History of the St. John’s Legacy Foundation

The idea of creating the St. John’s Legacy Foundation (SJLF) resulted from discussions within the St. John’s Housing Society (SJHS), a not-for-profit society. The discussion centered on its future, what to do with their surplus funds and land that had been purchased for the development of a seniors home in the downtown core of the City of Edmonton.  St. John’s Housing Society had as its main objective to provide affordable housing for the Ukrainian population in Edmonton. It was formed in 1971 and by November 1973 the first tenants moved into the St. John’s Housing complex. (13516 102 Street Edmonton, Alberta)

The land in question had been purchased so as to provide a facility (assisted living or a nursing home) for the seniors in Edmonton. There was no support from the Government of Alberta to provide financing for any projects that were being developed.

Finally, in 2017 the SJHS Board decided to build a condominium and it was their hope that there would be community buy in because the complex would be within walking distance to the Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral of St. John and there were many other nearby amenities. Once the proposal was introduced and presentation made, the SJHS Board realized that there was no buy in, and the condominium market was not positive. By the end of 2017 the SJHS board felt that the condominium project did not seem viable, and they were not in the business of being a developer.

A decision was made to create a foundation and SJHS began the groundwork in creating the foundation.  Creating a foundation takes a long time and needed to be crafted carefully. The foundation’s resources would be used to assist the Ukrainian Orthodox community.

During 2019 serious work began on the foundation at the SJHS Board level. Between April and October of 2019, the Board discussed and adopted the following  vision, mission  and objectives for the “Foundation”.

Vision: The St. John’s Legacy Foundation shall be a not-for-profit foundation that will inspire and enhance community development in the Ukrainian Orthodox community in the Edmonton area.

Our Mission: Through its charitable efforts, the SJL Foundation shall support and fund worthwhile projects within the Ukrainian Orthodox community that will enhance and promote the spirit of unity among Canadian Ukrainians.

Objectives: The SJL Foundations provides financial support for projects and programs that enhance Ukrainian cultural life in Edmonton area through education, religion, and cultural programs.

At this time, the Society began to prepare the foundation bylaws. These bylaws were vetted by our lawyer, Ed Bridges (Snyder & Associates LLP), and presented to the board for review and editing. Work was slow on the bylaws but at the December 16, 2019 meeting of the Society there was general approval for the bylaw content. The Board decided to name the foundation as the St. John’s Legacy Foundation (Фундація Спадщини Ім. Святого Івана). Ed Bridges was able to register the English name.  On September 27, 2020 Nick Smith (Snyder and Associates LLP), submitted the application to the Registrar of Corporations of Alberta and on December 30, 2020 the Government of Alberta sent us the Certificate of Incorporation and the St. John’s Legacy Foundation was born.

The first meeting of the St. John’s Legacy Foundation (SJLF) was on May 31, 2021. The following individuals were elected to the Legacy Foundation board: Paul Garrick, Vickey Martinuk, Tom Ewanchuk, Gerald Kruhlak, Myroslava Chomiak, Marshall Opyr, Dennis Kowalishin, Mike Krill and Emil Yereniuk.

On December 16, 2021 SJHS donated $210,000.00 to the St. John’s Legacy Foundation. This was seed money.

The next step was to register the St. John’s Legacy Foundation with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Many documents were submitted along with the official stamped Bylaws and the Application to Form a Society  when we applied to the CRA for a tax number. It was decided that we would use the accounting firm of Seniuk and Co. to proceed with the application to CRA. The initial application was sent to CRA on May 2021. The CRA process is a long-drawn-out one. Correspondence continued throughout the rest of 2021 and into 2022. The CRA Charities Analyst was very helpful, and he saw a lot of positives in our application. He assisted us in completing the application with the correct documents that would assist the CRA in accepting the St. Joh’s Legacy Foundation as a charity worthy of charitable registration status.

One of the stumbling blocks for the SJLF was the way the objects were worded. As a result, the SJLF membership had an Extraordinary Meeting to discuss a Special Resolution on December 28, 2022. At this meeting the membership adopted unanimously the following Special Resolution:

      Moved by Marshall Opyr and seconded by Myroslava Chomiak that St. John’s Legacy Foundation delete Article 2 of our application to form a Society filed under the Societies Act of Alberta on December 30, 2022 and replace it with the following Objects:

  • To advance religion and education, and to advance the public’s appreciation of the arts, by providing funding for projects that focus on the Ukrainian Orthodox faith, and Ukrainian language and culture in Canada;
  • To receive and maintain a fund or funds and to apply all or part of the principal and income therefrom, from time to time, to qualified donees as defined in subsection 149.1(1) of the Income Tax Act (Canada);
  • To undertake activities incidental and ancillary to the attainment of the above charitable purposes.

President, Emil Yereniuk, met with SJLF lawyer Nick Smith on January 3, 2023 and the Special Resolution was registered with the Registrar of Corporations Province of Alberta. That same day the Legacy Foundation received a stamped notification that the Objects had been changed. The next course was to share this information with CRA and on January 9th a letter was drafted and the special resolution along with the official stamped Certificate of Amendment for the Government of Alberta was sent to CRA.

On January 13, 2023 The CRA sent a letter notifying the St. John’s Legacy Foundation that,

      “We are pleased to inform you that St. John’s Legacy Foundation meets the requirements for tax-exempt status as a registered charity under the Income Tax Act.”

This letter arrived late in January. The journey to register the Legacy Foundation had ended successfully.

All in all, the creation of the SJLF took a long time. It was a very thoughtful and long process. All of the work was completed and approved initially by the SJHS.  Once the Certificate of Incorporation was finalized on December 30, 2020 the SJLF continued with the registration process with CRA. This work was completed due to the dedication of the St. John’s Legacy Foundation Board of Directors.

St. John’s Housing has donated the following to the Legacy Foundation:

  • 2021 – $210,000
  • 2022 – $10,000
  • 2023 – TD GIC initial value – $3,550,000.00 (Proceeds form the sale of the St. John’s      Senior Citizens Home);
  • TD GIC initial value – $175,000.00; and
  • Ukrainian Canadian Foundation of Taras Shevchenko Managed Fund valued at $495,813.51. (December 31, 2022)

As of today, St. John’s Legacy Foundation has $4,420,813.51 invested in GIC’s and managed accounts. The last three funds have been donated to the Legacy Foundation by a SJHS Board motion made at its February 13, 2023 meeting.

Once the three lots are sold, an additional amount will be placed in the SJLF.  The SJLF is certain that earned income in the Legacy Foundation will be a great help for projects in our Ukrainian community.

Finally, in 2022 two grants were given out.

  1. ACUA sponsored project called Art By Larisa – “Ukrainian Press Printing Block Mosaic Project, phase 4” ($3,000.00)
  2. Ukrainian Women’s Association of Canada, St. Johns Cathedral Branch- “Ukrainian Writers Mosaic Portraits” ($4,000.00)

The St. John’s Legacy Foundation board is pleased that the path to the future has been paved. In the coming years more will be added to the history of the Legacy Foundation.