Organizational Funds: The Ottawa Community Foundation helps charities strengthen long-term sustainability
Posted May 31, 2023 07:00:02 AM.
Last Updated May 30, 2023 10:01:25 AM.
The Ottawa Community Foundation (OCF) has always been a charity for charities, working with donors to set up charitable funds that support the community through grants. But they’re also empowering charities to establish their own funds, strengthening long-term sustainability and supercharging fundraising capabilities.
The OCF now administers an impressive 234 organizational funds, showcasing the versatility and adaptability of their services. These funds are invested and designed to grow over time, with an annual disbursement granted to the charity for operational costs or program expenses.
Glennis Lane, Associate, Philanthropic Services elaborates, “The concept of charities setting up their own funds isn’t widely recognized yet. But once understood, the benefits are immense. Charities get to leverage our investment expertise and our reputation in managing major gifts, and we take on the administrative tasks and reporting requirements. It’s a win-win scenario.”
Among the benefits of setting up an organizational fund, charities can signal their commitment to long-term stability and sustainability, which inspires confidence in donors to give. These funds are also ideal for supporting substantial mid-to-long-term capital campaigns, such as new infrastructure projects, and can accept a variety of complex donations, ranging from publicly traded securities to bequests and RRSP/RRIF.
The OCF supports all charitable causes, which is evident in the myriad of organizations that have set up organizational funds. Among them are Hospice Care Ottawa, the Education Foundation of Ottawa, Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind, the Elizabeth Fry Society of Ottawa, and Ottawa Riverkeeper.
Lane highlights the OCF’s collaboration with PAL Ottawa, a charity that provides affordable housing and support to seniors in the arts sector. PAL is currently undertaking a $2M capital campaign to develop PAL Place, which will offer 80-mixed income units. “It has been a pleasure to work with PAL Ottawa and help contribute to the meaningful work they do,” says Lane. “We administer the PAL Ottawa Fund, investing its capital while offering donors flexible options for supporting the organization’s work.”
Peter Haworth, Board Chair at PAL Ottawa, says, “The word Foundation in OCF has certainly proved true for our organization. OCF’s support over the years has been a foundation for our work to create a residence and services for senior artists and arts workers.”
“From our first grant application to work with CAHDCO (seeking their expertise on approaching developers) to our subsequent applications for project management, the unsolicited funding which OCF has guided in our direction, and the investment opportunities they offer, PAL Ottawa has had extraordinary support from OCF.”
He adds, “I don’t think we would be where we are without them. And I ought to mention the availability of staff who give us sound advice and guidance when needed.”
Organizations in the arts community like PAL Ottawa are vital to our social fabric, says Lane. She points to an endowment fund matching program that Canadian Heritage offers through the Canada Cultural Investment Fund. “Eligible arts organizations who are ready can set up an endowment fund within the Ottawa Community Foundation, and Canadian Heritage will match up to one dollar for every dollar raised through donations,” she explains. “It is a great opportunity to build an endowment that supports sustainability in the organization and the sector.”
By bolstering charitable sector sustainability and helping charities with their fundraising goals, the Ottawa Community Foundation proves its commitment to building a stronger, more resilient community.
To learn more about the Ottawa Community Foundation and how charities can set up an organizational fund, click here
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