Peripheral communities are sites of wealth, fuelling the Canadian economy through natural resource industries since confederation. Although the periphery is a source of wealth, over the past thirty years this wealth has largely been redirected out of rural regions to larger urban centres. These domestic issues are exacerbated by processes of globalization, which facilitate the hyper-mobility of finance. Finance is no longer tied to place. Finance has become ‘disembedded’ with increasing interconnections and advancements in Internet technologies, leading to emerging patterns of uneven development across the Canadian periphery.

A counterbalance to these trends is the emergence of philanthropic organizations in Canada that have been exploring and implementing place-based collective endowments as a response to re-embedding finance in local areas. Under the federal Charities Act, philanthropic organizations (such as community foundations and trusts) can collect money to invest in place-based collective endowments. The funds collected are under the guidance of local actors, who also prioritize how to spend interest generated from the endowment. These philanthropic organizations organize around place and people’s connection to place. These organizations are starting to understand their potential impact on the local development. Yet little research has been conducted on philanthropy in rural Canada.

In light of the ‘retreat from the periphery’ and the hyper-mobility of money, this research will examine place-based collective endowments as a mechanism to facilitate revitalization in peripheral regions from theoretical, public policy, and local development perspectives.

Research Team