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OTF Grow Grant Summary

Thank You OTF!

With the pandemic impacting so many communities around the world, we would like to take this opportunity to reflect on a positive end to our OTF Grow Grant.

In 2017, Over 55 Skills At Work was awarded an Ontario Trillium Foundation Grow Grant. The $397,000 was invested into our organization to help it grow and diversify its operations and membership, with a special focus on recruiting more female and ethnocultural Associates.

A core component of this project also reflected on offering increased training opportunities to our Members. All new members now receive access to intake training, and in addition, were able to offer the following workshops for the first time in our 30+ year history:

  • Small Business Workshops, including marketing, digital marketing and small business finance
  • Technology training – E-Mail, smartphones and more
  • First-Aid
  • Working At Heights
  • WSIB
  • Customer Service & Conflict Resolution

While the COVID-19 pandemic did impact our efforts, we were able to enjoy significant growth and impact with the valuable support of the Ontario Trillium Foundation. This 3 year period allow us not only to grow our organization, but it also allowed us to expand outside of London, with Guelph and Chatham-Kent on our roadmap for 2020. It also led to several community partnerships, including our management of Neighbourhood Watch London.

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Unfortunately, this pandemic also forced us to cancel our planned OTF recognition event, which was to be attended by OTF Staff, local MPs/MPPs, local media, and our team. We have created a short video highlighting some of our OTF achievements, and hope that the community recognizes OTF for its support of our, and many other organizations.

This global pandemic has caused our economies to contract and change, with effects that will be felt for years. While over the short-term this has impacted our operations, we are confident that we can create long-term entrepreneurship, training and employment opportunities for individuals age 55+ in our communities.

While this OTF grant has ended, we will continue to work hard to create opportunities for mature entrepreneurs, and to serve seniors in our community.

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Reflecting on a Year of Growth

Looking Ahead to Year 3 of Our OTF Grow Grant

In April of 2017, we were thrilled to announce that the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) had chosen to support Over 55 through a Grow Grant.  The $397,000 awarded to our organisation has already had a significant impact in growing our membership base, as well as social enterprise revenues.  2018 Represented a record growth in the number of our Associate Members – individuals age 55+, who work as entrepreneurs delivering important services to the community.  With the support of OTF, we hope to do something that we have never done before: to achieve over 100 active senior entrepreneurs on our membership roster.

Over 55 Skills At Work - Man cutting floor tile

As we begin to enter the final year of our OTF Grow grant, we are also excited to expand to other communities, with our first pilot being in Guelph.

Over 55 Skills At Work - Female Senior Entrepreneur

In closing, we would like to thank OTF, our community partners, staff, volunteers, and our Associate Members, as we look forward to the next phase of growth for Over 55 Skills At Work.

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