You are here

Community Inspired for 75 Years

Vancouver Foundation started in 1943 with one person, $1,000 and a vision. Alice MacKay had saved $1,000 from her secretarial job and wanted to help homeless women trapped in a cycle of poverty.

Inspired by Alice’s generosity, local businessperson and philanthropist Whitford VanDusen added $10,000 to her endowment and encouraged nine other prominent families to match his own gift. Starting with that original $101,000 Vancouver Foundation has since become the largest community foundation in Canada.

From the very beginning, we have been community inspired. We respond to social and political change, focusing on what matters most to British Columbians.

Together, we support newcomers, rally through war and poverty, empower citizens, and champion equality and cultural vibrancy. We seek out innovative breakthroughs in technology, research and medicine.

For 75 years we’ve shared the dream of both Whitford VanDusen and Alice Mackay—creating healthy, vibrant and livable communities.

Click to view our 75th Anniversary Historical Timeline


Since it was founded in 1943, Vancouver Foundation, in partnership with its donors, has distributed more than $1 billion to thousands of community projects and programs.

The nine other founding families who were inspired to contribute were:

  • Mrs. William Farrell & Family
  • F. Ronald Graham
  • George Kidd
  • H. R. MacMillan
  • W. H. Malkin
  • C. T. McHattie
  • Chris Spencer
  • A. H. Williamson
  • W. C. Woodward


Vancouver Foundation was formally established by an Act of the Provincial Legislature - the Vancouver Foundation Act - in 1950.