Did you know there are not many longstanding family foundations in Canada? And even fewer with a 5th generation! Well the Lawson Foundation is actually one of them that has 5 generations of family members participating actively in the Foundation’s work! Amazing I know, and I am the lucky one at the Foundation who gets to work closely with the next generation on a brand new micro-grant funding initiative we are calling 5G Fund: Accelerate.
Over the years, the Lawson family and the Foundation have done a great job of engaging up and coming generations. Continuing that tradition and as part of the new strategic direction of the Foundation, it’s a priority to engage the 5th generation in philanthropy and help build their engagement with the Foundation for the long term.
With that in mind, the Foundation reached out to the 5th generation family members, meaning millennials, to see who would be interested in getting involved and to come up with a meaningful, “actionable” way to assist the Foundation. This has evolved into a committee comprised of the 5th generation that will run a granting initiative of their own.
The committee met a few times to collectively work on the creation of this new initiative. The first gathering was face-to-face and included Brittany Fritsh, a young leader, who spoke to us about a few youth-led granting initiatives in the Ottawa-area, including one she co-founded. She did a wonderful job showcasing different funding initiatives and spoke to lessons learned along the way. The rest of the gatherings have taken place virtually. Yup, this is the tech savvy generation! A Facebook page has been created and is used as the point of contact for pretty much everything. This is where the logo, guidelines and theme for the first funding call have been vetted by the committee and later approved by the Board of Directors.
In a nutshell, the micro-grants will help accelerate or kick-start ideas that will contribute to the well-being of communities across Canada based on a specific theme determined by the 5th gen. Priority will be given to innovative ideas/projects/initiatives that actively support the leadership of young Canadians, are youth-led or have a positive impact on youth. Initiatives funded through this stream won’t necessarily be connected to the Foundation’s three areas of focus, as each call will be based on a particular theme of interest
to the 5th gen. The Foundation will provide the micro-grant funding opportunity twice a year (exact timing to be determined). Individual grants will be in the range of $1,000 to $3,000 and we anticipate funding between eight to ten projects a year. We are so pleased the 5G Fund: Accelerate is finally launched and we can’t wait to see applications start rolling in. I don’t know who is more excited about this call, the 5th gen or me and my Foundation colleagues!
We will continue to post about this funding opportunity, and also about how we are engaging the 5th generation of family members and the learning coming out of this process. So stay tuned for more, and in the meantime, please help us spread the word about this awesome funding opportunity!