Last update May 21, 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.

You responded.

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

The following list does not include grants made on the recommendation of donors from their funds with us.

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.

Britannia Woods Community House is working in partnership with the Somerset West Community Health Centre and the Community Development Framework to support mental health and resource navigation services for racialized, black, and new immigrant communities.

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.

Funds were provided to the Assunnah Muslims Association to support the purchase and delivery of food kits to vulnerable communities, including seniors and new immigrants.

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.

Funding was provided for the Council on Aging to research seniors living in their own homes in the Ottawa area to learn about their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic to be able to inform independent living during a public health crisis.

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.

Abbeyfield House Ottawa provides more affordable family-style accommodations for seniors. Funds were provided to support costs associated with additional staff expenses, food delivery and cleaning of the facility to accommodate the needs of at-risk senior residents.

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, lowwaged 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. 

The Institute for Advancements in Mental Health received funds to provide virtual mental health support to clients with complex illnesses and their caregivers, and to work with other professionals based in Ottawa. 

Matthew House Ottawa, which provides services and furniture for refugees, was given funds to maintain the operations of their Furniture Bank program for refugee families. 

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.