Ottawa Network for Education

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Editor's Note

This profile originally appeared in the 2020-21 Giving Guide. Read the full magazine here.

The Ottawa Network for Education (ONFE) is a charitable organization that collaborates with community partners to bring innovative and essential programs into K-12 schools, enriching public education in Ottawa. ONFE partners with all four school boards and works side-by-side with educators to meet the complex needs of our children and youth in both English and French, addressing critical issues in our schools, removing barriers to learning and supporting student well-being. No other community organization in Ottawa has the same reach and ability to deliver much-needed programs directly to schools. In fact, no other organization in Canada provides the same variety of programs to serve K-12 students in their community.

Our volunteers help today’s students become tomorrow’s leaders.

At a glance

Year founded: 1985

Geographic region of focus: Ottawa

Total revenue for last fiscal year: $4,095,418

Top funding sources:

  • Government funding: 51%
  • Foundations and other charities: 16%
  • Corporate donations: 6%
  • Individual donations: 4%
  • Other (educational institutions): 23%

How you can help


Every year, we need to raise $1 million from the local community in order to run our essential programs for K-12 students. By donating to ONFE, you are helping us reach 81 per cent of Ottawa schools, where each year we provide 2.5 million nutritious meals, reach 52,000 students with help in the classroom and equip more than 7,000 youth with skills and knowledge for their future careers.

This year, all of our programs have pivoted to serve K-12 students through times of school closures, altered back-to-school plans and at-home learning. From March to August, we sent out 710,436 meals to K-12 students across the city of Ottawa through our school breakfast replacement kits. Our school breakfast program has since adapted to allow for physical distancing and serves individually wrapped servings to decrease food handling. This approach, while safe and necessary, is three times more costly than our regular operations. We are calling on the community and funders for support in realizing this adapted school breakfast program so that every K-12 student can start the day ready to learn and on equal footing with their peers. 

Other program adaptations include transitioning 1,500 volunteer placements to virtual through volunteers in education, offering virtual financial literacy programs for grades six to 12 through JA Ottawa and offering assistive technologies resources for parents, teachers and students on our website to help students with learning. Every single one of our programs is being rebuilt for this new reality so that we can continue to fuel kids and ignite learning – just as we’ve done for the last 35 years.


Our volunteers provide vital support to students to help meet their complex needs. This year, one-on-one volunteering opportunities are available through video conferencing so that students continue to be supported in this time of pandemic. 

Volunteers tell us that helping a student is one of the most fulfilling things they’ve done. And year after year, teachers tell us that caring volunteers make an immense difference to children in need of extra support.

Events and fundraising

Join us in early March 2021 to virtually celebrate the 30th anniversary of the School Breakfast Program. Watch for more details!. This fun event will engage you and your company in an evening of entertainment and networking with other community-minded individuals and business professionals, as well as executives from Ottawa’s four school boards. You will be recognized as a company that invests in every child in Ottawa starting the school day ready to learn on equal footing with their peers. Join us as we support K-12 students during this challenging year.

Board members and executives

Heather and Paul
President and CEO Heather Norris (left); Chair of the board Paul Gardner

Julie Beauchamp
Dean, School of Business at Algonquin College

Mike Belliveau
Regional vice-president for Eastern Ontario, Royal Bank of Canada

Margo Crawford
President and CEO, Business Sherpa Group

Tom D’Amico
Director of education, Ottawa Catholic School Board

Amanda Goth
University secretary, Carleton University

Louise Malhotra
Co-founder and director, Malhotra Foundation

Mita Myers
Senior assurance manager, EY

Ibrahim Musa
Executive director, Cuts for Kids

Neil Schwartz
Co-owner and general counsel, Escape Manor

Sylvie Tremblay
Director of education, Council of Eastern Ontario Public Schools

Camille Williams-Taylor
Director of education, Ottawa-Carleton District School Board

Grace Xin
Founder, Mobile China Desk

Get in touch

205-900 Morrison Dr.
Ottawa, Ont.
K2H 8K7 

Twitter: @ONFE_ROPE
Facebook: /onfe.rope
LinkedIn: /ottawa-network-for-education
Instagram: @onfe_rope