciting. “Stewart’s passion is hunger and food security,” Jane says. “Mine is more abstract. I think everyone needs to be able to dream. Some just need a leg up. I hope to help turn someone’s nugget of a dream into reality.”

The Capells have chosen to work through Hamilton Community Foundation because of its expertise and its permanence. “The Foundation has the boots on the ground to know where the needs in the community are. We think it’s important to be flexible so that our giving – today and long after we’re gone – can continue to meet changing community needs.”

As a financial planner, Jane encourages others to consider philanthropy in their overall financial plan, too. She stresses both the joys of giving and its potential tax benefits. “I show people the math and then let them think about their options,” she says, options which include both current giving and estate planning.

Hamilton Community Foundation worked through those options with the Capells and Jane sings HCF’s praises about that relationship.

“The care and consideration they give every donor is outstanding. Even as huge as the Foundation has grown, it’s as if you’re the only person they’re dealing with. They know you.”

Women 4 Change

Women 4 Change

Please see the Women 4 Change commissioned research: The Impact of COVID-19 on Women in Hamilton here.

Donate or renew your Women 4 Change contribution here.

W4C_Logo_Contribute 2
Check out the most recent research paper that W4C commissioned which provides a current review of gender-specific issues faced by women and girls in Hamilton at all stages in life.

What is Women 4 Change?

Women 4 Change was established in 2012 by a group of local women who came together with HCF in a mission to inspire and enable the women of Hamilton to become leaders in philanthropy, while improving the lives of women and girls in our community through collective giving.

The founders of Women 4 Change envisioned an initiative where contributors would work collaboratively to achieve transformational change. They established a field of interest fund at Hamilton Community Foundation, to which each person contributes annually, as the vehicle through which annual grants to local organizations will be made. Throughout the year a number of educational and social opportunities are provided to enable contributors to learn about philanthropy and the issues they care about. They have established guiding principles to ensure the Women 4 Change initiative grows and develops in a meaningful and informed way.



How will we make a difference?

Women 4 Change’s dual focus on philanthropic leadership among Hamilton’s women, and improving the lives of women and girls in this community, is central to how grants are made and how the contributors are engaged throughout the year. By joining together in these efforts we can create greater impact and work toward our goal of making a difference.

Early research undertaken by Women 4 Change shows that there are women and girls in this community in desperate need of additional supports to thrive. From this research we have included some notable facts below:

  • 16% of people in families in Hamilton whose major income earner was a female lived in low income compared to only 5.1% of persons in households where the major income earner was a male
  • Older women are more than twice as likely to be living in poverty (22%) as older men (10%)
  • Women are underrepresented among Hamilton’s elected officials, at the highest levels of local public sector institutions as well as in the private sector.

Read the full research paper to learn more. The Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton produced the 2010 Women in Poverty report, that may also be of interest along with this report from the Girls Action Foundation. Subsequent studies commissioned by W4C have focused on Women’s Philanthropy and STEM:  Challenges and Opportunities.

Building on this knowledge, early W4C grants have focused on programs that focus on middle school-aged girls, are built on research, have measurable outcomes and aim to:

  • Foster independence and self-confidence
  • Remove barriers to success
  • Promote positive relationships

Read more about the first grant or watch the Girls ONLY video

To date, 27 grants totaling just under $273,000 have been awarded. These have provided the following support:

  • Hamilton Council on Aging, Senior Learning Series
  • Industry Education Council, Computer/Coding Workshop for Mature Women
  • Shalem Mental Health Network, Creating Community One Senior at a Time
  • Social Research Planning Council, Legal Holistic Pilot Program
  • Industry Education Council of Hamilton, Coding Boot Camp for Women
  • YWCA, Good Beginnings Program & Bones Plus
  • Hamilton East Kiwanis Boys’ and Girls’ Club to support a mix of girls-only programs
  • Queen Victoria School, Girls Only Program andGirls Only Camp and McMaster Trip
  • Liberty for Youth, Bright Choices for Girls Program
  • Joseph Immigrant Women’s Centre, Back to School Moms
  • Fit Active Beautiful (FAB) Foundation, Expansion of Riverdale Site
  • Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board Foundation, Girls Only Program

How can I get involved?

Supporters of Women 4 Change are asked to make an annual donation of $1,500 ($500 for contributors 40 and under). Donations are split to provide:

  • $1,000 for granting in the current year
  • $350 to build an endowment fund
  • $150 to cover administration of the giving circle

Grants will be made to organizations whose goals match those of the Women 4 Change fund at Hamilton Community Foundation. There will be an annual program of education and other events that all contributors will be invited to attend. The first will be an educational event addressing topics related to improving the lives of women and girls in Hamilton. The second event will share the stories of the organizations and people who are benefiting from the grants. Additional opportunities for involvement may be presented to contributors from time to time as appropriate.

Here’s what some of our current contributors are saying about Women 4 Change:

“The opportunity to create multiple pathways for giving/engaging that inspire women across educational backgrounds, experiences, ages and cultures to share their gifts in ways that are creative, thoughtful and supported by research”

“I am excited to see young women thrive and improve their lives with the support and interest of other women (of any age)”

“To realize I have the ability to help others … to learn that there are many other women who are devoted to philanthropy.  Together we will make a difference”

To learn more please contact Shylah MacIntyre at Hamilton Community Foundation or call 905.523.5600.

Future Intended: Pandemic Response

In March 2020, Ontario declared a state of emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Like many cities across Canada, Hamilton went into lockdown. Intended to keep people safe, the lockdown also meant that many vulnerable Hamiltonians could no longer access needed services in traditional ways. HCF established the Pandemic Response Fund to support charities working on the frontlines to keep people safe, healthy and connected. These are just a few local programs and organizations we’ve supported over the past several months.
Elizabeth Fry Society


    • In a crisis, the basics of life become a primary concern. When the pandemic hit Hamilton, Elizabeth Fry Society helped ease the worries of vulnerable women with comfort kits that included toiletries, clothing, food, hygiene products and baby essentials. The society serves criminalized women released from prison, homeless women and sex workers.

Islamic Relief Canada

    • Food security was a significant challenge when the pandemic hit, especially for populations that are already historically underserved. A grant from our Pandemic Response Fund supported the Barakah Box program, a joint venture with Mishka Social Services to provide culturally appropriate food boxes at the Hamilton Mountain Mosque. Clients include low-income families, newcomer and refugee families, seniors, and people who are differently-abled.

L’Arche Hamilton

    • Restrictions on in-person gatherings made it difficult to keep connected. A grant from HCF helped L’Arche to maintain appropriate levels of care for their clients, adults with intellectual disabilities. The purchase of new laptops allowed staff to work remotely and funds were also used to purchase “workpods” – private space dividers including beds – to set up in empty office spaces while staff worked from home. The spaces could be used to quarantine staff and clients in the event of infection.

Refuge Centre for Newcomer Health

    • The pandemic has a disproportionate effect on different communities, one of which is newcomers. Language barriers intensify this inequity. With support from HCF, Refuge Centre for Newcomer Health provided 600 hours of translation services to help newcomers navigate key pandemic information related including how to access government supports.

Wellwood Resource Centre

    • For people already dealing with serious illnesses, the pandemic was yet another challenge, from isolation to vulnerability and anxiety about entering hospitals and doctor’s offices. A grant from HCF helped Wellwood Resource Centre to make a transition to virtual programming and increased online resources. This builds on the organization’s plan for a “virtual community of support” for clients unable to come to its physical offices.

Our Future Intended blog is an ongoing series that spotlights some of our most recent granting in areas such as physical activity, Indigenous communities, literacy, food, community theatre, seniors and more.

Ella Baird & Grace Baird McQueen Memorial Fund/Archie McQueen

Even after a 50-year career in teaching, Archie McQueen continues to contribute to the development of young Hamiltonians.

Since retiring in 1998, Archie has been both a supply teacher and a volunteer, running before and after school programs at Benetto Elementary School in north Hamilton. He gives time to other schools as well and his extraordinary volunteering was recognized in 2012 with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Archie donates his supply teaching salary back to school needs through his fund at Hamilton Community Foundation.

“Small grants from the fund can have a big impact,” he says, noting its recent support to the school’s gymnasium scoreboard and IPads for students. But the fund is also flexible; he can choose other recipients if the moment is right, as it was one year for special needs at his church, St. Paul’s Presbyterian.

Archie’s fund is named for his mother, Grace Baird McQueen and his aunt Ella Baird – sisters who helped put him on the path to success as a young adult. His aunt Ella gave Archie part of a bequest she received from her employers that helped him seed the fund.  Ella was in charge of nursing at Westinghouse and had a close relationship with the Myler family who ran the company.

“I wanted to honour my mother and my aunt,” Archie says, “and Hamilton Community Foundation came up as number one to help me do that.” He has been connected to HCF for some 30 years and says it’s a “marvelous organization” that is helping him “shed a little light on what might otherwise remain dark.”

Hamilton Lawyers step up to provide critical grants during COVID Crisis

Some of Hamilton’s youngest citizens will have access to much-needed support during the COVID crisis thanks to the latest grants from the Lawyers’ Legacy for Children – Ray Harris Fund.

The Fund recently made grants totaling $19,000 to Essential Aid and Neighbour-2-Neighbour, two local organizations that focus on food security.

Essential Aid focuses on nutrition for children under four and fills a critical gap in the food bank system by stocking a wide range of infant formulas. Infant nutrition needs are unique and many formula-fed babies can’t tolerate a change, but   traditional food banks are unable to provide a selection of formula as it is expensive and product donations are difficult to acquire. Essential Aid also provides other high demand items such as diapers, baby food, and children’s hygiene items.

The grant to Neighbour-2-Neighbour will support its critical work for local families, with a focus on food security, access to tutoring programs for children, family supports and a wide range of other services.

Lawyers’ Legacy for Children – the Ray Harris Fund is a permanent endowment fund of Hamilton Community Foundation, which  was established in 2006 with a mission to: “collectively inspire and enable children and young people to nourish and develop their knowledge, talents and values in the spirit of community, generosity and responsibility which has characterized the contributions of Hamilton’s lawyers”. To date it has made grants of over $100,000 to local charities to assist children and young people in our community.

“We’re privileged to be able to provide these grants to help address the crucial and ongoing needs that have been intensified by the pandemic,” says Dermot Nolan, who spearheaded the creation of the Fund as a way for Hamilton’s lawyers to collectively help children and young people in need. “Our goal is to help our community provide them with the essentials they deserve to help them realize their dreams and live healthy and fulfilling lives.”