Questions about Volunteering
How do I apply?
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').
Determine which OTF catchment area you live in.
Apply directly to the PAS on-line or by mail. And if you have any questions, please contact us. We will be happy to speak with you.
(Do NOT request "The Ontario Trillium Foundation". This is reserved for people who wish to become a member of the Foundation's Board.)
Hard copies of applications can be sent to the Public Appointments Secretariat at the following address:
Public Appointments Secretariat
Room 2440, Whitney Block
99 Wellesley St. West
Toronto, Ontario M7A 1W4
How do I get appointed?
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 a GRT volunteer.
The PAS maintains a pool of candidates for each Grant Review Team. As vacancies arise, qualified candidates who best meet the identified needs of a particular Grant Review Team are considered for appointment.
For example, there may be a need for someone
- With experience in a specific sector (Arts and Culture, Sports and Recreation, the Environment, Human or Social Services)
- With first-hand knowledge and understanding of issues in Francophone, Aboriginal or newcomer communities
- Who lives in a specific part of the geographic area served
- Who has expertise in areas of social enterprise and social innovation
Needs will vary from region to region and will inform which candidates are approached for further consideration. The government decides who to appoint.
What kind of commitment is required?
Grant review team (GRT) members are appointed by the Government of Ontario for a term of one to three years,and may be renewed for a maximum of 6 years of continuous volunteer service.
- Volunteers typically devote on average 15 to 40 hours over a four-month granting cycle(i.e. three times a year) on a range of activities including the review of grant applications.
- As well, Grant Review Team Members meet for half-day or full-day GRT meetings three to six times a year to consider and make decisions on grant applications as a team.
- GRT meetings are usually held during weekdays, at times determined by the GRT. Some meetings may be held via teleconference.
- Volunteers are also encouraged to attend OTF's professional development conference held in Toronto every two years, typically on a Friday and Saturday in the fall.
- Some travel is required. Eligible travel expenses are reimbursed.
- OTF is happy to provide a letter to your employer outlining your volunteer duties and time considerations, should you require it.
Can I volunteer with OTF to meet the OPSB requirement of 40 hours of community service?
No. The nature of the work and time commitments are not suitable for high school students.
Why volunteer with OTF?
New connections - Join a network of smart, dynamic connected people who, like you, care about the community they live in.
- Meaningful experience, real impact - Be part of Canada's largest grant-making organization. OTF volunteers analyze and recommend grants to local organizations worth over $100 million - each and every year. You'll help decide which initiatives and organizations get this money. Your input will make local change happen.
- Get plugged in - OTF grants support some really innovative work. Get connected to what's going on in your region or city.
What will I do as an OTF volunteer?
Our volunteers don't provide a direct service or raise money. Working with professional staff, they decide where to spend millions of dollars each year to achieve the greatest impact. (It's serious business: OTF gives out more than $100 million in grants to Ontario organizations small and large every year.)
You'll be on one of 16 regional teams that make granting recommendations worth between $1.7 and $20 million each year. Your input will make a difference and help make change happen in Ontario.
You'll also be plugged in to what groups in your community are doing. You'll see first-hand the tremendous impact they are having on the environment, the arts, sports and recreation, and the health and well-being of residents in your region.
As a Grant Review Team Member, you will:
- Analyze and assess local requests for grants in collaboration with OTF staff, determining their compatibility with local needs and opportunities and their fit with the Foundation's mission, program direction and eligibility criteria.
- Participate in site visits to gain a better understanding of grant applicants' operations, needs and goals.
- Act as an OTF representative at public media events, to increase public awareness of OTF and of the important work done by OTF grant recipients. You will deliver brief public remarks at such events (with OTF support).
- Provide input into OTF policy and program development.
- Participate in a range of professional development opportunities available only to OTF volunteers.
- Learn a great deal about your community and region and contribute your knowledge and perspectives to the decision-making process.
What's in it for me?
Satisfaction. Knowledge. Contacts.
- Gain valuable experience - Make decisions in a team setting with other local community leaders.
- Make new connections - Enter a network of dynamic, connected people who, like you, care about their community.
- Make a difference - Grant Review Teams make grant recommendations worth millions of dollars each year, funds that are going into your region and benefiting your community.
- Get plugged in - Our grants support some really innovative work. You'll be surprised at what's going on in your home community.
Will I be paid?
No, you will not be paid, although eligible travel expenses will be covered.
What attributes or skills do I need?
OTF volunteers are engaged, community-minded people with an understanding of at least one of the four sectors we support (environment, arts and culture, sports and recreation and human and social services) acquired either through community involvement or professional experience.
You will also:
- Work well as part of a team
- Exhibit sound judgment
- Want to share your generosity of spirit
- Support diversity
- Share knowledge regarding at least one of the sectors served by OTF
- Commit to the mission, vision and values of OTF
- Demonstrate proficiency working with technology including websites, e-mail and teleconferencing
- Invest time and energy to attend meetings, site visits and events
- Honour the confidentiality of our applicants' information
Who would I be working with?
Grant Review Teams are made up of 18 to 24 volunteers chosen from your region or home community. Team members come from all walks of life. Typically, they are mid-to-late career or retired professionals, community leaders, grassroots volunteers or social entrepreneurs. All believe in the power of community engagement, and all are passionate about helping people transform the quality of life in their communities.
The Foundation is also actively encouraging people of diverse backgrounds to apply to become OTF volunteers. Why?
- To add greater diversity and a broader range of perspectives to OTF's review and decision-making processes.
- To better represent the needs and aspirations of all Ontarians, of all abilities, young and old, urban, rural and remote, LGBTT or straight, and of the broad range of cultures, races and ethnicities that make up our province.
Your knowledge, energy and experience will help ensure that OTF grants have the greatest impact possible in your community.
What's in the fine print? What else do I need to know?
All volunteers must indicate their commitment to adhere to the Foundation's policies on:
- Code of Conduct and Ethics
- Conflict of Interest
- Workplace Safety and Respect
Under the Public Service of Ontario Act, OTF appointees are required to take an Oath of Office and an Oath of Allegiance before undertaking their duties.
What happens to my application after I submit it?
When you submit your application online, you will receive an automatic electronic acknowledgement from the Public Appointments Secretariat that it has been received. Normally, you wouldn't hear further from the PAS.
If you let the Foundation know that you have applied to the PAS (by contacting its Human Resources and Volunteer Relations staff) we will be pleased to track the progress of your application and respond to any questions that you may have.
What will be asked of me if I am being actively considered for an appointment?
Should your qualifications and skills match the needs of the GRT in your region and you be actively considered for an appointment, you will be contacted by a representative of the office of the Minister of Tourism and Culture.
At that time, you will be asked to:
- Indicate your willingness to undertake a security check
- Confirm that you are not in a conflict of interest in regards to the Foundation and
- Provide a visual identity check, where you show two pieces of photo ID to an authorized official.
These steps are required of all nominees to public office for all of the government's agencies, boards and commissions. They are undertaken to ensure high standards of professionalism and accountability and the protection of vulnerable persons receiving services and benefits from government bodies.
I applied to the PAS months ago, but have heard nothing since. What's up?
Straight up? The process likely will take longer than you expect. But the government is looking for quality candidates over the short, medium and long term, and we're willing to wait if you are.
It really isn't unusual for the appointment process to take a few months because:
- Vacancies arise at different times throughout the year and are often tied to a specific county or district of the region
- The skills and experience needed at any one time will vary from region to region
- Demographic balance is taken into account to ensure a broad representation of volunteers reflecting the communities served.
Since the appointment process lies outside of OTF's purview, we're patient. We hope you will be too. We want your expertise and your point of view on our Grant Review Teams.
Let the Foundation know that you have applied to the PAS, by contacting its Human Resources and Volunteer Relations staff. We will be pleased to track the progress of your application and respond to any questions that you may have.
What does OTF do?
- The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) helps build healthy, vibrant communities.
- We give grants to charitable and not-for-profit organizations working across four sectors - the environment, arts and culture, sports and recreation and human and social services.
- As Canada's largest grantmaker, we use our $120 million budget to support more than 1,500 community-based initiatives each year.
- We rely on more than 300 local volunteers, working in 16 teams, to use their community and professional expertise to review and recommend organizations and projects for funding.
- We are an arms-length agency of the Ontario government.
- Inclusiveness and innovation are part of our values.