Re-Imagining Oakville’s Philanthropic Sector

This year we are taking a different approach to our Vital Signs report. 2016 marks the first year of The Foundation’s new three-year Strategic Plan (2016-2018) entitled “Building More Effective Philanthropy.” The plan puts the 2015 Vital Signs report front and centre of the Foundation’s operations, serving to help us align philanthropic funders, as well as service delivery agencies, to reduce gaps, minimize duplication and get more support into the hands of the people that need assistance – in essence build a more effective philanthropy system.

Our strategy recognizes that a necessary precursor to transforming the lives of our clients, both we the funders, and the agencies, must first transform ourselves.


The current philanthropic system suffers from overlap and duplication, and at the same time, gaps in many areas. It needs to be a system focused on the often multi-faceted needs of the client, not on the supply of services provided by the charities.

At the same time funders indirectly contribute to this overlap and duplication by focusing their funding on a charity not on a solution. So well-intentioned fundraising “for a charity” becomes the objective without the related comprehension of the impact on the overall philanthropic system.

Is our approach Ambitious? YES! Necessary? YES! And INSPIRING? We hope so!

This new Vital Initiative called “Creating Vital Solutions” is our first step in this journey. Through our partnership with Sheridan College and their creativity expertise, we will be bringing together all of the “custodians” of a Vital Sign priority (pillar) to create vital solutions.


The four Vital Signs priorities identified in our 2015 report are 1) The Equity Gap; 2) Affordable Housing; 3) Diversity & Inclusion; and 4) Mental Health. The “Custodians” include charities, not-for-profits, service organizations, government, business, education sector, labour, and funders who we are bringing together to build collaborative solutions under these pillars.

We are very grateful to all of our sponsors, notably FirstOntario Credit Union who has stepped into the lead sponsor position. This is a process that will unfold over a number of years.

Sign-up for our updates as we will be sharing regular reports on our collective progress.