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Leading Edge Endowment Fund Service Plan

Organizational Overview

In 2002, the Government of British Columbia established a $45 million Leading Edge Endowment Fund (LEEF) to support 20 permanent British Columbia Leadership Chairs based on a 50-50 cost sharing partnership between government and private/non-provincial government sectors.

A Society was created for the purpose of administering LEEF. This involved establishing 19 “Sponsored” Chairs in addition to one British Columbia Leadership Chair, the International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries (ICORD) Chair at the University of British Columbia. Each Chair is supported in perpetuity through an endowment of $4.5 million, managed by the host institution. The endowed Chairs are designed to attract world-class faculty, strengthen the province’s capacity for innovative research, promote British Columbia as a centre for cutting-edge research, enhance economic development and position the province as a leader in the knowledge-based economy.

In addition, government has provided $11.25 million to establish nine Regional Innovation Chairs (RIC) at colleges, university colleges and institutes. Each RIC has an endowment of $2.5 million. The LEEF Society is responsible for administering the RIC fund.

The Society also receives charitable donations to support graduate student awards, held in conjunction with each British Columbia Leadership Chair.

Corporate Governance

LEEF is a British Columbia Society and registered federal charity, with its own constitution and bylaws, under the responsibility of the Ministry of Advanced Education. LEEF is governed by a nine-person board of directors. The Directors of the Society are:

  • Jack Blaney, Commissioner, International Joint Commission, Chair, Fraser Basin Council and President Emeritus, Simon Fraser University
  • Gordon Campbell, Premier
  • Murray Coell, Minister of Advanced Education
  • Colin Hansen, Minister of Economic Development
  • Chaviva Hosek, President and CEO, The Canadian Institute for Advanced Research
  • Judith Isaac-Renton, Director, Laboratory Services, B.C. Centre for Disease Control, Professor, Medical Microbiology, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, UBC
  • Hassan Khosrowshahi, Chairman, Inwest Investments Ltd.
  • R. Hector MacKay-Dunn Q.C., Senior Partner, Farris, Vaughan, Wills and Murphy LLC
  • Martha Salcudean, Chair LEEF Board of Directors, Professor Emerita, Weyerhauser Chair, and Former Associate VP of Research and Dept. Head, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, UBC

Goals and Strategies

Through a competitive peer review process all 29 of the Chairs have now been allocated. The Chairs are in the following sectors:

  • Health: ten Chairs;
  • Technology: four Chairs;
  • Environment: five Chairs;
  • Social: six Chairs; and
  • Economic Development: four Chairs.

LEEF must now ensure the matching funding is in place for each Chair, and that a suitable nominee has been confirmed for each Chair. The Ministry of Advanced Education and LEEF are aiming for a March 31, 2009, wrap-up date.

It is estimated that LEEF will have approximately $7 million in accumulated investment income remaining after all Chairs have been endowed. Prior to dissolution, the Society will need to determine how to allocate these remaining funds, within the terms of its constitution. At present these funds are classified as an “unrestricted appropriation” and are used to cover administration and operating expenses, as permitted by the Society’s constitution and bylaws.

Summary Financial Outlook

($ in thousands) FISCAL
2006/07 Actual1
2007/08 Projected2
2008/09 Projected2
2009/10 Projected3
Grant Income4 3,500 26,500 15,000  
Interest 1,756 1,300 800  
  5,256 27,800 15,800  
LEEF Chairs 3,500 26,500 15,000  
Operations 286 296 300  
Other 5     7,057  
  3,786 26,796 22,357  
EXCESS (Revenue over Expenses) 1,470 1,004 (6,557)  
NET ASSETS (Beginning of year) 4,083 5,553 6,557  
NET ASSETS (End of year) 5,553 6,557 0  
FTEs 2 2 2  

1  Figures from the LEEF Audited Financial Statements for the year ended March 31, 2007.
2  Figures provided by the LEEF Society.
3  No projections are provided for Fiscal Year 2009/10 as it is anticipated that LEEF will have been dissolved and all funds dispersed.
4  Grant income is drawn from “deferred contributions” on hand and reported in the year a Chair award is made.
5  Allocation to be determined by the LEEF Board.
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