When we began the process of establishing our family foundation, Marvi Ricker, Vice President & Managing Director, Philanthropic Services at BMO Harris Private Banking, gave us some insights into and advice about philanthropy: “It is easy to be charitible or to go for safe projects,” she said. “But try to take on some issues where you can have a meaningful impact and in an area not already being supported by other mainstream stakeholders.”

We agreed with her sentiments and began to team up with various partners to tackle, in innovative ways, some of the issues facing our community. We can only focus on a few issues at a time because that will allow us to have a greater impact.

As Bill and Melinda Gates have recognised in their philantrophic endeavours, some of the projects we fund may fail. We hope not, but if that should occur, we can accept it, because we think one of the essential roles of philanthropy is to support promising solutions that governments, businesses or other established charities can't afford to make.

As we learn from experience which ideas are successful and those less so, we will adjust our strategies and encourage our partners to share the results regardless, so that everyone can benefit. Openness and transparency are essential components of any programme we support.

We hope that our foundation can live up to the challenges of William Penn's quotation and by working with our partners on innovative solutions we can collectively help more people in the community reach their full potential.

Terence & Svea McKillen