The Leon and Thea Koerner Foundation was established in 1955 with a capital gift of one million dollars. In over sixty years of grant making, the Foundation provided close to ten million dollars in grants to communities throughout British Columbia and in the Yukon.
At the first meeting of the Board of Governors of The Leon and Thea Koerner Foundation, Dr. Koerner stated:
“We feel happily and sincerely that our start today is just a small repayment of our debt to this great Province, this grand country of Canada and its people, of which we are very proud to be part by adoption.”
The Foundation was administered by a Board of Governors chosen from various fields of experience reflecting the philanthropic interests of the Foundation: cultural and creative arts, social services, and education.
Many outstanding members of the community volunteered their time over the years making a substantial contribution to the Foundation’s impact around the province.
In 2015, the Board of Governors made the decision to transition from continuous grant making to a legacy endowment in the name of Leon and Thea Koerner as a means of preserving their philanthropic legacy and created the Leon and Thea Koerner Award.
The Board envisioned that through this unique and highly selective award, organizations would receive more substantial funding to create a lasting and significant impact or change in their communities.