The Abbotsford Community Foundation was conceived by a series of initiating events that started with a substantial donation by the Trethewey Family to the Matsqui Parks and Recreation Commission in 1978.
The Directors of the Commission at that time felt that the sizable donation could have a much longer effect on the community if it was invested in perpetuity and revenues from the investment spent annually.
The Matsqui-Abbotsford Parks and Recreation Foundation Society was formed in December of 1979. Following three years of operation, the new Directors of the Foundation felt the organization would be more accepted and have a greater growth potential if it was independent of Council. As a result of these discussions, a special resolution was adopted that changed the existing Foundation to the Matsqui-Abbotsford Foundation Society. The Directors of the Foundation would now be elected by the members (who are the Directors). With the amalgamation of the Matsqui and Abbotsford municipalities in 1994, a further amendment was made to the constitution that changed the name of the Foundation once again to the Abbotsford Foundation. In 2002 the name was revised to “Abbotsford Community Foundation”.
The Abbotsford Community Foundation has experienced steady asset growth over the years. This has come about through the generous giving of a number of people in the community plus the establishment of several special funds by other not for profit groups and special interest organizations within the area. ACF’s current endowment is well over $10 million and from 1980 to 2016 has distributed over $9 million in grants and student awards. These grants have been made to many charitable organizations for programs and projects in Abbotsford related to education, culture, arts, sports, agriculture enhancement, recreation and social issues like homelessness and poverty.
Historical Highlights from 1984 to 2006
- June 21, 1984 – The Foundation was granted charitable status and received its charitable number from Revenue Canada.
- 1988 – Valley Royals Track and Field Club – established a 10-year holding Fund with the Foundation. The initial deposit was for $100,000 and another $120,000 was added in 1989. In October 1996 this Fund became a permanent endowment Fund with the financial deposits becoming a perpetual investment.
- March 1990 – the Scholarship & Bursary Fund of School District #34 was transferred to the Foundation December 1989 and the Foundation deposited $50,000 into the Scholarship & Bursary Fund from Discretionary Fund surplus.
- December 14, 1990 – Mr. Bertram A. Bickford established a scholarship with the Scholarship & Bursary Committee by depositing cheques for $129,106.
- February 2, 1992 – Debbie Magson was hired as the fund administrator for the Scholarship & Bursary Fund.
- January 20, 1995 – Formal approval was given for the establishment of the Abbotsford Land Trust Society.
- January 20, 1995 – With the amalgamation of the Municipalities of Matsqui and Abbotsford into the City of Abbotsford, an amendment was made to the Constitution and Bylaws to change the name of the Foundation to “Abbotsford Foundation”.
- January 1995 – An Administration Endowment Fund for the Foundation was established and initially funded by a transfer of $8,000 from the Discretionary Fund.
- July 19, 1996 – The sum of $249,201 was received from the Abbotsford organizing committee of the Western Canada Summer Games to establish a fund.
- April 9, 1997 – Asset Development officer position changed back to Executive Assistant position. Debbie Magson was contracted to fill this position. A second Administrative Assistant position was also created.
- July 1999 – Ruth Boulton was contracted to be the first manager of the Land Trust Society.
- February 5, 2000 – Millennium Projects were endorsed and received financial support from the Foundation.
- July 21, 2000 – The new receptionist-secretary position was confirmed by the Board and Ursula Batke was contracted to fill the position.
- August 17, 2000 – The second largest donation ever was made to the Foundation by donor who wished to remain anonymous, the donation of shares, which when sold, realized a gift worth $1,122,119.98. The monies received were allocated to the following four endowment funds:
- Student & Bursary Fund – $100,000
- Land Trust Fund – $125,000
- Administration Fund – $448,559
- Smart & Caring Community Fund – $448,559
- July 15, 2002 – The Foundation’s name was revised to “Abbotsford Community Foundation”.
- December 2003 – A donation of a life insurance policy for $200,000.00 was received and allocated to the Foundation’s Administrative Fund.
- May 1, 2004 – The Foundation and the Fraser Valley Brain Injury Assoc. in an office sharing concept move into 1666 square feet of office space on Garden Street.
- August 2004 – The Foundation receives an initial estate gift from the late Mary Victoria Wakefield in the amount of $50,000.00 in support of animal welfare.
- June 2005 – Ms. Wakefield’s final estate gift is received with the total of the Mary Victoria Wakefield Memorial Animal Welfare Fund being $235,326.88
- Partnership Granting with United Way of the Fraser Valley began in 2003/ 2004 totaling $50,000 to worthy projects. The 2004 Community Assessment Project prioritized twelve areas of need in the Fraser Valley. A further report, Uniting Communities for Action – Building Sustainable Communities in the Fraser Valley identified and prioritized the top twelve issues, then a consensus-based process determined the final four issues that were of most critical importance: Affordable, quality childcare; Community awareness of poverty; Promotion/Co-ordination of volunteer programs; and subsidized housing for people with low incomes.
- In 2005, the Partnership Granting model expanded – both Chilliwack and Mission joined the granting table – $60,000 was granted to Charities in the Fraser Valley based on the Four Priorities.
- In January 2006, Grants Committee Chair Marilyn Hamilton called and facilitated an Imagine Abbotsford meeting with local ‘key’ organizations and foundations.