THE INS AND OUTS OF THE CANADIAN RUGBY FOUNDATION UNRESTRICTED FUND
The Foundation’s Unrestricted (or General) Fund is the fund holding assets that are not dedicated to any other specific endowment, student award, or capital fund, or Rugby Canada team or program. The Fund is “unrestricted” in that unlike its other 60+ endowment, award and capital funds, the use of the monies in the Unrestricted Fund are at the discretion of the Foundation, as approved in its annual budget, and not subject to the direction of the Fund Sponsors.
Assets in this Fund are generated by donations to the Foundation generally (not to a specific Fund) or to the Unrestricted Fund, or are the results of the Foundation’s net investment returns over and above the annual returns earned by each non-Fletcher’s Fields Limited (FFL) Fund, or are earned from the Administration and General (A&G) Fees from the $1 million+ FFL Funds.
The Foundation’s operating and administrative expenses (maintained at under 1 percent of Foundation assets), investment management fees, any negative investment returns (of the non-FFL Funds), the Foundation’s matching contributions to the endowment funds over $20,000, its 3.5 percent returns to its non-FFL Funds and its grants to and sponsorships of specific initiatives are paid from this Fund.
The Foundation has initiated or helped support the establishment of several key national programs. Disbursements for these, or on one-off one-time grant requests from rugby-related bodies. Whenever possible, the Foundation leverages its grant by requesting that the grant recipient, sponsored event or organization seek out additional sponsorships and donations or grants to at least match the Foundation’s grant.
An example of the former are the Thunder Indigenous Rugby Fund which the Foundation has committed to supporting over a 10-year period. The Thunder Indigenous Rugby Fund (the Fund) is intended to provide funding from its endowment that continue the objects of The Thunder Rugby Club (Fund Sponsor) and are consistent with the broad objects and purposes of the Canadian Rugby Foundation, and Rugby Canada to meet CRA requirements.
Originally the Vancouver Island Thunder, Thunder Rugby was launched in the Spring of 2014 to promote the game of 7s rugby to Indigenous communities on Vancouver Island and to offer a structured vehicle to promote the game of rugby to Indigenous communities on Vancouver Island, specifically: to promote the game of rugby to Indigenous communities and to identify potential high-performance Indigenous athletes that could one day represent Canada, potentially at the Summer Olympics.
The Thunder Rugby program has since broadened its scope beyond Vancouver Island to Canada, with teams assembled from Indigenous youth drawn from not just BC, but other Provinces and Territories as well. While these players may already play at the club level in their own community, the role of the Thunder program is also to make connections between unaffiliated players and prospective players, and local rugby clubs so that their development can be continued locally on an ongoing basis.
With the knowledge that more and better competition is a prerequisite for rugby development, and that tours are a mainstay of that strategy, a new initiative was established in 2021, with the following goals:
- To grow an endowment fund to benefit Indigenous youth
- To fund an annual tour by Indigenous youth rugby teams, starting in 2022 with a tour through Washington and California to Los Angeles for the LA 7s tournament;
- To provide opportunities for Indigenous coaches to mentor Indigenous youth;
- To provide opportunities for Indigenous coaches to mentor Indigenous youth and
- To open pathways for Indigenous youth using travel and sport to grow in a supportive environment.
Both the Men’s Canadian Rugby Club Championship and the Women’s Canadian Rugby Club Championship were initiated by, and financially supported by the Foundation. These were last held in 2018 and 2019 respectively but were deferred due to COVID until 2023 and 2024.
The BC Grassroots Rugby Foundation, similar in objective to the Toronto Inner-City Rugby Foundation, is designed to encourage the growth of rugby at the grassroots level, but is especially focused on un- or under-served demographic segments. The BC Grassroots Rugby Foundation has aspirations to extend nationally once it is firmly established in BC. This is also a 10-year commitment of the Foundation’s.
The Foundation’s commitment to establish and then support the Fletcher’s Patrons Fund is also met through disbursements from the Unrestricted Fund.
An example of the latter type of grant requests was the 2022 Grassroots Rugby Assistance Fund to be administered by provincial rugby unions designed to assist local rugby clubs across Canada reeling from the impact of COVID on membership and revenues from 2020-2021. Five unions took advantage of this program: Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Newfoundland.
Examples of the current initiatives sponsored or supported by the Foundation’s Unrestricted Fund are:
- Women’s Canadian Rugby Club Championship (CRCC)
- Men’s Canadian Rugby Club Championship (CRCC)
- Thunder Indigenous Rugby Fund
- BC Grassroots Rugby Foundation
- Fletcher’s Patrons Fund
the latter three having their own dedicated endowment fund.
USE THE FORM BELOW TO DONATE TO THE FOUNDATION’S UNRESTRICTED FUND: