1980 marks the real beginning of the operations of the Foundation. In 2010, the Foundation celebrates its 30th anniversary.
In 1974, the Sisters of Providence decided to establish a foundation with a separate identity of their Corporation. The mission of this new Foundation is to help people around the World who are in most need, like the Blessed Mother Émilie Tavernier-Gamelin would have done. The name of this newly-created foundation would be: RONCALLI INTERNATIONAL FOUNDATION, in honour of Pope John XXIII, known for his love towards the most destitute and for the work he did to help them.
Due to various legal and fiscal difficulties, the transfer of funds from the Congregation to the Foundation was delayed until 1979. Thanks to this delay, the initial donation of endowment-capital, which had been voted in 1974, is paid with the accumulated interest at the end of the year. The provisions of this transfer stipulated that the capital must be preserved and that only the revenues earned could be distributed. The Sisters of Providence were not only the main contributors to our endowment-capital; but year after year, they also contribute substantially to the funding of projects.
During 1985, the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Saint Hyacinthe made a first considerable contribution to the Foundation’s endowment-capital; then, a second one in 1991, and a third one in 1993. The following year, the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Diocese of London also made an important contribution over four years. Soon after, three other congregations showed their generosity: the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Saint Vallier, the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Hamilton and the Sisters of Saint Martha of Antigonish contributed also the Foundation’s endowment-capital.
In 2001, Mrs. Suzanne Martineau perished in a car accident. In her will, she named the Foundation beneficiary of her estate. This contribution was unexpected since none of the members of the Foundation knew this generous woman. Mrs. Martineau had always dreamed of going on mission trips around the world. It is therefore, a gift from Providence!
In 2005 under the initiative of Jean Meloche, the Foundation began an important fund-raising campaign in order to increase its endowment-capital and this way, ensure the continuation of its activities for a long time. Thanks to this campaign many congregations have contributed to perpetuate the mission of the Roncalli Foundation. In 2008, thanks to a significant contribution, Les Sœurs de la Congrégation de Notre-Dame officially became members of the Corporation. The Foundation is most grateful for the confidence shown by Les Soeurs de la Congrégation de Notre Dame and also for the commitment and openness demonstrated by the Sisters of Providence who, since the beginning, have never stopped supporting our mission. The Roncalli International Foundation has close ties with several religious congregations and, with the same missionary spirit of its Partners, is committed to continue assisting the most destitute peoples of developing countries.
What does the future hold for us? Due to the decline in the financial markets in the past years, an increase in emergency situations and a general need for more funding, our Partners’ contributions are essential to the Foundation.
Projects’ annual funding
From 1985 to 1991 the Roncalli Foundation had a financial agreement with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). Over the years, in order to be able to respond to the increasing number of requests, the Foundation decided to appeal to the generosity of the religious congregations. Now the religious congregations can make a contribution to a specific project or to all projects in general. Following, non-governmental organizations were also invited to contribute. The response to our appeal surpassed our expectations so that from 1992 to 2009, more than 60 religious congregations contributed, year after year, to our annual campaign.
In 2010 the Foundation invited other contributors to join our cause and in this way, to participate to the pursuit of our Mission. Following the earthquake that struck Haiti in January 2010, the Foundation established the Emergency Relief Fund – Haiti. This Fund can also be found on the web site of CanadaHelps.org.
In 1974, following a decision from the Members of the General Chapter, the Superior General and the Members of the General Council of the Sisters of Providence began the procedures for the establishment of the Foundation.
The following are the members of the first Board of Directors and who were elected at the first general assembly of the Corporation.
- Sister Marie-Paule Levaque, SP
- Sister Anna Knapp, SP
- Sister Dolorès Girard, SP
- Sister Pauline Lauzon, SP
- Sister Cecilia Abhold, SP
- Mrs. Ghislaine Bélanger
- Honorable Judge Lucien Ménard, from Edmonton, Alberta
- Rev. Fr. William J. Ryan, SJ, from Washington, USA
- Sister Madeleine Payette, MIC
- Mr. Léo Cormier
- Honorable Judge Gilles Filion
- Mr. Gilles Trahan, FCA
Sister Marie-Paule Levaque, SP, rigorously and consistently watched over the Foundation’s activities. From the early beginnings of the Foundation, Sister Levaque was a member of the Executive Committee, Secretary and Treasurer; and, in spite of her age, she was a member of the Aid Committee until 2008.
The Foundation’s first Board of Directors was presided by Judge Gilles Filion, and in 1994, Mr. Jean-L. Renaud was appointed President. He acted as President for nine years before handing his resignation in 2003. Mr. Renaud was succeeded by Mr. Jean Meloche, MBA. In 2009, Mr. Robert Bélisle, FCA, is appointed President and, effective January 1, 2011, Mr. Guy Courchesne will hold this position.
The Executive Directors
Mr. Jean-Claude Leclerc acted as Executive Director from the beginnings of the Foundation in 1979, until 1989. Subsequently, Mr. Gilles Trahan, FCA, took over for 18 years, from 1989 until December 2008. And since, Mrs. Sophie Labrecque, MBA, is the Executive Director of the Foundation.