In the mid-seventies, a small group of Saint John community and business leaders met at the YMCA to consider the value of a community foundation. Graeme Somerville, one of the participants, would later establish a fund with the foundation. From that gathering, three lawyers and a banker pursued the initiative. The group liked the concept of a locally governed, independent, permanent trustee of endowment funds that could generate earnings that stayed right here in Greater Saint John, making grants to area charities.
Adrian Gilbert, Q.C., Wallace D. Macaulay, Q.C., (now Justice) Wallace S. Turnbull, Q.C., and Henry Caldwell, then General Manager of the Bank of Nova Scotia – agreed to pursue the establishment of a foundation for our community. They guided an Act, modeled on other Canadian Community Foundations, through the legislative process, to become law in 1976, establishing the second community foundation in the Province. Originally called The Saint John Foundation, the name was changed in 2000 to better reflect the original goals.
The initial 1976 meeting of the Community Foundation was chaired by Mayor Edis Flewelling. Well-known businessman, community supporter and philanthropist Philip W. Oland was selected Chair, a position he retained until he was named Honorary Chair in 1995.
In addition to the city’s Mayor, the first directors consisted of representatives of the Saint John Law Society, Wallace D. Macaulay, Q.C., and Wallace S. Turnbull, Q.C.; the Saint John Medical Society, Dr. Henry J. Flood; the Saint John Board of Trade, James M. Crosby; and Walter E. Harris, nominee of the Saint John District Labour Council, and long-serving vice-chairman, having retired in 1999.
Mr. John F. McCrossin, C.A. was appointed treasurer of The Foundation in 1976. He served with commitment and loyalty for 21 years.
Past directors who gave of their time and talents include: Norman Herrington Dr. Wesley Stephen Thomas Drummie Q.C., and Mayors Samuel Davis, Robert Lockhart, Elsie Wayne, Thomas Higgins and Ivan Court.