Volunteering in the community is one of the most personally rewarding activities for any citizen. Volunteers, working with charitable and not-for-profit organizations across Ontario, are a cornerstone of community life. Volunteering as a member of an Ontario Trillium Foundation Grant Review Team (GRT) is a great way to take your experience, knowledge and commitment to the next level.
The Ontario Trillium Foundation is an agency of the Government of Ontario. OTF has four grant programs; Community, Province-wide, Future Funds and Community Capital Fund. The Community Program relies on the involvement of more than 300 local volunteers who work together in 16 regional GRTs, reviewing grant applications and recommending funding.
The mission of the Ontario Trillium Foundation is to build healthy and vibrant communities throughout Ontario by strengthening the capacity of the voluntary sector, through investments in community-based initiatives.
Volunteers Make It Happen
Grant Review Team members are volunteers who are appointed by the Government of Ontario for a term of one, two or three years and may serve for a maximum of six years.
The Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport appoints a Chair for each GRT. Working closely with knowledgeable and helpful Foundation staff, each team assesses and recommends the allocation of community grants in its area. The teams work under the direction of the Foundation's Board of Directors.
General Responsibilities of Grant Review Teams
The number of members appointed varies by region, and is generally between 18 and 24 members for each of OTF's 16 grant review geographic areas.
The major expectations of GRT members are:
Reviewing, together with Foundation staff, local requests for grants, which are compatible with local priorities and within the GRT's budget allocation. Recommended grants must also be compatible with the Foundation's mission, program directions and eligibility criteria.
Participating in the Foundation's communication activities to help ensure broad public knowledge of OTF activities and adherence to OTF's media relations policy.
Identifying funding priorities that meet local needs and opportunities based on OTF granting priorities.
Participating in meetings and activities: Given the nature of the work, team members typically devote 10 - 20 hours per month on average to activities ranging from the reading of documents, to applicant site visits, to attending grantee recognition events and team meetings. GRTs will generally meet three to six times per year for half-day or full-day meetings. Meetings may be held via teleconference calls, though most tend to be held in person. Some travel is required.
The vast majority of Grant Review Team volunteers report they gain as much, if not more, from the experience than they give. Some of the benefits are:
Increased knowledge of the needs and services in communities
Satisfaction that comes from working with a dedicated and supportive team of volunteers and staff
Opportunities to represent OTF at public events
Participation in Foundation professional development opportunities
Exposure to current research and information on a community and province-wide basis
Development of personal and professional networks that can last a lifetime
Grant Review Team Member Attributes
Committed volunteers find great satisfaction in fulfilling their roles with the Foundation. Here are some attributes that successful members typically possess:
Team focus and commitment to understanding and working within established granting policies
Broad knowledge of their community and region and their needs
Generosity of spirit and support for diversity
Knowledge regarding at least one of the four sectors served by OTF
Commitment to the mission, vision and values of OTF
Comfort working with technology including websites, e-mail and teleconferencing
Respect for confidentiality of applicant information
Ability and willingness to invest the time and energy to attend meetings, site visits and events
All volunteers must sign and adhere to the Foundation's Code of Conduct and Ethics Guidelines and Conflict of Interest Guidelines.
Under the Public Service of Ontario Act (PSOA), all government appointees including OTF volunteers are required to swear or affirm an Oath of Office and Oath of Allegiance, following their appointment to OTF. Appointees cannot undertake their duties without taking these Oaths.
Because OTF is an agency of the Government of Ontario, you must apply directly to the Public Appointments Secretariat (PAS) of the Government of Ontario to become an OTF Grant Review Team volunteer.
Visit the Public Appointments Secretariat and click on vacancies. . Look for the phrase "Grant Review Team" followed by your geographic area (ex. 'Grant Review Team, Niagara, Ontario Trillium Foundation').