The International Grenfell Association (IGA) was
incorporated in Canada on January 10, 1914, under the Companies Act of
1899. Sir Wilfred Grenfell, the founder of IGA, came to Newfoundland to
attend to the needs of fishermen in northern Newfoundland and on the coast
of Labrador. Although an excellent physician and surgeon who initially ran
his medical services from a base hospital in Battle Harbour, Labrador,
along with various ships which moved up and down the Labrador coast, he
also tended to other needs of people in the region.
In its earliest years, the IGA had four functions in serving the needs of
these people. They were (1) health care; (2) education; (3) religious
services; and (4) rehabilitation and other social activities. As time
passed, some of these needs have been provided by sources outside the IGA.
The availability of ordained clergy led to a withdrawal of major activities
in the area of religion. In addition, provision of education by the
provincial government allowed withdrawal of this activity. Gradually, the
IGA became the manager of medical care for this whole region, constructing
a series of nursing stations along the Labrador coast and on the northern
peninsula of Newfoundland. These, in turn, were backed up by a major
hospital (the Curtis Hospital) in St. Anthony, Newfoundland. As time went
on, the expense of providing that medical care far outstripped the ability
to fund it, and the provincial government supplemented the budget until
government essentially provided all medical funding by the late 1970's.
When it became apparent that the IGA had become managers of government
funding and people of the region wanted more participation in the
management of their health care, the IGA decided to reorganize its focus,
and became essentially a private foundation whose sole purpose is to award
grants for the benefit of people of that region. See the IGA Strategic Plan.
The source of funds for these grants are the endowment funds of three
supporting associations - Grenfell Association of America in New York, New
England Grenfell Association in Boston, and the Grenfell Association of
Great Britain and Ireland in London, England.
Income from these associations is pooled, with the distribution of monies
being made through the IGA, acting as an agent for the supporting
associations. The Board of Directors of the IGA makes the decisions with
respect to which of the grant applications submitted to it will be funded.
In 1981, the IGA turned all of its medical care assets - nursing stations,
hospitals, equipment and land pertinent to that service over to the
provincial government for the sum of $1.00. Since that time, the IGA has
been managing the grant program for itself and its affiliates.
The IGA has made every effort to divest itself of all holdings, and
believes that this has been accomplished. Land, however, was held
throughout a very wide geographical area, and it is possible that unknown
parcels will become identified in the future.
Please search this website for more current information about the IGA and
its involvement in bettering the lives of the residents of northern
Newfoundland and coastal Labrador, through its yearly awarding of grants in