Hilary Pearson has had a twenty-year career in the field of foundation philanthropy in Canada. As the founding President of Philanthropic Foundations Canada for almost eighteen years, Hilary has worked with many of the largest private charitable foundations in the country. She has been a strategic advisor and facilitator for many family foundations, in their work to understand the landscape, develop their goals, and structure their governance and grantmaking practices.

Author of numerous articles and reviews on foundation philanthropy, Ms Pearson also speaks frequently at conferences and workshops in Canada and globally. In her role at PFC, she edited comprehensive guides to starting and managing foundations, as well as guides for funders working with governments, with universities, and in policy advocacy.

Ms Pearson has an extensive knowledge of federal public policy regarding charities, and serves as co-chair of the Advisory Committee on the Charitable Sector, advising the federal government on policy and regulatory issues. From 2012 to 2015, she served on the Governor-General’s Advisory Committee on Volunteerism and Philanthropy. In July 2018, she was appointed to the Order of Canada for her contributions to building the field of philanthropy in Canada.
Ms. Pearson has served as a director on many national nonprofit boards of directors, including:
  • Imagine Canada
  • The Stratford Shakespeare Festival of Canada
  • CARE Canada
  • Indspire
  • The Canadian Cancer Society
She has a BA and MA in Political Economy from the University of Toronto, and honourary doctorates from Carleton University, the University of New Brunswick and Mount Allison University.


I engage with philanthropic foundations and families, through conversation and facilitation, in their work to:
Create Strategy & Focus
Explore values
Develop shared mission
Assess the landscape
Learn about foundation strategies and models
Structure Grantmaking Processes and Policies
Build grantmaking essentials
Measure learning and impact
Promote Good Governance Practice
Clarify Board roles and responsibilities
Manage agendas and decision-making
Plan for generational succession