In October 1997, following several years of succession planning, the Board of Directors of the Edith H. Turner Foundation transferred its assets of $8.8 million into the Hamilton Community Foundation, thus joining the Foundation as a component fund and ensuring perpetuity and purpose of the funds.
The Foundation had been formed in the mid 1970s when Edith Turner, in discussing her estate plans with her lawyer, J. Benjamin Simpson, Q.C. seized upon his suggestion of a foundation to support local charitable causes and provided him with $500,000 to create this Fund. While there were no strings attached to the use of the money, she told him she would be watching. Another $4.8 million was directed into the Foundation after Miss Turner’s death. In the subsequent years after her death, the Fund has substantially grown through astute investment management.
Edith Turner had been a lifelong Hamilton resident, the only child of Sarah Jane and George A. Turner, a developer in the northeast end of the city. She herself was an astute investor, and avid golfer, a private and unassuming person who was known for her quiet kindness and generosity. Her decision to leave her fortune for the benefit of others was consistent with her interest in her community and her support of charitable causes over the years. Mr. Simpson recruited a board of volunteer directors to assist him in managing the Foundation, most of whom have served throughout its entire history.
The Foundation’s interests include health care, education, the arts, social services, seniors, children and the environment. Under the terms of the transfer agreement, the Turner Foundation board will continue to serve as the advisory committee, reviewing applications and selecting grant recipients. As before, the fund will provide mainly large grants in all sectors of the community for special projects, equipment and capital expenditures.
The joining of the Edith H. Turner Foundation with the Hamilton Community Foundation is more than a financial merger capitalizing on economies of scale. It is a coming together of two institutions with a common purpose – building the capacity of the community, making it stronger and more resilient, investing in people, projects and ideas with potential for positive impact on the lives of all citizens. Mr. Simpson speaks positively about his working experiences with the Hamilton Community Foundation and states, “My co-directors and I feel very good about this merger. Now we can focus on continuing the grantmaking work we’ve been doing in the community for all these years.”
Excerpt from 1997-1998 Annual Report