The Young Fund

The Young Fund

In the spring of 2000, one of the largest charitable donations in Canadian history was made to the Hamilton Community Foundation – transforming our organization’s resources and ability to respond to the charitable priorities of our community. This gift comes from Joyce Young – a private, soft-spoken, Hamilton-area woman – who made a donation of $40 million to the Foundation. More broadly, Mrs. Young’s remarkable gift to the Hamilton area has inspired people throughout communities across Canada, sparking dialogue and awareness of the power of individual citizens to change their communities.

The desire to help their nephew, Bob Young, in a high tech business venture left Joyce and her husband Bill with a financial windfall that exceeded their wildest expectations. Joyce made an investment in Red Hat Inc., the company established by their nephew. After holding the company’s stock for three years, she took out her original investment, leaving a little in “just for fun”. The “fun” translated into stock worth over $40 million.

Mrs. Young’s concern was to use the money responsibly to strengthen the services and supports in our community. It is significant that this generous gift, which, by virtue of its magnitude will transform the grant-making capabilities of the Foundation, results from the field of technology, which has had such a major impact on transforming our community. The Community Foundation will ensure that the Youngs’ generous gift has a broad and significant impact, strengthening our community and the quality of life enjoyed by all who live here. Joyce and Bill Young also hope that their gift will inspire others who reap financial windfalls to make similar charitable donations and, equally importantly, that each of us will be inspired to “give back to our community”.

By the tenth anniversary of that extraordinary gift, there had been grants totaling more than $11 million to innovative programs in Hamilton, across Canada and internationally. These grants have touched areas including education, health, the arts and the environment.

Perhaps one of the best examples of the impact is Pathways to Education, a trailblazing program that has proven to reduce high school dropout rates dramatically among disadvantaged youth and help them go on to post-secondary education. Pioneered in Toronto’s Regent Park, The Young Fund has supported its expansion to 11 Canadian communities including Hamilton, where it is addressing the critical issue of low high school completion in challenged neighbourhoods.

Their gift has also improved the life prospects of countless Hamilton young people through the creation of NYA:WEH, an Aboriginal stay-in-school initiative, and a model that is having an influence across the country.

Transformative to the Foundation and to Hamilton, the Young gift in 2000 virtually doubled the granting capacity of HCF’s Community Fund, which is directed to the city’s highest needs. It continues to contribute to this fund annually. At the same time, it enabled the Foundation to pilot its Growing Roots…Strengthening Neighbourhoods program. Together, these components have come together to inform and enable HCF’s neighbourhood-based poverty-reduction work.

“There are many remarkable aspects about this gift,” says President & CEO Terry Cooke, “and perhaps most humbling is the trust placed in the Foundation and the confidence the Youngs have in Hamilton and its future.”

The Young gift continues a family tradition of giving back to their community. Their roots in the community are deep and their commitment to its welfare is profound. Joyce’s great-great grandfather, Colin Ferrie, became the first mayor of Hamilton in 1847. Bill’s ancestors established the Hamilton Cotton Company and his father, James Young, was one of the founding board members of Hamilton Community Foundation in 1954.

The Young Fund is a legacy that will continue to transform this community for generations to come.

The John & Esther Marshall Memorial Fund

John and Esther MarshallWhen John Marshall asked a friend to set him up on a blind date for a University of Toronto dance, he had no idea he was about to meet the love of his life. “From the beginning, I could see that Esther had a quiet and steady presence. She was well liked and respected by everyone. She had a good laugh.” The date and the dance were a huge success. John married Esther, a Brantford native, on May 29, 1948. Although both graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School, John, who also completed a degree in aeronautical engineering and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1967, says they seldom talked law. “Esther practiced for a year in her father’s firm, but when the first of our four daughters came along, her attention turned to family and community life.”

Esther gave extensively to the community through her volunteer activities, including membership on the Board of Directors of the Hamilton Community Foundation from 1979-1983, the Junior League of Hamilton-Wentworth, volunteer committee of the Art Gallery of Hamilton, and the Board of Governors for McMaster University.

The value of public service may well have been learned from her widowed father, Ross Macdonald, who served as a Member of Parliament for Brantford, Speaker of the House of Commons and a member of Lester Pearson’s Liberal Cabinet. When he was appointed Lieutenant Governor of Ontario in 1967, Esther often acted as his hostess for official engagements.

Through a gift of securities, John and his four daughters – Ann, Claire, Mary and Janet – established a fund in honour of their wife and mother who died in September of 1995. The Fund is used to make contributions to arts and cultural organizations in Hamilton. Daughter Mary Prime says the Fund is a wonderful way to keep her mother’s memory alive. “My mother always put others first. She was admirable in every way and she remains a strong reference point in all our lives.”

In 2003 the fund was passed to the daughters on John’s death. Because they remembered the lifelong value of their early experiences in the arts, they now use the fund to provide similar opportunities to children in Hamilton today.

The four siblings work closely with Hamilton Community Foundation staff to make grants from the fund their father established in memory of their mother in 1995 and passed down to them on his death in 2003.

They support the organizations Esther and John favoured, but they have also branched out to fund priorities identified by HCF. “The Foundation has been superb in giving us options to consider,” says Janet. The sisters are attracted to projects that expose low-income children to the arts, like hands-on summer arts camps and artist-in-the-classroom programs. They feel their parents would have appreciated that direction too.

“Our parents loved the arts and they enjoyed contributing time and resources to the arts community in Hamilton,” says Ann. “We want to make sure that continues.” Now that the family is scattered across Canada, the fund is “an anchor back to the Hamilton community where we grew up,” adds Mary.

“Dad was so pleased to have established this fund in memory of Mum,” says Claire. “We’re very, very pleased to continue it.”

The E.B. Eastburn Postdoctoral Fellowship Fund

Hamilton industrialist and philanthropist Eugene B. Eastburn believed in the power of education to make a difference to people and to their communities.

Half a century later, his legacy to help young scientists pursue their research studies continues through the E.B. Eastburn Postdoctoral Fellowship,” said HCF Board Chair Dr. Gary Warner during the presentation of the 2011 fellowship to McMaster researcher Dr. Constance O’Connor.

Mr. Eastburn, who died in 1962, was president of National Hosiery Mills in Hamilton and also served on the HCF Board. Through a gift in his will, the Foundation has awarded 32 fellowships since his death to researchers located at universities across Canada. Fellows have come from a diverse spectrum of scientific fields ranging from biology and medical sciences to mathematics and zoology.

In presenting the award at the university, Dr. Warner also announced that in future the fellowship will be offered exclusively at McMaster, representing “another level of partnership between the two organizations.”

Considered one of Canada’s most prestigious research fellowships, it provides $80,000 over two years to fund Dr. O’Connor’s research into the genetic makeup of cichids, a highly social fish native to Lake Tanganyika in east Africa. She hopes to provide an evolutionary picture of how social behaviour evolved, and establish a mechanism for underlying social disorders that could apply to mice, birds and mammals.

“Our postdoctoral fellows are members both of the McMaster community and of the Hamilton community,” said Dr. Allison Sekuler, McMaster’s dean of graduate studies. “This partnership with HCF greatly increases our ability to attract the best researchers to Hamilton.”

Excerpt from Spring 2012 Newsletter

Pioneer Energy LP


PioneerPioneer Energy and its long history of community support were recognized this fall when it received the corporate Outstanding Philanthropist Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

Murray Hogarth, Pioneer’s founder, says he is “proud to have been the leader of a company that has been able to make a difference.” A seasoned volunteer in countless community leadership roles, Murray’s example established Pioneer’s corporate value of philanthropy.

In 1999, Pioneer marked the millennium by establishing the Pioneer Petroleums Children’s Foundation at HCF, and has made more than 250 grants totalling over $2.5 million. The company also created the Pioneer Petroleums Foundation Fund within HCF’s Community Fund to help address Hamilton’s most pressing needs. In addition, Pioneer generously supports a range of other charities across the communities where they are located.

 Equally important, Pioneer paves the way for others to make a difference through community philanthropy. Programs at their retail outlets, like Cent a Litre Days, Give What You Can, and School Bucks Community Bucks, encourage customers and partners to join them in meeting local needs.

 “Pioneer’s people take a lot of pride in supporting the community,” Murray says. “We’re successful because of the communities we work in. It makes good business sense – and it’s just right – to give back.”

Excerpt from Fall 2011 Newsletter

Note-Able Music Fund

The value of arts education for children has been well researched and documented. 

It enhances children’s learning by developing motor, language and literacy abilities.  It provides an alternative way of learning and a means of expression, serving to build bridges among different cultures and life experiences. 

Unfortunately, the arts have been dramatically reduced in Hamilton schools due to budget constraints.  Many families are unable to personally provide these opportunities for their children. 

 The Note-Able Music Fund fills that gap.  It has been funded initially by gifts from two people who were motivated by their love of music and in recognition of the importance of music to their own development: Olive Poulton and Laurie Connon.  Their hope is that this fund will inspire other like-minded individuals to respond similarly and help provide the gift of music to children in our community

Music Fund

Hamilton Community Foundation received two bequests that have been directed to providing bursaries for music students.  These came from the estates of Irene Norris and Merle Williams.  The bursaries are granted to students identified in the music programs at Mohawk College and McMaster University.  Music was very important to both Ms. Norris and Ms. Williams and they wanted to leave a legacy that would help promising and deserving students who were pursuing their music studies in Hamilton.  The first bursaries were awarded in 2013.

Cameron K. MacGillivray Fund

Cameron Knox MacGillivray, F.C.A., L.L.D. was born in 1905 in Chatham, Ont. Cameron MacGillivray spent most of his life in Hamilton where he had two distinguished careers. He was the founder and senior partner of MacGillivray & Co., Chartered Accountants, until 1972 when he retired and assumed the direction of The Hamilton Foundation for the next ten years.

Prominent on numerous local Boards and Committees, he served as President of the Canadian Club, Thistle Club, and the United Nations Association. In addition to honours accorded by his professional colleagues, McMaster University conferred an honorary Doctor of law degree in 1983 recognizing his business career and his extensive voluntary community service.

To those who knew him, Cameron MacGillivray was the original watch-every-penny man. No wonder people trusted him so much; he never strayed far from his chartered accountant’s financial prudence.

In 1971 Cam had just retired as founder and senior partner of MacGillivray and Partners when the esteemed Ellen Fairclough, HCF Board Chair, tapped him for a little project to keep him busy in his sunset years. She asked Cam to become the Executive Director of Hamilton Community Foundation – an unpaid position at the time.

The retirement project became a passion: Cam joined the Foundation and stayed for 10 years, helping to transform the still-fledgling organization into a substantial force in the community. Though on paper Cam worked three half days per week on Foundation business, he never stopped chatting up the cause.

“I know that in Cam’s very quiet but responsible way, he influenced a great many people who subsequently supported the Foundation and helped to build its resources,” says Judith McCulloch, who succeeded Cam as Executive Director in 1982, a position she held for 13 years.

“Cam was highly trusted in the community and I think it was that trust level that made a difference. If he said something was a good thing, people believed him.”

Though it’s more than 20 years since Cam officially retired from HCF, new bequests still flow in that date back to a conversation with Cam decades before.

Excerpt from 2003-2004 Annual Report

Betty and Jack George

Betty and Jack George

Betty and Jack George on their wedding day in 1949.

 As the first person in her family to go to university, psychiatrist Dr. Lindsey George understands the power of education as a pathway to prosperity. “My parents immigrated here in 1957 when I was just three,” she says. “They had limited education, but they were both able to get good factory jobs and make a comfortable living for our family.

That’s not true anymore. Things have changed. We know that for young people today, education is the key to well paying jobs.” With a focus on the future, Lindsey’s parents encouraged her to excel in higher education and she did – first at Mohawk College’s Child and Youth Program, then through an honours BA at night at McMaster University, a master’s degree from York University, and finally – at age 39 with two children – her MD from McMaster. “My father was dying when I applied to medical school,” says Lindsey with tears in her eyes, “but he hung on until he heard that I had been accepted.”

As a tribute to her parents, Lindsey and her husband Peter Archibald started the Betty and Jack George Family Fund at Hamilton Community Foundation. It consolidates their charitable giving and focuses on employment for youth in poverty and at risk, areas that she and Peter are passionate about. They were attracted to HCF because of its leadership role in poverty reduction and in working collaboratively. “In all my volunteer life, I haven’t seen this kind of coming together,” Lindsey says. “The Foundation has found a way to connect people on important issues – people from different fields of work, different histories and experiences, and different cultures. It’s a new and exciting way of working.”

Lindsey was chairing a multi-sector group working toward affordable housing when she first approached Hamilton Community Foundation for advice. Since then, she has participated in the Hamilton Roundtable on Poverty Reduction and is an HCF board member. “HCF brings together incredibly active, passionate people,” she says, “and I’m learning every day. If we can get the word out about the work Hamilton Community Foundation is doing, people will want to support it as Peter and I have. We’re still in the middle of our careers, but even a modest contribution like ours can have a huge impact today and even more in the years to come.” 

The couple’s encouragement of higher education is celebrated through daughter Lindsey and son-in-law Peter’s fund at HCF.

Excerpt from 2009-2010 Annual Report

Annie S. Nieman Fund

Nan Stott and her family came to Canada from England after the First World War. They were a musical family, singers and pianists. She worked in various offices around town, latterly as a switchboard operator at CHML Radio. The wartime effort of the 1940’s inspired her to canvass tirelessly, and successfully, for the Victory Bond campaign. Her husband Sam, who had worked for the local newspaper and enjoyed a reputation as a basketball star, died several years ago.

Excerpt from 1989-1990 Annual Report

The Hamilton Spectator Summer Camp Fund

The Hamilton Spectator Summer Camp Fund is used to provide camperships to children whose families could not otherwise afford the cost of summer camp.  Funds are distributed to day and overnight camps in our community

The Hamilton Spectator Summer Camp Fund is a partnership between Hamilton Community Foundation and The Hamilton Spectator.

Priorities & Criteria

To be eligible for funding the applicant must meet the following criteria:

  • Must serve Hamilton/Burlington children
  • Children must be in demonstrated financial need
  • Camp/organization cannot be receiving funding from The Toronto Star Fresh Air Fund or Guelph Mercury Kids to Camp Fund
  • The camp and/or sponsoring organization must be established and operational for five years

Grant awards are provided for one or two week sessions only.

Applications will be assessed using the following criteria to determine the level of support:

  • Cost effectiveness (how many children are being supported by requested dollars)
  • A process is in place to determine financial need
  • Quality of the camping experience
  • Membership in the Ontario Camping Association or comparable overseeing body


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