Lyle S. Hallman Foundation

The Lyle S. Hallman Foundation’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic

The Lyle S. Hallman Foundation’s mission is “We invest so that children grow up loved and resilient with families that are strong, neighbourhoods that are connected, institutions that are healthy and systems that are creative and dynamic.”

The Foundation recognizes that during this time of shut downs, physical distancing and financial uncertainty, the organizations in Waterloo Region who are doing the front-line work of supporting children and families may need different support than what the Foundation typically funds. We also know that this will not be a short-term problem.

Below are some of the ways in which the Foundation is shifting to respond to the immediate needs in the community. We will continue to update this page with additional ways in which the Foundation is responding to this crisis as they occur.

2020 Year in Review

March 9, 2021

Here at the Lyle S. Hallman Foundation, we don’t typically produce an annual report. But let’s face it, 2020 wasn't a typical year. Given that almost everything about how we do our work was different in 2020, we decided to step back and try to summarize the year that was.

We are pleased to share this brief summary of our work in 2020 with our friends and partners: 2020 Year in Review.

"Support the pivot" grants approved

November 30, 2020

At their November meeting, the Board of Trustees approved a total of $958,077 in grants under the Support the Pivot envelope, exceeding the allocated amount. For a full list of approved grants, visit our Current Grants page.

"Support the pivot" competitive grant envelope

July 16, 2020

This fall, the Lyle S. Hallman Foundation will hold a one-time competitive granting envelope focused on “supporting the pivot”; helping organizations to adapt and rethink for the interim time frame. Applications will be open to child, youth and family-serving organizations in Waterloo Region. This envelope is intended to address a gap in support between emergency crisis response and the still unclear longer term landscape. It is genuinely focused on adaptation, addressing questions like: what will it take to continue supporting families over the next 18 – 24 months? How might you seize this opportunity to offer services differently, or offer different services? 

We have intentionally designed the parameters to be fairly open, since activities and interests will vary among organizations and we don’t presume to know all that may be required. Examples of activities that could be covered include, but are not limited to:

  • engaging clients in the thoughtful design or re-design of services/delivery methods;

  • eliminating barriers that prevent clients from accessing service;

  • engaging coaching, planning or other expertise for staff or volunteers;

  • accessing supports needed to shift governance or operating models;

  • community development at a grassroots level;

  • interim systems planning, development/support of collective approaches.

The total support available is $750,000, and applications are due September 9th, 2020. Any child, youth and family-serving charitable organizations based in and serving Waterloo Region may apply, regardless of current granting status with the Lyle S. Hallman Foundation. 

In lieu of our typical information sessions, we have prepared a short FAQ document to answer some of the questions you may have. Potential applicants are asked to book a discussion with LSHF staff in advance of applying, to review your ideas and get feedback. 

For further information please contact Abbie Grafstein at

2020 Granting Framework

July 8, 2020

We know that many organizations have been waiting to hear what will happen with our children’s program envelope, which would normally be accepting applications in September. Given the tremendous disruption that the pandemic has brought to our world, we did not feel that restricted program grants for children 12 and under was the most effective way to support our partners and the clients they serve.

In May and June, we talked with nearly all of our current and recent charitable partners. Our plan for the rest of 2020 is intended to respond to the concerns we heard during these conversations. Overwhelmingly, the leaders we spoke to talked about craving “breathing room”; support that would provide some temporary security and allow them the mental space to begin to confront the realities ahead. Many were also concerned that the pandemic has fundamentally changed their services and finances, but not in a way that qualifies them for most emergency grant programs.

Proactive, unrestricted grants

Our framework going forward started with a desire to provide program grant recipients, from the last several years of both the Children’s Initiatives and invited Community Support envelopes, with some flexibility and stability through 2021. We are accomplishing this by means of one-time, unrestricted grants. In most cases, these grants are scaled to the last payment an organization received, plus a 15% cushion in recognition of the significant revenue losses organizations are experiencing. Where grant commitments already continued through 2021, organizations will still receive an additional 15% this year, and have all restrictions lifted for the 2021 payment. All of these grants are proactive and do not require an application. LSHF staff will meet with each organization in approximately six months for a check-in, and determine reporting expectations at that point. Consistent with our role as a place-based funder, we have focused exclusively on charitable partners in Waterloo Region, and have not included national/provincial organizations or government grantees. The 21 recipients of these grants have all been notified directly.

“Support the pivot” competitive envelope

In addition to the proactive grants, the Foundation will hold a $750,000 competitive envelope this fall. Child, youth and family-serving organizations in Waterloo Region may apply for funds to “support the pivot”; whatever is needed to adapt or rethink for the interim time frame of coping with the ongoing pandemic.

Pilot projects

As part of the framework, the trustees approved the extension of General Operating Support (GOS) for the first cohort to 5 years (through 2022). In addition, the three GOS organizations will receive a one-time 15% increase to their 2020 payments.

The Foundation is in the process of inviting applications from a potential second cohort of the GOS pilot which will be considered at the end of 2020.

The context for the Neighbourhood Action Grants (NAG) shifted considerably with the pandemic shutdown and organizational restructuring. With programs and events closing, being cancelled, or moving online, the Foundation decided to pause NAG for a period of time. We continue to pay attention to what is happening in the neighbourhoods and are keeping connected to the neighbourhood centres so that, when the timing is right, NAG will relaunch. Grants do remain available should any of the coaches come forward with a resident-led idea for a project that works within the current context.

Overall this framework amounts to just over $6 million of investments in 2020 beyond existing commitments. This sums up the Foundation’s intentions and responses to this point. As the situation continues to evolve, we may choose to take additional action prior to year’s end.

Covid-19 emergency support for harm reduction in Cambridge

June 12, 2020

In June, LSHF partnered with the Cowan Foundation to respond to an immediate need in Cambridge by providing funds to the Aids Committee of Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo and Area (ACCKWA) to cover the cost of a full-time Harm Reduction Worker to be based in Cambridge, for one year. The need in this area predates the pandemic, but with the emergency measures things have been worsened considerably. The newly hired Harm Reduction Worker will take over all Cambridge harm reduction outreach (two of three encampments, Cambridge mobile outreach, Cambridge drop-in). This will expand ACCKWA’s pre-COVID capacity of 20 hours/week in Cambridge to 40 hours/week, serving approximately 600 individuals.

LSHF partners with other funders to provide internet access to Waterloo Region students

May 7, 2020

To continue providing education to students during Covid-19 closures, school boards in Ontario have switched to a remote learning format. This change has highlighted the existing needs of a portion of the student population who do not have internet access.

As part of the Smart Waterloo Region (SWR) initiative in 2018 and 2019, the Region of Waterloo, seven area municipalities, and some community partners identified a need in the Waterloo region to deploy internet to low-income households to support child and youth development. To address this issue, SWR partners have been exploring opportunities to provide internet connectivity. The school closures created an urgent need to deploy this service immediately to support e-learning.

The Lyle S. Hallman Foundation has partnered with Astley Family Foundation, Cowan Foundation, and Fairmount Foundation to grant a total of $225,755 to the two school boards in Waterloo Region. These grants will purchase hotspot devices and/or four months of internet access for 1,000 students in the Waterloo Region District School Board and 355 in the Waterloo Region Catholic School Board.

The Foundation's contributions are as follows:

Waterloo Education Foundation Inc. (Waterloo Region District School Board)


Waterloo Region Catholic Schools Foundation


Covid-19 Community Response Fund

April 24, 2020

Lyle S. Hallman Foundation, United Way Waterloo Region Communities, Kitchener Waterloo Community Foundation, Social Venture Partners Waterloo Region, The Astley Foundation, Fairmount Foundation and Cambridge & North Dumfries Community Foundation recently joined forces to maximize assistance for urgent and emerging community needs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The funder’s collective is working together to raise and distribute funds to front line organizations that are striving to ensure our most vulnerable citizens and those that support them remain supported, safe and healthy.

The Lyle S. Hallman Foundation contributed $150,000 to the total pool of over $800,000 now being distributed to 43 charities across Waterloo Region in response to applications to the COVID-19 Community Response Fund.

This funding is being directed to charitable organizations working with vulnerable populations across Waterloo Region. It will assist organizations that expressed urgent need to continue providing front-line social services through essential programming as well as health and safety for charitable front line workers.

Funded Organizations

  • Adventure4Change
  • Anishnabeg Outreach Employment and Training Inc.
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Waterloo Region
  • Cambridge Self Help Food Bank
  • Cambridge Shelter Corporation
  • Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington
  • Carizon Family and Community Services
  • Child Witness Centre of Waterloo Region
  • Christian Horizons
  • Community Care Concepts of Woolwich Wellesley and Wilmot (Rural Collaborative)
  • Community Justice Initiatives of Waterloo Region
  • Community Support Connections
  • Family & Children’s Services of the Waterloo Region Foundation
  • Family Counselling Centre Cambridge & North Dumfries
  • House of Friendship
  • Independent Living Centre Waterloo Region
  • Interfaith Counselling Centre
  • Kinbridge Community Association
  • Kitchener Downtown Community Health Centre
  • KW Counselling Services
  • Langs Farm Village Association (Langs)
  • Lisaard and Innisfree Hospice
  • Lutherwood Child and Family Foundation
  • Marillac Place
  • Mennonite Central Committee Ontario (MCC)
  • Mennonite Coalition for Refugee Support
  • Monica Place
  • Nutrition for Learning
  • oneROOF Youth Services
  • Reception House Waterloo Region
  • Sanctuary Refugee Health Centre
  • Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region
  • Shalom Counselling Services Inc.
  • Sunbeam Centre
  • Supportive Housing of Waterloo
  • The AIDS Committee of Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo and Area
  • The Food Bank of Waterloo Region
  • The Kidney Foundation of Canada
  • The Salvation Army Kitchener Waterloo Community and Family Services
  • Waterloo Region Family Network
  • Women’s Crisis Services of Waterloo Region
  • Woolwich Counselling Centre
  • YW Kitchener-Waterloo

LSHF Board of Trustees approves proactive emergency response grants

April 20, 2020

On April 1, 2020 the Foundation’s Board of Trustees approved five proactive, unrestricted emergency response grants to organizations working on the front lines of the Covid-19 pandemic in Waterloo Region.

House of Friendship


The Working Centre


Food Bank of Waterloo Region


Sanguen Health Centre


Cambridge Self-Help Food Bank


Emergency relief funds available to Waterloo Region charities

April 2, 2020

The world of COVID-19 has shifted everything, and the nonprofit sector is being hit particularly hard. This will not be a short process, and there are no easy answers. Normally, the Lyle S. Hallman Foundation (LSHF) does not invest in crisis situations or basic needs. Extraordinary times mean that typical rules must change. As a first stage of response therefore, the Lyle S. Hallman Foundation is allocating $150,000 to be granted collaboratively with investments from other regional funders through the United Way’s Community Response Fund. Applications are now open, and the first deadline is April 9.

This fund will not solve anyone’s problems in full. None of us knows what that will take yet. What it will do, we hope, is offer some quick, flexible, short-term relief. And by working and reviewing together, the five funders involved (and possibly more to come) will utilize a single application process. Organizations complete one form, through United Way, and are then considered for emergency support by all five foundations. You can find more details in the press release.

The Lyle S. Hallman Foundation removes restrictions on current grants

March 16, 2020

Click here for a message from the executive director to all current grantees in response to the Covid-19 Pandemic.