The Family Enterprise Foundation is a registered not-for-profit charity established by the Canadian Association of Family Enterprise (CAFE) to fund, develop and disseminate educational programs, materials and research relating to family enterprise and the unique problems and opportunities they face.
The family unit is the basis of our society and our economy given an estimated 80% of all businesses in Canada are family owned and operated. Many business families in Canada struggle with the unique challenges of managing the interface between the business and family and “passing the baton” to the next generation. Recent studies suggest that half of all family businesses anticipate an ownership and/or management transition in the next 5 years so clearly a lot is riding on the success of this process. To succeed, family businesses need knowledge and educational programs designed specifically for family enterprise - that's what the Family Enterprise Foundation strives to provide.
The Family Enterprise Foundation was formed in 1987 by CAFE to advance its mission of assisting business families. The focus of the foundation was to develop family business-specific educational materials and encourage research into the needs and future of families in business. Early in 1990, a significant sum of money was raised in order to develop seven educational videos, many of which are still in circulation and available through CAFE. By 1993 volunteer efforts were focused on building the CAFE organization and the foundation activities were put on the back burner. A small foundation board was put in place to ensure that steps were taken to maintain the foundation’s charitable status and manage the organization's funds and investments. In 1999 the Foundation provided development funds for the ‘Roadmap Program’ which was delivered through CAFE at the time. CAFE Nova Scotia also worked with the Foundation to establish and manage a scholarship award program.
In 2013 the foundation was re-activated and a new board appointed consisting of returning long-time board members Terri Heggum-Allen, Joan Berta, Joan Shatilla and new board members, Allen S. Taylor (CAFE Chair), Earl MacLeod (CAFE Treasurer) and Grant Walsh (CAFE Vice Chair). The board will be working with newly appointed Family Enterprise Foundation Executive Director Paul MacDonald (CAFE Executive Director) to develop a fundraising and granting plan to support worthy family business education and research initiatives going forward.