Cathleen McFarlane Ross established the Foundation in 1997. From its establishment in 1997 to her death in 2010, she made significant annual donations to the Cathleen McFarlane Foundation. She supported many charities during her lifetime but focused primarily on homeless people, homeless animals and addiction.  Making a difference for those less fortunate, especially those suffering from homelessness and addiction, was Cathleen’s mission in life, and through Cathleen McFarlane Foundation her legacy she lives on.

The Trustees select and award approved funding requests.  The Board of Trustees meets roughly five times a year, late fall to late spring.  Funding requests must be specific, measurable, and fall within the funding objectives and guidelines.  The Trustees generally will not fund endowments, capital campaigns for buildings and physical facilities. Reports are expected on the effectiveness or success of the project or program or of the impact made to the organization.

All organizations requesting grants will be vetted to ensure they meet the Cathleen McFarlane Foundation‘s criteria and that they are properly organized and have a Board in full support of their directives.


Cathleen McFarlane Foundation aims to support community based nonprofits that are making measurable impact on the marginalized homeless and/or addicted that might not receive services and support or have difficulty accessing services. The purpose of the funding is prevention, service delivery and/or rehabilitation. Grants for small, innovative, or new programs are welcomed.

Key Objectives

The information found in each funding category is to serve as support for defining the key funding objectives NOT as an endorsement or exhaustive list of activities or interventions allowed under the funding objectives.  When developing a program or project, it is recommended that these principles or best practices be used when applicable. Cathleen McFarlane Foundation prioritizes applications that strive to make meaningful impact for those that are hard to reach or would otherwise not have access to services.