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Our History


Following World War II the number of immigrants from Lithuania to North America grew considerably.  Social, cultural, educational and political activities increased as a result. The belief that Lithuania would regain its independence never faltered, and the realization that once this happened Lithuania would need financial support to help rebuild, was a paramount concern. In the interim, it was essential to support and promote the maintenance of a Lithuanian identity and sense of community in the diaspora. To achieve these goals, it was decided to establish a single US/Canada Lithuanian Foundation whose aim was to raise $1M of capital to be used to rebuild a free and independent Lithuania. In the meantime, the interest earned would be used to support activities that promoted Lithuanian culture and identity in the diaspora.

Lawyer Kęstutis Grigaitis first proposed the idea of establishing a capital fund in an article published in the January 17th, 1957 issue of the weekly Canadian-Lithuanian newspaper “Tėviškės Žiburiai”. He proposed that Canadian Lithuanians establish “The Iron Fund” in Canada on the same basis as the Lithuanian Fund being established in the USA, with the aim of raising $100,000CDN. The “Iron Fund” would function under the guidance of and report to the newly established Lithuanian Canadian Community’s Board of Directors. This is how the idea of the Canadian-Lithuanian Foundation was born.  

KLF Ignaitis003.jpg
KLF Ignaitis007.jpg


A group of idealistic Lithuanians voice concern about establishing sustainable and ongoing support for Lithuania and for Lithuanian activities in Canada.


An article entitled “Let’s Establish the Iron Fund” by Kęstutis Grigaitis is published in TŽ newspaper.

Lithuanian Canadian Community (LCC) Executive Secretary Kęstutis Grigaitis and Executive Director Petras Lelis begin work to establish “The Iron Fund”.

MAY 20

LCC calls a meeting in Toronto of local chapter Presidents and Secretaries to discuss the idea of establishing a capital fund. K. Grigaitis drafts proposed fund bylaws.

The meeting in Toronto expresses support for the establishment of a foundation.


At the LCC Board of Directors’ meeting in Toronto, bylaws for the Foundation are accepted.  However the organizational structure was not defined nor was an organizing committee established.


The idea of establishing a foundation in the US is discussed at a meeting in Chicago, IL.

First proposal to establish a foundation in Canada.  Article by K. Grigaitis in "Tėviškės Žiburiai", 1957.I.17



A group wanting to set up the American Lithuanian Foundation meet in Chicago.  The Secretary of this meeting is a Canadian, Vincas Ignaitis.  The American Lithuanian Foundation is established and Vincas Ignaitis is named as the Canadian representative charged with raising funds in Canada for the American Lithuanian Foundation.


During a meeting of the Lithuanian Canadian Community Board of Directors in Toronto, LCC President Stepas Kęsgaila declares that there should be only one foundation in Canada.  He receives the Board’s support for this position.  After considerable discussion, V. Užupis suggests the name “The Iron Fund” should be changed to “The Lithuanian Canadian Foundation” and that a committee be formed to prepare its bylaws.  His suggestions are accepted and Vincas Ignaitis, Stepas Jakubickas and Petras Januška are elected to form the Bylaws Committee.


Sept. 16, 1962 Date on which the Lithuanian Canadian Foundation was established

The LCC Board of Directors’ at their meeting in Ottawa accepts the proposed bylaws and forms an Organizing Committee charged with establishing the Lithuanian Canadian Foundation (LCF).  The Organizing Committee is made up of: Vincas Ignaitis - President, Stepas Jakubickas – Treasurer, Petras Januška  - Secretary.


LCF Organizing Committee started work to recruit the Foundation's first members, raise initial capital funds, and develop the Foundation's operational structure.

First donation of $100 was made by the Lithuanian Canadian Community Executive, who became the first LCF member. 

The first 11 individual donations amassed a capital sum of $2,050.  They formed the basis for a funding drive which was started to raise $100,000 over the next 10 years (1963-1972). 

A network of fundraisers was established within nine Lithuanian communities to recruit LCF members and encourage donations.  


First meeting of the Foundation's members took place in Toronto on April 18, 1964.  A Board of Directors and Foundation Executive were elected. 


By the first members' meeting there were 40 Foundation members primarily from the tobacco farming regions in south-western Ontario, with others from Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and Hamilton who had contributed a total of $5,450 to the Foundation. 

One of the early fundraising appeals to the Lithuanian community, "Tėviškės Žiburiai", 1963.III.14


First grants disbursed to support Lithuanian heritage language schools in Canada and the Lithuanian World Youth Congress being held in Chicago


On June 26th, 1967, the LCF successfully obtained is federal charter and charitable foundation registration allowing it to issue charitable donation receipts for exemption from income tax


Foundation endowment capital reached $100,000

Article that appeared in "Tėviškės Žiburiai" in support of the LCF 1964.V.14

KLF Tarybos ir Valdybos bendras posėdis / LCF Board of Directors and Executive Committee joint meeting in 1964. Iš kairės / from the left: V. Balsys dr. A. Pacevičius, V. Ignaitis.

Invitation to the LCF Annual General Meeting 1968.II.9

Invitation to the LCF Annual General Meeting 1968.II.9


The first major donation commitment of $100,00 was received from Teadora and Aleksas Kojelaičiai to support Lithuanian heritage studies and student scholarships.


Foundation's endowment capital surpassed $500,000


After 20 years, the Foundation’s capital was on a sound footing having reached $450,000.


Once Lithuania regained its independence on March 11th of 1991, the issue of what to do with the Foundation’s capital needed to be addressed. A special committee made up of: Paulius Kuras, Algis Pacevičius, Algirdas Vaičiūnas was formed to seek a solution.

Per Canadian laws, the Foundation’s capital could not be sent to Lithuania without liquidating and closing the Foundation.


In April a decision was made that from March 31, 1990 onwards, 25% of the Foundation‘s annual profits would go to support special projects and provide humanitarian aid in Lithuania.  This funding committment would continue until the sum of $1M was reached ($1M was the amount of capital the Foundation had in its accounts in 1991).


The Foundation’s Board announced a drive to recruit new members – membership grew by 166.


Concerted effort was made to continuously improve the work of the Foundation – updating of the bylaws and a review of the process for Board elections.  Capital was close to $2M.  From it‘s inception, a total of $1.1M had been disbursed by the Foundation.


A new slogan was adopted: “Recruit one more!” This launched a drive for new members.  30 were recruited.


A new slogan was adopted: “Recruit one more!” This launched a drive for new members. 30 were recruited.


Based on new Canadian government (CRA) requirements, the Foundation Annual General Meeting rescinded the 1992 decision to send 25% of annual profit to support projects in Lithuania.  All disbursements henceforth had to be made following CRA requirements.


An agreement was signed by the Foundation with Vilnius University to grant scholarhsips for studies in Lithuania. 


At the 50 year mark from its establishment, the Foundation had a total of 2,642 members, capital of $6.2M, and over the past 5 years had disbursed over $200,000 annually.


Alignment of the Foundation’s statues, bylaws and structure with the requirements of the new Canada Not for Profit Corporations Act were accepted at the Foundation members’ Annual General Meeting


An agreement between the Foundation and the Rev. P. Ažubalis Scholarship Fund Committee was signed for the disbursement of the Ažubalis scholarship by the Foundation.


An agreement was signed between the Foundation and Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas for the granting of a scholarship for studies at the university in Lithuania.


At the 60 year mark, the Foundation’s capital was $10.5M and total disbursements to-date made to projects in Lithuania was $950,000 (primarily to support hospitals, schools, returned exiles, the press and various other special projects).

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