An organizational mentor (OM) is an incorporated non-profit organization, charity, or First Nation that meets Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) eligibility criteria, enabling it to receive funds directly from OTF. OMs provide administrative support, project mentoring, and financial accountability to Youth Opportunities Fund (YOF) grassroots groups.
Terms such as trustees, emerging governance platform, platform, or charitable home may be more familiar.
About Organization Mentors
YOF chose “organizational mentor” because it captures two intentions:
OMs offer groups a sound “legal home”
The need for a “legal home” is non-negotiable and the legal boundaries of the relationship are set by the Canada Revenue Agency. OMs extend their own infrastructure, policies and procedures to support grassroots groups with administrative support and project oversight. The OM assumes full legal and financial responsibility for all project deliverables and project funds.
Exchange of knowledge, experience, opportunities, and networks between groups and OMs
We envision OMs and grassroots groups working together in a spirit of reciprocity and deep respect. They each believe that this relationship will enhance the quality of their work, their impact, and relationships with those they serve. All unincorporated and incorporated grassroots groups applying to the Youth Innovations and Family Innovations Streams must partner with an OM.
Finding an Organizational Mentor
All groups applying to the YOF Youth Innovations and Family Innovations Streams must partner with an OM and enter into a collaborative agreement. OMs must be registered with the OTF as an eligible organization.
Start the search for an OM early!
- Grassroots groups must choose their own OM, with support from YOF.
- Check out the list of YOF grants to see the names of organizations that are already OMs to YOF grassroots groups.
- The name of your OM is not required to complete an EOI. If you do have an OM already lined up, you can include their name in your EOI.
- Review the resource OM Tools. The tools include additional tips to finding an OM and a conversation guide.
- Start early because finding the right partner for your group and work matters! If your group is shortlisted following the EOI stage, the process will move very quickly, and we want you to have the time to make an informed decision.
If the OM relationship with a grassroots group ends during the term of the grant, the project cannot automatically be transferred to a new OM. In these situations, and depending the circumstances, the grant may be rescinded.
What is needed to be an Organizational Mentor?
Being an OM can be both rewarding and beneficial, but it does require organizational infrastructure and a commitment to supporting grassroots work and leaders. To be an OM, your organization will need:
Support of Senior Leadership and DirectorsAs an OM, your organization assumes all legal and fiduciary responsibility for a grassroots project just as you would with your organization’s other projects and activities. Participating as an OM requires authorization from an individual at a senior leadership level and/or the Board of Directors.
Basic InfrastructureYour organization should have the infrastructure to support grassroots projects. This means that your organization has staff that can dedicate time to provide the projects with administrative and program support. It also means that staff roles and responsibilities are clearly defined and can be shared with grassroots group leaders. Infrastructure also means that relevant financial and human resources policies and procedures, including insurance and liabilities coverage, are in place and can be shared with project leaders.
Capacity to MentorIn addition to providing administrative support to the grassroots group and their project, OMs provide project leaders with mentoring support throughout the grant. It is critical that your organization has the capacity and interest to mentor project leaders. Mentorship may include supporting or strengthening the grassroots group leaders’ financial management, project planning, or outreach skills or may take different forms depending on the experience, capacity and interest of group members.
How to become an Organizational Mentor?
- Is your organization new to the Foundation? Start by registering your organization and completing the short OM Application Form.
- Is your organization already registered with the Foundation? Log in to your organizational profile to access a short OM Application Form. In your portal, look for Applications (YOF) in the top right corner. Click on Applications (YOF) to access the OM Application. You may also be asked to update any organizational information that may be out of date.
- The YOF team will verify your organization’s eligibility. In the situation where your organization does not meet OTF eligibility, you will be notified. We ask that you notify those groups and project leaders impacted by this decision.
This partnership agreement is between a grassroots group and their OM. It references the terms and conditions as well as roles and responsibilities of each partner. Work with groups and project leaders to complete, review and sign the agreement.
Your organization can only partner with one group per year. This means you may be an OM to one shortlisted group submitting a Youth Innovations Grant Application or one shortlisted group submitting a Family Innovations Grant Application. As an OM, you may also apply as Lead on a System Innovations Grant.
Thank you for your interest in being an OM to a YOF grassroots group and joining our OM network! Being an OM is critical to building and sustaining spaces for grassroots leadership and community-inspired work. As a YOF OM, you will have access to a network of other OMs and resources to support you in this role.