Letter: The Volunteer Factor – Lifting Communities”

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Across the country this week we celebrate National Volunteer Week recognizing Canada’s 12.7 million volunteers – amounting to almost 2 billion volunteer hours each and every year!
This year’s theme is “The Volunteer Factor – Lifting Communities”.

What is the volunteer factor you may ask?! I define it to be a relentless passion and commitment by everyday people both young and old who give tirelessly and for no more than a smile in return.

As Chair of the Algoma, Cochrane, Manitoulin, Sudbury (ACMS) Grant Review Team of the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) I have the distinct pleasure of working with a diverse group of community leaders. These are OTF volunteers who review and recommend projects for funding in Ontario’s communities. Over 200 such volunteers bring diverse perspectives and knowledge from regions across the province.

The Ontario Trillium Foundation is an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada’s leading granting foundations. OTF awarded more than $100 million to some 629 projects last year to build healthy and vibrant communities in Ontario. Since 2015, $14,000,000 and the addition of 200,00 square feet of community space has benefitted thousands of people in ACMS through awarded OTF grants.

Each of these grants tell a story; of individuals forging stronger social ties, of local groups making their neighbourhoods more livable, of community partners weaving networks to tackle complex social issues.

In reviewing grant applications, we receive an extraordinary glimpse into the tremendous work that non-profits are engaging in throughout a variety of sectors within our local communities. The work being done which at times can go unnoticed is no less than inspiring.
As we continue to celebrate our local heroes I encourage you to find something that you are passionate about, be it arts and culture, environmental sustainability, active lifestyles or the positive development of children and youth. Seek out a local community group and join the growing 2.7 million Canadian volunteers in the building of inclusive and engaged communities.
If you have a digital first mindset, a deep commitment to your community, and you are willing to learn, apply to be a volunteer OTF Grant Review Team Member by sending your résumé to volunteersupport@otf.ca

Robert Nowosielski,
Chair – ACMS Grant Review Team – Ontario Trillium Foundation