Making Change

Fifty Years of the Laidlaw Foundation

Editors: Nathan Gilbert and Joyce Zemans

2001, 204 pages, $18.95. ECW Press, Toronto, Canada, 416-213-1919, ext 199,

Making Change tells the story of the history and philanthropic activities of the Canadian Laidlaw family and foundation. The Laidlaw Foundation, a GIA member based in Toronto, was established in 1949 by Walter and Robert Laidlaw, sons of the founder of the R. Laidlaw Lumber Company. One of the foundation's three primary areas of focus is the creation of new works in dance, drama, and music by small organizations not yet in the mainstream. The last chapter contains this description: "W.C. and R.A. Laidlaw were not near-saintly philanthropists, but thoroughly human: generous and cranky, oblivious and sensitive, stubbornly clinging to the past and better able than most to recognize that there would be needs beyond their lifetimes." In his preface, John Evans (chair, Walter and Duncan Gordon Family Foundation and former chair, Rockefeller Foundation) says: "The story of the Laidlaw Foundation illustrates the extraordinary value of well-managed private philanthropy in complementing government-thinned programs, particularly when it encourages groups in society to 'try things they hadn't done before.'"