August 14, 2020
Guest Blog

Advancing Innovation and Impact in the Non-Profit Sector: OTF’s Partnership Investments

Arti Freeman, CCMP Manager, Partnership Investments, Ontario Trillium Foundation

As one of Canada’s largest granting foundations, the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) has supported and collaborated with organizations across the non-profit, public, and private sectors to build healthy and vibrant communities throughout Ontario.

Given our position and reach across Ontario, we recognize the need to foster, develop and strengthen partnerships with non-profit and philanthropic leaders as well as corporate, academe, and government stakeholders, to enable a stronger and more resilient non-profit sector.

Drawing on our experiences and knowledge of the sector, it became clear that a key organizational strength is connecting sector allies who share a common goal.  At the same time, these experiences led us to a clear theory of change. If we can support more innovation and the good use of data, measurement, and evaluation in the non-profit sector, we will see better outcomes for Ontarians.

In 2019, we launched our Partnership Investments program designed to mobilize relationships and resources in communities to build the capacity of the non-profit sector to innovate and deliver greater impact.  ​

Below are examples of our Partnerships:

Scaling Impact Initiative

Grow existing and support new place-based social finance intermediaries to develop loan and equity opportunities to community organizations.

Mass Culture 

Develop a research and evidence infrastructure to support the needs of Ontario’s arts and culture sector.

Social Procurement Strategy

To expand upon a Toronto-based social procurement strategy, in partnership with 13 anchor institutions, to generate social and economic value across the province.

New Power Labs

Influence more ethical and equitable practices in the social finance sector and feed the development of a community-based Ontario social finance learning lab to support equitable finance practices for underrepresented communities and groups.

Turtle Island Institute

Canada’s first Indigenous social innovation lab developing Indigenous social innovation R&D methodologies.

Data Strategy for Funders

In partnership with the Philanthropic Foundations of Canada, develop a data strategy for funders to advance the better use of data and evidence in grantmaking in Canadian philanthropy.

Through our partnerships, we invest in non-profit sector infrastructure and intermediaries to:

  1. Utilize community-led research & development infrastructure and practices
  2. Adopt diverse financial tools and resources to generate new revenue
  3. Access a growing number of community finance opportunities
  4. Measure and articulate impact
  5. Use, share and mobilize knowledge & evidence to achieve impact

In this season of pandemic and the worldwide movement to address systemic anti-Black racism, we are exploring how our partnerships can help rebuild the non-profit sector.  One of the partnerships we are currently working on aims to accelerate the digital transformation of the non-profit sector. The ultimate vision is a cross-sectoral collaboration to enable a rejuvenated and more resilient sector that is well-positioned to support social and economic recovery efforts across Canada.

We recognize the need for and are committed to learning more about equity in philanthropy, how we can improve our partnership practices, and advance more equitable outcomes for the non-profit sector.

We believe we can work better together by:

  • Exploring investment opportunities that align our common interests
  • Co-convening for learning and knowledge sharing
  • Co-creating and/or co-investing in initiatives that achieve our common outcome

The non-profit sector plays a significant role in our communities. It supports local needs, connects individuals, and builds a stronger Ontario. The work we do to forge connections is integral to advancing innovation and impact in the non-profit sector.

We invite you to connect with OTF’s Partnership Investments Team.

Related Posts

Add Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.