Last update July 20, 2020:
On this page, we will keep you informed on the fund’s progress and the grants being made. We’re consulting with a city-wide network of organizations to identify and adapt to evolving priorities.
The COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund from the Ottawa Community Foundation was a response to an unprecedented situation. We asked you to join a community of donors to support urgent issues in this time of uncertainty.
Learn more about the COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund. Share, give, make a difference.
The fund is seeded with reserves from the Ottawa Community Foundation, along with support from donors and partners, including Vancity Community Investment Bank and Green Shield Canada.
Rapid Response Grants
Our list of grants now includes projects supported by the Emergency Community Support Fund (ECSF). We are proud to be working with Community Foundations of Canada and the Government of Canada to deliver funding in Ottawa.
List does not include grants made on the recommendation of donors from their funds with us.
Funds were provided to the Beth Donovan Hospice to provide hot meals and keep very ill clients connected to supports.
The Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa was given funds to support additional staff and training, Personal Protective Equipment and other supports as they re-open.
Funds were provided to National Capital Children’s Oncology Care to provide weekly meals and groceries for families who are now unable to cook together and are required to travel to Ottawa for their seriously ill children that receive medical care at CHEO.
Causeway Work Centre helps those with mental illness and other challenges find meaningful work. Funds were provided to equip staff and clients with technology to provide virtual services.
Funds were provided to the Canadian Centre for Men and Families to support crisis counselling, group therapy and other services using virtual platforms for boys, men and their families in Ottawa who suffer from abuse and trauma.
The Nepean, Rideau and Osgoode Community Resource Centre was provided funds to offer a safe neighbourhood-based summer day camp for children aged 7-12.
Funds were provided to the Debra Dynes Family House to operate a community garden under COVID-19 safety restrictions.
Funds were provided to Parkway House Ottawa and District to ensure the ongoing safety and well-being of severely disabled adults at the residence.
The Catholic Centre for Immigrants was provided funds to enhance service delivery methods that will enable settlement staff to provide the necessary supports for vulnerable newcomer populations.
Funds were provided to the Parkdale Food Centre to adapt community programs to be delivered safely to participants including children, youth and seniors.
Funds were provided to the Elizabeth Fry Society of Ottawa to cover office renovations in order to provide safe and private space for women to receive critical supports.
BEING Studio received funds to provide increased virtual supports to adults with development disabilities.
Funds were provided to the Ottawa Independent Living Resource Centre to support staffing to provide peer support programming, information and referral services virtually for people with disabilities.
Funds were provided to Salvation Army Ottawa Citadel to provide health and hygiene packages to seniors and newcomers as well as care and activity packages for children/youth and families.
The Education Foundation of Ottawa was provided funds to cover items such as food vouchers, clothing, and school supplies for vulnerable students and their families.
Plant Pool Recreation Association was provided funds to deliver safe and healthy summer programming for children/youth from the Dalhousie/Rochester Heights neighbourhood.
Carefor is the largest not-for-profit charitable home and community services organization in Eastern Ontario. Funds were provided to increase their virtual supports to older adults living with complex and chronic health conditions and their community of care partners
Funds were provided to allow Youth Ottawa to continue to engage youth as they pivot to develop and deliver distance learning methods with their main partner the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board and others.
Funds were provided for the Parkdale Food Centre to hire a volunteer coordinator and cover related costs that will support member organizations of the Ottawa Community Food Partnership to meet the increased need to re-engage and train volunteers.
Funds were provided to St. Joe’s Women’s Centre to adapt and deliver essential services to vulnerable women and children such as meals and groceries as well as hygiene products to seniors and those with mobility challenges.
Funds were provided to Up With Women to increase their peer and group counselling, service navigation support, professional coaching, resilience and financial wellness training for recently homeless and at-risk women.
GottaGo! advocates for safe, free, clean and environmentally responsible public toilets and water fountains that are accessible to persons of all abilities at major transit stops and key public places. Funds were provided to cover the cost of continuing work during this critical timeframe to support the re-opening of safe and clean public toilets for the homeless population, essential service workers and others.
Dandelion Dance offers life-changing programs that bring girls of all backgrounds and abilities together in the collective creation of dance works. Funds were provided to formalize an outreach strategy and new remote programming for girls who are identified by community partners as the most vulnerable and socially isolated.
Funds were provided to the Ottawa Local Immigrant Partnership to work with partners to collect and use disaggregated data to identify and track health disparities and COVID-infection risks facing immigrants and racialized populations in order to influence policy and interventions.
Funds were provided to Blair Court Community House to offer a free toiletry cupboard for vulnerable residents in this neighbourhood.
Family Services Ottawa was provided funds to support a phased re-opening of in-person services for clients experiencing domestic violence and those with mental health and addictions issues.
The Ottawa Art Gallery was provided funds to offer its Creative Space drop-in sessions for mental health and wellness through an online platform with its partner, the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre.
Funds were provided to Jewish Family Services to provide critical digital devices to vulnerable groups and staff to continue community connections and seamless support services.
Funds were provided to Vanier Community Service Centre to offer supplies and to support professional staff for a pediatric program for vulnerable families in Vanier.
Osgoode Youth Association was provided funds to train youth workers in order to develop and deliver new tools and programming with a mental health lens for rural youth in grades 5–12.
Funds were provided to the Somali Centre for Family Services to develop and deliver programs, some virtual, addressing coping skills and mental health for immigrant and newcomer children and youth, mostly from Black and Arabic communities.
The Social Planning Council of Ottawa received funds to support arts-based and peer mental health programs provided by seven different community groups serving Black youth, racialized essential workers, new immigrants, Indigenous men, and adults with mental health issues in vulnerable neighbourhoods.
Rwanda Social Services and Family Counselling was given funds to provide basic needs and supports to African immigrant families, especially children, youth and seniors.
Families Canada was given funds to create virtual tools and programming to incorporate trauma– and violence–informed approaches to family support services in Ottawa.
Funds were provided to REACH – Equality and Justice for People with Disabilities to offer legal referrals and virtual educational seminars for people with disabilities, their families, and front-line workers.
Funds were provided to the Somerset West Community Health Centre for a COVID Crisis Support Worker that will provide access to basic needs and crisis support on evenings and weekends to homeless individuals in the Somerset Ward.
MASC is an arts and culture organization that provides workshops, performances and classes in all artistic disciplines for all ages in Ottawa. Funding was given to provide an arts program with professional artists to engage at-risk teenage girls
Funds were provided to the Children’s Aid Foundation of Ottawa to provide support to improve educational outcomes and personal well-being of youth in care and their caregivers.
Funds were provided to the Aphasia Centre of Ottawa to use video conferencing to deliver communication support, rehabilitation, and mental health therapy to marginalized people who suffer from strokes or other neuro-degenerative diseases.
Funds were provided to the School of Dance to support the DragonFly Program to adapt an online service for children and youth with Down syndrome in Ottawa.
Funds were provided to Rideauwood Addictions and Family Services to enable staff to offer and evaluate counselling by phone and videoconferencing with current and new clients.
The Ottawa Local Immigrant Partnership received funds to assist their ability to enhance collaboration and coordination among organizations to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on immigrants, refugees, and racialized populations to address short– and longer–term needs.
Families Matter Co-op received funds to deliver a new virtual family support group to address issues affecting family members and caregivers of adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities
Funding was provided to Options Bytown to provide a peer support community development program that builds community capacity in social housing in Overbrook to address mental health and well-being needs.
Funds were provided to Ausome Ottawa to develop and deliver virtual physical activity and community building programming for children and youth with autism and their families.
Minwaashin Lodge was provided funds to increase staffing to meet enhanced needs at their shelter and crisis support for Indigenous women and their children.
Funds were provided to Operation Come Home for their DeliveryWorks program, an initiative that will provide vulnerable youth with food hampers, materials and supplies as well as resources and referrals to critical services.
Funds were provided to Ottawa Inner City Health to support peer-to-peer delivery of Personal Protective Equipment and other supplies to the homeless population living with complex health needs.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ottawa was provided funding for additional staffing to develop and support implementation of the virtual tools and platform needed to establish new mentoring relationships.
Funds were provided to The Good Companions to work with partners in Ottawa to provide technology to ensure that vulnerable seniors are connecting to family members and community programs.
Ottawa Therapy Dogs are currently not allowed inside hospitals, nursing homes, etc. at present so funding was provided to comfort and support front-line and essential workers by visiting with them; in person once allowed, outdoors in small groups when possible, and virtually using video conferencing.
Starlight has been helping seriously and chronically ill children and their families for over 30 years. Due to COVID-19 and children who are strongly immunocompromised having to isolate, funding was provided to create an emergency program called Play From Home Packs.
Ottawa Salus supports individuals with mental illness on their journey to well-being and independence within a community that respects individual abilities, potential, and special needs. Funds were provided to initiate modifications to their buildings to allow for proper physical distancing, PPE as well as cell phones, phone plans and technology for clients to be able to access resources safely.
Funds were provided to the Social Planning Council to work with partners to support new teachers from Ottawa to offer professional tutoring virtually for thousands of Francophone students.
Funds were provided to the Lotus Centre for Special Music Education to provide various opportunities for social engagement through music using virtual platforms for people with disabilities.
The Tetra Society matches local volunteers with disabled residents in order to design, build and install a custom assistive device that gives them great independence, with no cost for labour. It had to pivot its mandate in order to better serve disabled residents during this COVID-19 pandemic, so the Ottawa chapter was provided funding for food gift cards for those in the disabled community that are most marginalized and isolated.
Funds were provided to help the Ten Oaks Project move camp online to continue to engage and connect children and youth from 2SLGBTQ+ communities.
Funds were provided to the Orléans-Cumberland Community Resource Centre as they re-open for sanitizing/cleaning on an ongoing basis of all washrooms and surfaces being touched or used by multiple clients during the day.
Funds were provided to Confederation Court Community Organization to offer virtual English as a Second Language classes to newcomer women and educational kits for children in the neighbourhood.
Funds were provided to Immigrant Women Services Ottawa for additional Crisis Intake Counselors to assist with the increase of first-time calls as well as the complexity of assistance required for women experiencing domestic violence during the pandemic.
Funds were provided to Volunteer Ottawa so they could continue to manage overall volunteer coordination to support the charitable and not-for-profit sector in Ottawa in response to the COVID-19 emergency.
Funds were provided to the Waupoos Foundation to repair a commercial dishwasher and purchase Personal Protective Equipment for staff and volunteers before they reopen their programs to low-income families.
Funds were provided to iSisters Technology Mentoring to develop online/virtual learning programs and tools to continue mentoring disadvantaged women and children with community partners.
St. Patrick’s Home of Ottawa Foundation was provided funds for iPads to connect residents with loved ones, which is essential to the physical and mental health of both parties, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic stretches on.
Jennifer Ashleigh Children’s Charity was provided funds to ensure that seriously ill children and their families in the Ottawa area continue to have the very basic necessities of life – food and shelter – which is now being compounded by COVID-19.
Funds were provided to the Catholic Education Foundation of Ottawa for grocery cards for vulnerable families with the Ottawa Catholic School Board.
Funds were provided to Thinking in Pictures Educational Services for Personal Protective Equipment and technology for staff and children with Autism, ADHD and other exceptionalities as services start to re-open.
Funds were provided for Let’s Talk Science to create and deliver STEM education activity kits to vulnerable children and youth without access to technology from grades K – 12 in Ottawa. Funds were also used to support The Horizon Project to provide educational activity kits specifically to vulnerable children in grades 4-6 in Ottawa as well as Carleton Place, Kanata and Renfrew.
Funds were provided to Muslim Family Services of Ottawa to provide remote crisis counselling and mental health supports to newcomers and diverse seniors.
Funds were provided to Hospice Care Ottawa for Personal Protective Equipment for isolation rooms at two hospice sites.
The Overbrook Community Association was provided funds to ensure the delivery of a community newspaper that will provide COVID related information and resources to vulnerable communities.
Funds were provided to the CNIB Foundation for their Virtual Vision Mates program that allows trained volunteers to connect with and support isolated seniors and individuals.
Funds were provided to the DeafBlind Ontario Foundation for Personal Protective Equipment and related supplies for one of their residences in the Ottawa area.
The Wings of Phoenix Association helps provide brain injury rehabilitation for those who are unable to access treatment. Funding was provided to support remote crisis counselling and ongoing therapeutic services to their clients with brain injuries, their family members and primary caregivers.
Funds were provided to Rwanda Social Services and Family Counseling to support staff to check-in weekly with senior clients as well as transportation costs to pick-up and drop off medications or to take seniors to medical appointments and help with interpretation.
Funds were provided to the Somerset West Community Health Centre for additional staff to support the Black community with bi-weekly virtual forums, tailored mental health and practical supports, and meetings with Black leaders to address equitable policies and practices related to the COVID-19 emergency.
Big Brothers Big Sisters Ottawa uses mentoring programs to make a positive difference in the lives of our city’s vulnerable children and youth. Funds were provided for a part-time staff person to respond to the increased need for mentors to support children/youth mentees and their families.
Ottawa Foyers Partage provides individuals with disabilities stable and safe living accommodations and opportunities to engage in leisure, recreation, volunteer, learning and work activities consistent with their rights and unique aspirations, abilities and needs. Funds were provided to purchase more 3D printers and all materials required to make face shields for the most vulnerable frontline and support workers in Ottawa.
Meals For Hope is an initiative launched in collaboration with local restaurants in Ottawa. Funding was provided for the organization to be able to provide meals to vulnerable seniors, people living with disabilities and those with underlying medical conditions.
Shelter Movers provides moving, security, and storage services at no cost to women and children fleeing abuse. Funds were provided to meet the increased demand of providing free, safe moving and storage for women and children fleeing domestic violence in the Ottawa region.
Caldwell Family Centre provides services to low-income families – their largest program being Food Security. Funds were provided to support their meal program for low-income families.
The Distress Centre of Ottawa answers calls 24/7 from citizens reaching out for assistance. Funds were provided to support the recruitment and training of new volunteers to meet the high volume of calls to their crisis line.
City for All Women Initiative is a unique collaboration of a diversity of women working with municipalities to advance gender equity and create more inclusive cities. Funding was provided to assist with an immediate need for increasing staff capacity to undertake pandemic related activities including research, coordination, policy recommendations and media outreach.
Funds were provided to Carefor Health and Community Services to work with local restaurants through the Feeding Our Community Ottawa initiative to provide meals to vulnerable clients and front-line workers at Carefor.
The Centre for Social Enterprise Development (CSED) enables the development, launch and growth of Social Enterprises in Ottawa. CSED’s work has supported focus areas such as food related initiatives. Funds were provided to support food sector responses to increased food security challenges related to COVID-19 that will improve efficiencies now and have longer term outcomes.
Funds were provided to the Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health to provide seniors with care boxes of food items, health products and cleaning supplies as well as transportation to medical specialist appointments and COVID-19 testing centres.
Funds were provided to the Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women for staffing support to assist with their priority needs and the coordination of their members’ activities during this challenging time.
In response to the World Health Organization recommendations for the coordination and pooling of mental health resources, and establishment of inter-sectoral referral pathways to ensure optimal provision of services in emergency settings, Centretown Community Health Centre is working in partnership with community-based organizations to establish a digital heath platform to coordinate mental health and addictions services to respond to both COVID-19 and longer term needs.
Harmony House is a shelter for women and children that bridges the gap between fleeing an abusive environment and independent living in the community. Funds were provided for supplies to cover basic needs of the women and children.
Funds were provided for the South-East Ottawa Community Health Centre to purchase portable blood pressure cuffs and other medical equipment for Primary Health Care.
Funds were provided to Somerset West Community Health Centre to purchase medical equipment to serve the needs of their Primary Health Care, Lung Health, Ottawa Newcomer Health Clinic, and Harm Reduction services.
The Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime in Ottawa provides free and confidential services for crime victims by empowering them during their journey in Canada’s criminal justice system. Funding was provided to support virtual meetings and group sessions for victims of crime.
Due to COVID-19, Jewish Family Services’ smaller scope food security program was not able to support the increase in demand for food services. Funding was provided for the purchase and delivery of culturally and religiously appropriate food boxes for vulnerable populations.
Jaku Konbit supports and improves the lives of disadvantaged individuals and families of African and Caribbean descent. Funds were provided to adapt their Call Me! Lets Chat! Drop-in Program so that physical and mental well-being supports could be provided virtually to marginalized seniors from the African, Caribbean and Black community.
Funding will allow the Coalition of Community Health and Resource Centres to further adapt services to account for physical distancing by providing more supports remotely and to be better equipped for its expanding role in supporting food security throughout the city of Ottawa.
Connected Canadians help connect older adults with free technology training and support. Funding was provided to support the technology needed for seniors at Bruyère and the Perley-Rideau Veterans Health Centre to be virtually connected to their families and volunteers.
CompuCorps Mentoring provides IT volunteering, refurbished computers, and youth computer training with a focus on bridging the digital divide and digital access. Funding was provided to obtain, refurbish and deliver computers to help vulnerable populations access supports needed to meet the challenges due to the COVID-19 situation.
Hopewell is Eastern Ontario’s only non-profit that offers support programs, system navigation assistance and resources to individuals who are struggling with eating disorders. Funding was provided to help offer their support programs remotely.
Carty House is a communal residence in Ottawa that provides transitional housing for female refugee claimants and convention refugees. Funding was provided to support operations including the increased need for groceries and household supplies for their residence.
Youturn Youth Support Services provides bilingual services to high-risk youth and their families living in Ottawa and the counties of Renfrew, Prescott-Russell, Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry who are involved or at risk of becoming involved in the justice system. Funds were provided to support the purchase of grocery gift cards and cell phone plans to keep their youth clients and families connected.
Funds were provided for Parkdale Food Centre to work with their partners, including local food businesses, on the Cooking for a Cause Ottawa initiative in order to produce and deliver frozen meals, fresh bread and other food items to vulnerable populations across the city.
The Rideau Rockcliffe CRC operates multiple programs related to the food security needs of low-income and vulnerable community members. The funds were given to work with partners such as Just Food and North House Foods to start operations for the Good Food at Your Doorstep initiative in order to deliver affordable fruits and vegetables to vulnerable populations.
Operation Ramzieh, a crisis relief team supporting seniors, was formed as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Funds were provided to purchase food and deliver food kits to vulnerable populations.
Dress for Success helps empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and development tools.
Funding was provided for a new remote service, Helping Women Now, that focuses on helping marginalized women to navigate the new financial support programs as well as providing other supports and referrals to resources.
Funds were given to help cover the cost of phone and video conferencing platforms and the staff time it takes to manage the ACORN Support Network remotely due to the challenges of the COVID-19 situation. Ottawa ACORN has a deep history working with individuals with disabilities, single parent households, newcomers, low–waged earners and isolated seniors.
The Women’s Shelters Network received funds to support four shelters with additional food and grocery gift cards for their residents. Shelters for women and their children fleeing abuse are crucial in a time when individuals are being told to stay home and isolate when they don’t have a safe space to do so.
Funds were provided to purchase a new freezer to support the rise in food orders for vulnerable communities. Parkdale Food Centre builds healthier, more connected neighbours and neighbourhoods through good food, innovative community partnerships, and by challenging inequalities in order to create lasting impacts.
Increased workloads, odd hours, and reassignment of staff to locations of greatest need has put psychological and financial stress on frontline workers at Ottawa Inner City Health. Funds were provided to support the transportation and food needs of frontline staff serving vulnerable populations.
Cleaning efforts and meal services have had to be transformed to meet public health guidelines and for the safety and health of all staff and residents. Funds were provided to Cornerstone Housing for Women for additional supplies to support residents and for staff to be able to continue delivering services.
Support was given to the Parent Resource Centre to provide 55 vulnerable high-risk families who are not connected to or able to access community parenting services with gift cards to be able to purchase food, hygiene products, and cleaning supplies.
Funds were provided for EcoEquitable, which uses sewing to provide newcomer women with a renewed sense of meaning and purpose, to create a campaign that will allow marginalized women to sew headbands that will help health care workers to wear protective masks safely and comfortably.
Centre Psychosocial provides mental health, addictions and other therapeutic services to Francophone people and families in Ontario. They received a grant to fund an additional staff member to assess community needs, translate COVID-19 materials from English to French, and to find efficiencies in service delivery initiatives in Ottawa for Francophone children, youth, families, and individuals with mental health issues, addictions, and concurrent disorders.
Under the recommendation of Ottawa Public Health, many food services in community buildings have been suspended and/or modified, leading to gaps in service. Many in these communities are aged 60 and over and physical distancing requirements make access to nutritious food difficult. A grant was issued to Pinecrest-Queensway Community Health Centre for the Winthrop Court and Michele Heights Community Houses to support food delivery service modifications to reach those with complex health and mobility issues.
Community Houses are small social service organizations located directly within social housing neighbourhoods in Ottawa. The Coalition of Community Houses received emergency funding to provide additional staff support at 11 locations. They will assist to provide essential provisions to underserved communities by re-stocking empty shelves as well as delivering counselling services.
Serenity Renewal for Families, an organization that provides hope and support to individuals and families affected by addiction and related issues, received a grant to secure technology in order to deliver virtual support to those with addictions and their families. Vulnerable populations are experiencing increased levels of anxiety and isolation. These conditions contribute to an increased chance of relapse. The organization will adapt quickly to meet their clients’ needs.
CALACS francophone d’Ottawa provides services and promotes social justice and equality for survivors of sexual assault. They received funds to upgrade technology systems to enable secure confidential video conferencing and tele-counselling services for clients, some of whom are coping with mental health concerns. The crisis and related isolation increases these risks.
Volunteer Ottawa received a grant from the Ottawa Community Foundation to lead a coordinated redeployment effort. In our changing reality, more people are needed to contribute needed human resources to deliver food, make trips to the pharmacy, or offer services via video or tele-conference. These volunteer coordination programs are being done in line with all public health advisories. This initiative is funded in partnership with United Way East Ontario and the City of Ottawa.
The Food for Thought net-café provides nutritious food and cultivates community spirit. During the pandemic, cafe operations are closed and staff have redirected their efforts to provide meals for families that do not have cooking facilities and face a daily challenge in feeding their children. There are more than 2,000 residents of family shelters in Ottawa that are in such a situation. Meals are prepared in restaurant facilities by chefs giving generously of their time. Meals are served fresh out of those kitchens to shelters. The emergency grant provides support for four meals a week for four weeks for a total of 9,600 meals.
Support was given for a coalition that works with newcomer Canadians to provide continuously updated COVID-19 information in multiple languages and through various platforms accessible to multiple audiences or in online micro-communities via WhatsApp and other platforms.
A $50,000 fund was established by an anonymous donor through a donor-advised fund at the Ottawa Community Foundation to support un/underwaged freelance artists and arts workers over 55 in the Ottawa-Gatineau area who may be at economic risk due to the pandemic.