Protecting Canada's water. Empowering Canada's North.

The Foundation

The Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation is a private, philanthropic foundation based in Toronto, Canada. The Foundation undertakes research, leadership development and public dialogue so that public policies in Canada reflect a commitment to collaborative stewardship of our freshwater resources and to a people-driven, equitable and evolving North.  Over the past quarter century the Gordon Foundation has invested over $27 million in a wide variety of Northern community initiatives and freshwater protection initiatives.

Mission and Vision

To promote both at home and abroad innovative public policies for the North and in fresh water management based on our values of independent thought, protecting the environment, and full participation of indigenous people in the decisions that affect their well-being.

Guiding Principles

  • We believe that progressive social policies and sound economic policies must be mutually reinforcing.
  • We believe that human development needs must be met in a way that recognizes the imperative to protect the environment.
  • We believe that full participation by Aboriginal Canadians in Canadian society must be secured in ways which respect their unique rights and cultural identity.

Approaches to Operations

  • Proactive/responsive balance — We will balance our activities between projects we initiate ourselves and unsolicited proposals that we believe will serve our mission.
  • Early intervention — We will seek out opportunities to support early-stage initiatives on emerging public policy issues that have received limited public attention.
  • Risk taking — We will not shy from supporting initiatives that have a high risk of failure providing that they present an equally high potential for success.
  • Supporting leadership — We will seek out and support individuals within organizations that exhibit strong leadership skills with a particular focus on young and emerging leaders.
  • Collaboration — We will collaborate and partner with other organizations and institutions in order to maximize resources that serve our mission and programme priorities.
  • Informed debate — We seek to foster informed discussion and debate that considers a diversity of views and perspectives.
  • Leverage — We will make strategic use of the foundation's human resources as well as its name and reputation to further our mission and priorities.
  • Transparency — We will communicate openly about the criteria and process that informs our grant making and the outcomes of our decisions.
  • Best practices — We will strive to model our internal activities on what are considered to be best practices for operational foundations.