Posted Oct 19th, 2021 in News & Updates


In 2020, Start Me Up Niagara received a $75,000 grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation to deliver a project to conduct a feasibility study towards creating a comprehensive volunteer program. With a goal of building inclusive and engaged communities, this project will allow citizens to have a say in shaping services that matter to them and has an impact on the lives of 500 people in the community. The project comes to completion at the end of October 2021 and will give people in the community improved access to programs.

 “This investment by the Ontario Trillium Foundation will further enable Start Me Up Niagara to assist some of the most vulnerable in our community by ensuring residents that need these services have a positive say in those services.” stated Jennie Stevens, MPP for St. Catharines.

“There are many in the community who will benefit from this, and it ensures that the Volunteers who give of their time and effort are appreciated and welcomed into an organized Volunteer Program that is prepared for their gifts of service. The impact of this Ontario Trillium Foundation grant cannot be underestimated”, said Laura Dumas, Executive Director of SMUN.
OTF support ensured that SMUN gleans the following from this project:

·       The effectiveness of an inclusive Volunteer Program that is coordinated vs. an ad hoc approach.

·       A better-organized approach working with student placements and volunteers including the ability to provide recognition, volunteer  tracking of activities and contributions and continuing activities.

·       A research of what participant members want and need from a comprehensive volunteer program at SMUN.

·       An examination of what the current expectations of volunteers are.

·       The cost to implement an anti-oppressive volunteer program.

Start Me Up Niagara is committed to adapting the Volunteer Program to be inclusive and implement an anti-oppressive framework that will make an impact on the community at large. If you wish to enquire about volunteering with Start Me Up Niagara, please visit the website at:


Start Me Up Niagara offers services and programs to individuals who face significant life challenges, including those experiencing poverty, chronic and intermittent homelessness, unemployment, disabilities, addictions, and mental health issues. Their goal is to provide participants and those in their community with opportunities to stabilize, participate and grow.

The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) is an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada’s leading granting foundations. Last year, nearly $112M was invested into 1,384 community projects and partnerships to build healthy and vibrant communities and strengthen the impact of Ontario’s non-profit sector. In 2020/21, OTF supported Ontario’s economic recovery by helping non-profit organizations rebuild and recover from the impacts of COVID-19.  Visit otf.ca to learn more.

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