Community Sector Council of NS




Celebrating 10 years of local giving for local impact


A lot can happen in 10 years. Since the Community Foundation of Nova Scotia was established in 2008, the number of funds under our management has grown to more than 60, including our network of community funds, three of which are also celebrating 10 years with us: the Bridgetown Area Community Fund, the Yarmouth Area Community Fund and the Wolfville Community Fund. We’ve disbursed and committed more than $3 million in grants to people, projects and progress in communities across the province. We’ve launched 12 Vital Signs reports, with two more set to be released this October.


But perhaps our biggest impact is our ability to empower communities to realize their collective possibilities and what can be achieved through place-based philanthropy.


While the community foundation movement in Canada is nearly 100 years old, the Community Foundation of Nova Scotia is considered pretty young in the context of that kind of history. Still, 10 years is a big milestone and we’re proud of what we’ve accomplished in that time.


To tell the story of our evolution over the past decade we turned to someone who’s been here from the start, CFNS board member and Yarmouth Area Community Fund co-chair Mary Eldridge.


Mary and Peter Eldridge, co-chairs of the Yarmouth Area Community Fund, featured in a February 2014 article in the Yarmouth Vanguard.


“I joined Community Foundation of Nova Scotia in 2008 with great optimism. Community foundations do so much for so many communities across Canada, and this seemed like such a good fit for Nova Scotia. The earliest community funds – Yarmouth, Bridgetown and Wolfville – had great interest in having a local fund that would help so many people, especially in these rural communities. Ten years later, I haven’t been disappointed.


Over the years our executive directors, staff, and board of directors have worked very hard to spread the word about community funds and have encouraged many people to see CFNS as a special place for philanthropy. Each member has shown a passion in helping CFNS to grow and have contributed their special creative expertise.


It’s particularly interesting that each of the local community funds are different in the way they have developed, but they all share a common theme of local benefit for their community and all of Nova Scotia. It’s great to see the number of community funds growing too.


We’ve always set our goals very high and it has been a pleasure to work with the Community Foundation of Nova Scotia, and to know it will continue to grow well into the future.”


Here’s to the next 10 years of empowering communities across Nova Scotia!


More in this edition:

  • NOW Lunenburg County campaigning for reliable, affordable and accessible internet
  • Place-based philanthropy as a tool for rural economic development: a visit from the Nebraska Community Foundation
  • Halifax accessibility activist Paul Vienneau named 2018 James McGregor Stewart Award recipient
  • PEI student wins four year Peter Kohler Engineering Scholarship
  • Pictou County and Strait Region Vital Signs reports launching in October
  • $1M gift to LaHave River clean up comes into effect

with straight pipe replacement project

  • Community foundations and the Sustainable Development Goals: making the global local
  • Beyond Canada 150: building on the momentum of Canada’s sesquicentennial
  • Community news and events



NOW Lunenburg County campaigning for reliable, affordable and accessible internet



Our NOW Lunenburg County initiative is determined to make reliable, affordable and accessible internet service available for all residents of Lunenburg County.


Inconsistent – or in some areas nonexistent – access to high speed internet is an ongoing issue in Nova Scotia’s rural communities and it affects many aspects of life there, particularly economic development. Reliable internet access is essential to work or run a business in the 21st century and NOW Lunenburg County’s population growth coordinator Tina Hennigar says she’s heard directly from people who are interested in moving to the area but are deterred by the lack of internet access, as well as frustrated residents who have to live with the current situation.


To find out how you can get involved in the campaign for reliable, affordable and accessible internet in your community, contact Tina at 902-523-5725 or email for details.


We’re proud to support the innovative work of NOW Lunenburg County, an initiative of our Lunenburg County Community Fund.


Donate to NOW Lunenburg County



Grassroots philanthropy as a tool for rural economic development: a visit from the Nebraska Community Foundation




From September 12 to 14, the Community Foundation of Nova Scotia will host representatives of the Nebraska Community Foundation for a series of events.


Through a growing network of ambitious people, the Nebraska Community Foundation uses shared ideas, resources and experiences to help local leaders unleash the abundant assets and talents within their own place. The Nebraska Community Foundation has effectively used the unique community foundation model of grassroots philanthropy to combat the challenges many rural communities face, including outmigration of youth.


During his time here president and CEO Jeff Yost will conduct a workshop with our fund holders where he’ll share the story of the Nebraska Community Foundation and give them the tools to grow their own funds and make a difference in their communities.


CFNS fund holders can stay tuned for a save the date and more details about these exciting events coming soon!



Halifax accessibility activist Paul Vienneau named 2018 James McGregor Stewart Award recipient


Paul Vienneau (photo via the James McGregor Stewat Society)

Halifax photographer, musician and accessibility activist Paul Vienneau has been named the recipient of the 2018 James McGregor Stewart Award.


In a ceremony on June 21, Vienneau will be presented with a certificate and a $1,000 by Gerry Post, executive director of Nova Scotia’s Accessibility Directorate and 2017 winner of the award.


The James McGregor Stewart Award recognizes leadership, effective advocacy and outstanding personal achievement of a person with a disability, and recognizes the spirit of James McGregor Stewart, who overcame many barriers, despite a disability resulting from polio. It was established in 2015 with the Community Foundation of Nova Scotia by friends of the James McGregor Stewart Society.


“The award honours the resolve shown by Stewart”, says Warren Reed, co-founder of the James McGregor Stewart Society. “In Paul Vienneau our selection committee found a person that, like Stewart, leads and excels regardless of barriers.  Paul is a force of nature.”


Read the full story on the James McGregor Stewart Society website.



PEI student wins four year 

Peter Kohler Engineering Scholarship


Mitchell Collins (submitted photo)

Mitchell Collins couldn’t believe the news when he received the call from the Community Foundation of Nova Scotia.


He’d just found out he won the Peter Kohler Engineering Scholarship, which will support his education in engineering over the next four years.


German-born Canadian engineer Peter Kohler established the sizeable scholarship with the Community Foundation of Nova Scotia in 2013 to create a significant impact on the lives of engineering students in Atlantic Canada, and that’s exactly what it will do for Collins. Read the full story on our website.



Pictou County and Strait Region Vital Signs 

reports launching in October


We’re set to produce two Vital Signs reports in 2018: for Pictou County in partnership with the United Way of Pictou County and The Aberdeen Health Foundation, and for the Strait Region of Antigonish, Guysborough, Inverness and Richmond Counties in partnership with the Strait Region Society for Children, Youth and Families.


Vital Conversations have been held in both regions to identify the priority areas and the reports are now in the writing stage. A Vital Conversation is a facilitated conversation with members of a community to explore relevant issues and frame the Vital Signs report.


Vital Signs is a national program coordinated by Community Foundations of Canada  and led locally by community foundations. It leverages local knowledge to measure the vitality of our communities and identify significant trends in a range of areas to support action toward improving our collective quality of life.


The reports will be released during National Vital Signs week, the first week of October 2018. Keep an eye out for our fall e-news in September for launch dates, locations and more details!



$1M gift to LaHave River clean up comes into effect 

with straight pipe replacement project

Clean up of the LaHave River has begun with the commencement of a straight pipe replacement project. (photo via Global News)

In 2016 our Lunenburg County Community Fund committed $1 million to the clean up of the LaHave River. That gift came into effect in April with the commencement of the LaHave Straight Pipe Replacement Program, a green infrastructure solution that allows residents to have access to reliable water and wastewater services while safeguarding the health and well-being of the local waterway and ecosystem. Work involves removing up to 600 straight pipes that are currently discharging sewage into the LaHave River and replacing them with septic systems.


Clean up efforts were spurred on by the work of the Bluenose Coastal Action Foundation, as well as local student Stella Bowles, who collected and studied bacteria levels in the river for an elementary school science project. Bowles has been an outspoken advocate about the need for the clean up of the river and her work has garnered substantial media coverage.


Read more about the LaHave Straight Pipe Replacement Program, made possible through a funding partnership between the Department of Infrastructure Canada, the Nova Scotia Department of Environment, and the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg, as well as gifts like the one from our Lunenburg County Community Fund.



Community foundations and the Sustainable Development Goals: making the global local



In 2015, United Nations (UN) member countries adopted a set of universal goals with the intention of shifting the world toward a more sustainable and resilient path by the year 2030. The new sustainable development agenda identifies 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which target economic, social, and environmental development. The goals intend to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that no one is left behind. The new SDGs, also known as Global Goals, build on the success of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) with specific targets for all countries to work toward over the next 15 years.


Community foundations are a natural fit as champions of the SDGs because their work already connects to many of the goals. As part of an international philanthropic movement, community foundations have an opportunity to further leverage our knowledge, partners and initiatives in common purpose with others by connecting our efforts locally to a broader vision to improve the world around us. The Vital Signs initiative is just one example of where the SDGs are being used to guide research and action.


Visit Community Foundations of Canada’s website for more information about community foundations and the SDGs. Statistics Canada’s SDG data hub is also a great resource to learn more and check in on Canada’s progress toward achieving the goals through key indicators.



Beyond Canada 150: building on the momentum of Canada’s sesquicentennial


This time last year we were gearing up for projects across the province related to Canada’s 150th. The Government of Canada’s Community Fund for Canada’s 150th was a collaborative initiative with community foundations and local leaders, with $16 million in funding awarded to more than 2,100 projects in every province and territory.


The Community Foundation of Nova Scotia alone distributed more than $100,000 to a diverse range of projects. Many applicants took the opportunity to make a lasting impact, like the Bluenose Coastal Action Foundation and its Lunenburg heritage and marine stewardship project.


Building on the momentum of Canada 150, and with the Sustainable Development Goals as a catalyst, community foundations and other organizations are looking toward the future. Alliance 2030, formerly Alliance 150, is a national network of organizations, institutions, and individuals committed to achieving the SDGs by the year 2030. As Alliance 150, the Community Foundations of Canada program was a network of organizations working on issues around youth engagement, diversity and inclusion, care for the environment and reconciliation between indigenous and non-indigenous Canadians.


“At the conclusion of 2017, what remained was a vibrant network of organizations and individuals who were passionate about continuing make Canada a better place for everyone. Today, Alliance 150 lives on as Alliance 2030, and as the network grows and increases its potential for cooperation and collaboration, so too does its capacity to help Canada work toward the SDGs,” the Alliance 2030 website explains.

This article from Charity Village further explores how the non-profit sector is building on the legacy from Canada 150, how the community foundation movement is leading the charge, and how collaboration and partnerships is at the heart of it all.






June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day. Visit the Government of Canada’s website to learn more and celebrate the heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding achievements of First Nations, Inuit and Métis.



June 19 to 29 is Halifax Pride and events are taking place all over the city! Visit the Halifax Pride website for more information.



The Halifax Partnership recently released its Halifax Index report, a “definitive look at Halifax’s economic and community progress. It tells our city’s story – the strength of our economy, the health of our community, and the sustainability of our environment – and provides insights for actions that will strengthen and grow our city.”


This is a great resource for the non-profit sector and anyone involved in community building in the Halifax Regional Municipality.



When you donate to CFNS you’re supporting

 Nova Scotia’s communities, now and forever


The Community Foundation of Nova Scotia is an action centre for philanthropy. We provide the knowledge and support for communities, charities and citizens to realize their individual potential and collective possibilities.


If you’re interested in working with us to grow your charity, honour a loved one or simply give back to your community, call 902-490-9916, email, or visit our website to learn more about the opportunities we provide.


You can also support our work directly through a donation on our CanadaHelps page. Your contribution will help us continue to build strong, vibrant and diverse communities throughout Nova Scotia by enabling and inspiring effective philanthropy.




Connect with us!


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