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Pandemic reflections: Change opens new doors

Usually, nonprofit organizations find themselves reflecting on the past year — typically, 12 months — as part of their annual report or in preparation for their AGM. However, as time has felt fluid and disconnected since the pandemic started, I’m finding myself looking back over the last 16 months and wondering, “Did all that happen in the last year? How did time simultaneously pass so quickly and so slowly?”

ONN will share our annual report and audit in September. However, it is timely to share updates on our staff team and the new work we find ourselves undertaking. We have key opportunities to make significant progress on systemic issues facing nonprofits and charities in Ontario.

In some ways, the past 16 months were like any other on the HR front of a small organization — staff changes and movement, including parenthood, new jobs, and contracts and roles ending. We said a warm goodbye to Teshini, Jay, Randall, and see-you-in-a-year to Jacquelin and Melanie — all who have made a tremendous impact on ONN and our network during their time with us. With a small team, five staff changes over six months were quite something to manage — remotely and at a time when ONN’s work increased in complexity and volume!

Collage of photos that shows staff of Ontario Nonprofit Network

But, with change, doors open. We are delighted to work with new colleagues who bring fresh perspectives and experiences that will continue to improve our work. ONN is grateful to our funders and supporters who enabled us to focus on new priorities and start new projects, as well as build our capacity to continue to support the sector.

We filled existing roles by welcoming Brooke, joining us as Operations Lead to keep us organized, and Candice as Policy Analyst to keep our policy priorities on track. Kavita joined us to manage our communications over the next year to keep those comms channels humming.

We added a new permanent role with Rishit joining us as Communications Coordinator. We so needed added capacity on our communications team to keep up!

With special thanks to the Atkinson Foundation for their continued support of our decent work movement-building, we welcomed Yamikani to lead our next phase of decent work engagement, with a focus on racial justice and Truth and Reconciliation. This is a new stream of work that has never been more important to all of us – personally, our sector, and our communities.

It is also with great excitement that we enter into a one-year pilot project with our long-standing partner, Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO), to share a lawyer! ONN and CLEO have an almost ten-year history of working together to share public legal education for nonprofits and advocate for law reform. Benjamin joins us as Policy Advisor/Lawyer — splitting his time between ONN and CLEO. He will undertake a legal needs assessment of the nonprofit sector and public legal education for CLEO (including public legal education about the Ontario Not-for-Profit Corporations Act) and provide policy advice and analysis to ONN during his time with us. We will be reflecting on our experience throughout with an eye towards models for medium-sized nonprofits to increase their legal capacity.

We are also fortunate to have Danaka Robertson join us under the Canada Summer Jobs Program for eight weeks to support the Resource Centre and research projects.

And we are looking for two more rockstars! We have new job postings for a Data Strategy Manager, a two-year contract supported by the Ontario Trillium Foundation, and a new ongoing role of Resource Development Lead to support our partners and sponsors.

Our new staff join our stalwarts – Liz, Sarah, Pamela, John, Lynn, and Erin. A special note of thanks to them for being trusted colleagues over the years.

The small team of three that I joined back in 2012 has incrementally grown to 14. I can already tell you that it is an amazing group of diverse colleagues who are deeply committed to the nonprofit sector, who are creative and innovative and eager to support you – our network – as we transition from the pandemic and lead a future that is nonprofit-driven!

Learn more about the ONN team here and feel free to reach out to us.

Thanks to our network partners, members, and supporters for your support, especially over the last year. We all look forward to serving and working alongside you in the years to come.


Cathy Taylor

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