| Follow Us: Facebook Twitter Youtube RSS Feed

Civic Impact

Laidlaw Foundation arrival last piece in new Foundation House project

Moving to a new home: Laidlaw Foundation

A couple of years ago, at a retreat of leaders of Canada’s largest private foundations, some of the participants started to talk about their leases and other challenges of their current spaces. Bruce Lawson, president and CEO of the Counselling Foundation of Canada, took the initiative to connect some organizations that might be able to collaborate, which led to a series of meetings around the possibility of sharing space. Next month, Laidlaw Foundation will be the final partner to move into Foundation House, the direct result of those discussions.

“I’m curious about how we will settle, and the kind of culture that will emerge and how the staff will adjust and transition into a new reality,” says Jehad Aliweiwi, executive director of LaidLaw Foundation, which invests in ideas, partnerships and advocacy supporting young people being healthy, creative and fully engaged citizens.

Partners The Counselling Foundation and the Lawson Foundation, as well as tenant Ontario Nonprofit Network are already working out of the 2 St Clair Avenue East location. With the arrival of Laidlaw Foundation, the number of people in the 10,000-square-feet space will hit about 40, plus four hot desks that will be rented out to other organizations.

Aliweiwi expects there will be cost savings in the organizations sharing resources like a kitchen, meeting room, supply room and supplies, as well as IT and telecom services. The offices have a less corporate feel than their current space, with a shared open-space for most of the employees. But money wasn’t the main motivation behind the decision to establish Foundation House. First and foremost, the partners were looking for synergy.

“The main vision for the space, since we first started talking about it, is that we wanted to create a spacial experiment that allows for random encounters among staff,” he says. “CEOs and executive directors do have opportunities to get together, but staff of foundations are rarely able to get together. We wanted them to have opportunities to connect and interact.”

Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: Jehad Aliweiwi
Signup for Email Alerts
Signup for Email Alerts