40 Years of Impact

Building healthy and vibrant communities since 1982.

The Ontario Trillium Foundation’s 40 years of impact logo.

On November 17, 2022, OTF marked its 40th anniversary of working with the non-profit sector to lead change that matters to communities. Since 1982, OTF has invested in the vital work of Ontario’s non-profit sector to improve the well-being of Ontarians. 

We are proud to celebrate this milestone by sharing stories, memories and highlights of the important work happening across our communities.

Discover moments

Building strong, resilient communities

For 40 years, OTF has invested in people, communities, and equitable opportunities for all.

Thank you for showing us what is possible.

Premier Doug Ford shares a congratulatory message for OTF’s 40th anniversary.

More than $2.6 billion has been invested into 28,000+ grants to improve the social and economic fabric of Ontario.

A group of youth learn how to process hide

2021: Hide Camp at Nimkii Youth Collective

Message from Matt Bondy, OTF Board Chair

“This is an incredible milestone for OTF! In the four decades of supporting non-profits, OTF has invested more than $2.6 billion into communities that provides opportunities for Ontarians to thrive.   

From food security and mental health services to physical activity and cultural programs, and more, Ontario’s non-profit organizations help us stay connected and engaged in our communities.

Thank you to the Ontario government for the ongoing support of our province’s non-profit sector and thanks to OTF volunteers and staff who have passionately committed to building stronger communities!”

A shared vision

Formed on November 17, 1982, OTF was established to support social service organizations with an initial budget of $15 million.

In 1983, the first round of grants was awarded to 15 organizations.

We continued to engage with the non-profit sector to deliver grants and supports to help organizations fulfill their mandates. We grew with the sector, for the sector.

“The leadership of Trillium has been a co-operative effort from the beginning, involving some of the finest minds in the province, who, together, shared a vision that they could make a difference.” — John Craig Eaton, founding chairman.
A Big Sister and Little Sister participate in a crafting program.

1984: The Big Sisters and Little Sisters of Belleville and District receive funding to expand the programming.

An impact story | Loving Spoonful

In 2018, Loving Spoonful set out to impact more people with its transformative cooking program, Cooking Connections.

The program uses cooking lessons and good food to bring together people living with mental illness and/or substance use challenges. Participants attend an 8-week course, where they learn strategies to combat stigma and build confidence, self-acceptance and connections within the community.

All of the Peer Facilitators who lead Cooking Connections are graduates of the program. Their lived experiences and involvement in the program allow them to build greater connections and create safe spaces for participants.

With the help of an OTF grant and working with multiple community partners, the program grew into other communities, helping more individuals improve their well-being.

“This [program] is teaching us how to let the world see the awesome person that we are deep inside, as well as teaching us how to deal with stigma when it should arise… All in all, Cooking Connections is nothing short of miraculous.”
– program participant

Expanded mandate

In 1999, funding from the Ontario government increased to $100 million to further strengthen the non-profit sector – increasing our reach and enhancing the impact on communities.

Eligibility was expanded to include organizations in the arts and culture, sports and recreation, and environment sectors. Funding increased to support more rural communities and different types of projects – benefitting people of all ages, experiences, and cultures.

OTF's mission in 1999: The Trillium Foundation’s mission is to work with others to create conditions of social progress for people in Ontario who are socially or economically disadvantaged.

“As a leader in our community, [OTF has] helped improve the quality of life for caregivers and people living with dementia all across Toronto through their generous support.”  

Kari Quinn-Humphrey, CEO of Alzheimer Society of Toronto 

Inclusive decision making

Local Grant Review Teams were established across Ontario to ensure diverse perspectives and experiences are included in the grantmaking process.

Today, we work with over 300 volunteers who help deliver fair and transparent grant recommendations.

Thank you to our volunteers, past and present, for your commitment to building healthy and vibrant communities!

A black and white image of a group of 16 individuals, who make up the Grant review team chairs in Ontario for 2003, sit and stand for an official photo.

2003: Grant Review Team Chairs across Ontario.

Your contributions make a difference

Our volunteers assess grant applications and recommend suitable projects for funding.

Volunteer with OTF

An impact story | Writers Collective of Canada

In 2013, Writers Collective of Canada partnered with an established charity and applied for—and received—its first OTF collaborative grant. 

The grant enabled them to expand the reach of its unique, empowering writing workshops to those most vulnerable. 

Ten years later, the program has reached over 7,000 individual writers who have engaged in over 25,000 writing workshop experiences.

Participants who attend the writing workshops tell their stories often for the first time. Through writing together and deeply listening to one another, they create deep human connections, bridging differences which seem otherwise unsurmountable. 

The impact reaches many vibrant and diverse Canadian communities – reducing isolation, building community and resilience for underserved populations in need.

“Your support has inspired the expression of thousands of unheard voices in
traditionally silenced communities throughout [Ontario]. Writing together, we change the world.”
- Susan Turk, Founder, Writers Collective of Canada

Messages from staff and volunteers | Past and present

A message from Robin Cardozo, OTF’s CEO from 1999 - 2012

“Being able to support all the wonderful work that our grantees do every day in their communities makes me feel like I have in some small way contributed to making the world a better place - truly a privilege!”   Trudi Collins, OTF staff.
A young boy pets a brown horse in its stable.

2022: Windsor-Essex Therapeutic Riding Association participant

“I very much enjoyed volunteering on the GRT. What I always looked forward to were the thoughtful proposals submitted by the community to advance their own communities. Participating on the GRT was a learning experience for me and celebrating project success was the icing on the cake”   Bob Burge, former Grant Review Team Member from Quinte Kingston Rideau

Message from Katharine Bambrick, CEO

“For 40 years, OTF has invested in the non-profit sector to build healthy and vibrant communities. More than 28,000 grants have helped non-profit organizations to innovate and meet the diverse needs of their communities.

Thank you to the countless non-profit organizations whose critical work helps improve the well-being of Ontarians!”

OTF logo | Then and now

Since 1982, our Trillium logo has gone through a few changes. What hasn’t changed? Our values and commitment to supporting Ontario’s diverse communities.

Did you know that the White Trillium – Ontario’s iconic provincial flower – has five native species in our province and is a favourite food of White-tailed Deer? Learn more fun facts about the White Trillium from Ontario Parks.

A depiction of the Ontario Trillium Foundation logo used from 1982-1994. It has a white graphic trillium with a red outline and the words The Trillium Foundation above it.

1982 – 1994

The former Ontario Trillium Foundation logo used from 1994-2011. It is an artistic rendering of a Trillium flower in white and green with the words The Ontario Trillium Foundation above and La Fondation Trillium de l’Ontario below.

1994 – 2011

The current Ontario Trillium Foundation logo shows the Trillium flower in a minimalist design with green leaves intersecting the three petals.   The words Ontario Trillium Foundation are above the logo and the words Fondation Trillium de l’Ontario are below the logo.

2011 – present

Driving positive change

We invest in the non-profit sector to support programs and services that improve the well-being of people in Ontario.

We work with community-based organizations, partners and non-profit sector leaders to build more inclusive and accessible communities.

Did you know?

  • $81 million has been invested into Indigenous, Francophone and 2SLGBTQIA+ programs.

  • 8.2 million sq ft of infrastructure has been built or improved for community space.

  • $300 million has been invested in organizations impacted by COVID-19.

  • 80,000 people have received training, gained employment or became entrepreneurs.

Communities that thrive

From East to West, North to South, non-profit organizations operate for the good of the public. They deliver essential programs and services to meet the needs of our diverse communities.

Discover our grants awarded
Five Indigenous youth squat beside a traditional birch-bark canoe.

2021: Georgian Bay Anishinaabek Youth, recipient of a YOF grant

The support of OTF has provided us with opportunities to create safe spaces for Indigenous youth to revitalize and celebrate Anishinaabek ancestral knowledge. A quote from Georgian Bay Anishinaabek Youth.
A man standing in front of a podium holds the Franco-Ontarian flag over his head.

2016: A conference with sector leaders celebrating Franco-Ontarians.

Adapting and responding to COVID-19

This program was particularly important during COVID and allowed families in equity-seeking communities to come together within the comfort of their own spaces. Undoubtedly a difficult time for everyone, COVID lockdown and restrictions were felt hardest by families already experiencing marginalization. We were honoured to be able to offer high-quality, accessible and in-person arts programming during this time. A qutoe from Wendy Rading, Arts Etobicoke.
Youth gather in a circle outdoors near a high-rise building for some physical activity.

Arts Etobicoke, 2022

An impact story | Produced by Youth

Produced by Youth engages youth through music and art. They help transcend cultural and language barriers, creating real community connection for youth in their program.

Because of COVID-19, they pivoted their delivery model and moved online to create safe and accessible opportunities for youth.

Building connections through music and art

A youth-led group creates strong networks in the community and help youth gain real-life skills with the support of $254,200 YOF grant.

Read their impact story
Group of students and adults looking at a map.

Our grants make an impact

Learn about the positive impact grantees are having as they build healthy and vibrant communities.

Read their stories