Laidlaw Foundation invests in innovative ideas, convenes interested parties, shares its learning and advocates for change in support of young people being healthy, creative and fully engaged citizens.
An inclusive society that values and supports the full engagement of its young people in the civic, social, economic and cultural life of diverse and environmentally healthy communities.
Our core values
Youth Engagement +
Young people have important things to say and contribute and we value the participation of young people in decision making and governance.
civic Engagement +
Young people should have opportunities for meaningful participation in the democratic process and should have leadership roles in the governance of organizations and institutions that work with or make decisions that affect young people’s lives.
We recognize, respect and value the differences among us and believe that acknowledging and celebrating these differences lead to both stronger individuals and stronger communities.
We all have a place in the economic, social, political and cultural life of our society and, for our part, we enrich our organization through diversity.
excellence and integrity +
We enjoy what we do and are proud of it. We mean what we say and we say what we mean. We expect the best of ourselves and of others.
Finance and Audit
Indigenous Youth and Community Futures Fund
The Laidlaw Foundation has officially taken up residence at Foundation House – a new hub for philanthropic collaboration, learning and sharing in Toronto. As one of three founding partners, along with the Lawson Foundation and the Counselling Foundation of Canada, the Laidlaw Foundation is excited by the potential of Foundation House to spark greater collaboration in the philanthropic and charitable sector.
And the idea is taking off with a stellar group of organizations joining us at Foundation House including the Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counselling (CERIC), the Ontario Nonprofit Network (ONN) and the Canadian Environmental Grantmakers’ Network (CEGN). Philanthropic Foundations Canada (PFC), Community Foundations of Canada (CFC), The Circle on Philanthropy and Aboriginal Peoples in Canada, and GrantBook also have a presence at Foundation House. We recently published a case study about the making of Foundation House. Part of this was to catalogue how we came together and what we were trying to achieve; in addition, there are some suggestions about the kinds of things we might look for as signs of success over time.
A NEW FOCUS
1949 - 1979
Mr. Robert A. Laidlaw established the Laidlaw Foundation in 1949 with an endowment of $50,000 to benefit charitable, educational, conservation and cultural organizations in Ontario. Further capital contributions in excess of $11 million were made to the Foundation by R.A. Laidlaw, his two sons, Dr. Nicholas and Mr. Roderick Laidlaw and his brother Walter C. Laidlaw. The Family drew its wealth from the R Laidlaw Lumber Company founded in 1886, by the father of R.A. and Walter C. Laidlaw. In the late 1960s and into the 1970s, the Foundation developed broader public interests in response to emerging public concerns, e.g., in children’s mental health, graduate fellowships in social work, nursing, child psychiatry and law, the arts, social welfare research and policy, and land/habitat conservation.
1949 - 1979
1980 - 2000
In the 1980s the Foundation established a focused program in the arts. Through this program it contributed to the Canadian cultural sector by funding the creation of new works for the performing arts. In 1981, the Foundation’s Board was expanded and two of the Founder’s grandchildren were invited to join. The majority of the Board members continued to be independent directors. Towards the end of the decade the Foundation identified and launched its Great Lakes Conservation Program. The Foundation ended the decade as an active advocate for social assistance reform in Ontario. In the 1990s the Foundation adopted an ambitious $5 million seven-year Children at Risk Program that set to improve the life chances of children from a research, practice, policy and theoretical perspective. A number of important national and local initiatives were supported.
1980 - 2000
A century of commitment
Mr. R. A. Laidlaw served as chairman of the Board of Directors of the Hospital for Sick Children for 18 years and headed the hospital’s 1947-51 capital campaign. He was also a founding director of the National Ballet of Canada, served as a director of Upper Canada College, the ROM, the McMichael Gallery and the Quetico Foundation. Mr. Walter C. Laidlaw served on the Board of Central Neighbourhood House (CNH) between 1912 and 1962. He bought an estate on Lake Simcoe known as The Gables and turned it over to CNH as a summer camp for the impoverished residents living in the Ward. Mrs. Katharine Smith, also served for many years on the CNH Board. Mr. Roderick Laidlaw was involved in the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto and other community organizations. Dr. Nicholas Laidlaw served for many years as a director of the West End Crèche, the National Ballet School and the Ontario Psychological Foundation.
The new millenium
In 2001, to mark its fiftieth anniversary the Foundation published Making Change: 50 Years of the Laidlaw Foundation (ECW Press). 2005 marked a year of change for the Foundation. The board and staff began developing a strategic focus that would effectively direct our efforts to affect change. The focus would be on enhancing the well-being of Canada’s young people. In 2007 the Board adopted a new five year strategic plan that would see us investing in innovation, convening and catalyzing change, generating and communicating knowledge and building strong internal operations. The Foundation renewed its commitment in 2013 and continues to strive towards affecting change in systems and institutions that affect the lives of young people.