National Research

The supervisors of research initiated on the national scale are the co-directors of the SSHRC-PhiLab project: Peter R. Elson and Jean-Marc Fontan

The research is Canada-wide and covers, amongst others, the following points:

  • Responsible finance practices
  • Generation of portraits on grantmaking philanthropy
  • The social impacts of grantmaking philanthropic action
  • The environmental impacts of grantmaking philanthropic action
  • The philanthropy / Indigenous connection through a postcolonial and decolonization perspective
Group#1: Impact Investing/ Responsible Finance

Project supervisor: Marguerite Mendell

Team members: Nancy Pole and David Grant-Poitras

Group#2: Indigenous Philanthropy Research Cluster

Project supervisor: Peter R. Elson

Team members: Juniper Glass

Partners: The Circle

Group #3: United Ways, 211 and Emergency Management

Project supervisor: Lynn Gidluck, Coordinator, Community Research Unit, University of Regina

Team members: Robyn Edwards-Bentz, CEO of the United Way of Regina and Brendan Anderson.


  • United Ways in Alberta, Manitoba and on the national level with United Way of Canada;
  • Red Cross Canada, BC and Alberta;
  • Municipal and provincial natural disaster preparation teams.

Project description: The purpose of this research project is to determine the extent to which 211 data can play a role in identifying trends of previous disaster responses to help in shaping the response of future disasters; whether United Ways, through their support of 211, can help build up sector capacity, lead to greater collaboration, coordination and connections by linking community organizations together prior to disaster striking; and if there is potential for integration of 211 with provincial emergency management agencies.

This project also has a regional component.

Group #4: The Impacts of Grantmaking Philanthropy

Project supervisor: Marie Bouchard

Team membersNancy Pole

Partners: Tiess

Group #5: Grantmaking Philanthropy and the Environment

Project supervisors: René Audet and Jean-Marc Fontan

Team members: Juniper Glass

Partners: Canadian Environmental Grantmakers Network (CEGN)

Group #6: Philanthropy and Regulatory Questions

Project supervisor: Kathryn Chan

Groupe #7: Case studies on private foundations contributing to sustainable development goals (SDGs) in Canada in innovative ways

Project supervisor : Jean-Marc Fontan

Team members : Marta Rey-Garcia, Rosane dal Magro

Partners : UDC, Canadian Environmental Grantmakers’ Network (CEGN)

Project description: The project aims at understanding why, how and with which results private foundations can contribute to the SDGs in innovative ways. To our knowledge, there are no published studies attempting at empirical verification of the contribution of private foundations to SDGs. The goal of the project is to undertake a multiple case study of three/four private foundations (necessarily endowed; preferably corporate ones, for the sake of future international comparability) that are considered as best practices for their contribution to SDGs in Canada in innovative ways. The main headquarters of the foundation need not be in Canada: an international foundation with local activity in Canada could be included in the study.

The case studies will feedback Prof. Rey-Garcia own research project while at UQAM as a visiting researcher, entitled “Philanthropy oriented towards social innovation: antecedents, enablers and effects”. The latter self-funded research project combines theoretical and empirical research, in order to produce, validate and test the conceptual framework. During her visiting research at UQAM, she will use such conceptual framework to structure the interview questionnaire towards the case studies. After her visiting research at UQAM, Prof. Rey-Garcia’s project will feed back, in its turn, PhiLab future comparative research.

Thus the short-term goal of the project is to pilot a multiple case study (3-4 private foundations and their respective ecosystems). Its long-term goal is to produce comparative study tools that can be used in future collaborative projects between PhiLab and UDC.

Two research propositions articulate the project:

  1. Internal: In order to contribute to SDGs, private foundations need to reassure sustainability across all steps of their social value chain, including inputs (financial resources), throughputs (people and partnerships) and outputs (programs).
  2. External: In order to contribute to SDGs in innovative ways, private foundations need to reinforce their civic participation and advocacy efforts.