Along with other foundations, the Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF) is negatively impacted by the economic downturn, in particular because of the Foundation’s reliance on revenues generated by its endowment fund. The CRRF came into existence through an Act of Parliament – the CRRF Act, as a result of the 1988 redress agreement between the Government of Canada and the National Association of Japanese Canadians (NAJC), acting on behalf of Japanese Canadian families who were interned and stripped of their human and civil rights during and after the Second World War.
Known as the Japanese Canadian Redress Agreement, the Government apologized on behalf of Canadians for those actions and provided compensation to those Japanese Canadian families who were wronged. The NAJC also negotiated a contribution of $12 million on behalf of its community, to be matched by an equal amount from the Government of Canada, to create a one-time $24 million endowment fund to establish what is now known as the Canadian Race Relations Foundation. Under the CRRF Act, the endowment fund can only be used as capital for investment and the earning of income, and only the income so generated may be expended for the purpose of the Foundation.”
The CRRF Board and Officers do not take their fiduciary duties lightly. They are mindful of a duty of care and obligation to advance the interests of the Foundation in consonance with the Act and the Bylaws and policies of the Foundation. They acted quickly and responsibly, adopting prudent and reasonable measures necessary to defend the endowment fund to the best extent possible against the current economic crisis, and to preserve the Foundation’s core capability to fulfill its legislated mandate.
Among other measures, the CRRF is reviewing its programs—both in terms of content and maximizing delivery pursuant to our commitment to the mandate with renewed vision and vigor. In meeting the challenge, we are mindful of the recent comments of Alan Broadbent, Chairman of the Maytree Foundation: “The biggest fear expressed in such tough economic times is that funders will have to “dip into capital. The idea of reducing the capital value of an endowment, for whatever reason, is considered to be the fiduciary version of original sin.”
The CRRF’s Chair, Albert Lo, reiterated the Foundation’s commitment to confronting the challenge and moving forward by taking a fresh look at our programs and initiatives. Coupled with other initiatives, the Foundation will continue to build on past accomplishments and maintain its conscientious and systematic work in the elimination of racism and all forms of discrimination, and the strengthening of a harmonious Canada.
Key to our achievements is building and nurturing bridges with our stakeholders. This will be the cornerstone of our renewed thrust to meet the challenges of the current crisis. We invite your continued co-operation and participation in our exciting forthcoming endeavours, and look forward to working with you. Thank you, as always, for your support.