Programming provided to over 6,000 participants thanks to two OTF Grants

On Friday, MPP Rick Byers met with the staff at Elephant Thoughts Educational Outreach to hear directly from them about the impact that two grants, totalling $528,400, from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) have had over the last three years. These grants enabled the organization to continue engaging and carrying forward with cultural heritage learning opportunities for Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth; and the grants supported capacity building initiatives for the organization following the Covid-19 pandemic.

(L-R) Lori Kewaquom , Rick Byers MPP Bruce Grey Owen Sound, Jeremy Rhodes, James Kewaquom

“It was great to meet with the Elephant Thoughts team and see firsthand the excellent programs that they are running for the students. We are very fortunate to have this great organization in our Grey Bruce Community.” said MPP Rick Byers, Bruce Grey Owen Sound.

In March 2020, the organization received a three-year, $399,800 Grow grant to help with its cultural heritage programming by assisting with costs involved with staffing, program costs, as well as capital purchases and upgrades, and some administrative costs too.  And then last spring, Elephant Thoughts received the news that it had received a $128,600 Resilient Communities Fund grant. This grant program was designed by OTF to help non-profit groups rebuild and recover from the impacts of the pandemic. The funds from this grant were used to develop a new corporate partnership plan, renovate live-in staff facilities to aid in retention, and increase community development capacity.

“The impact of these Ontario Trillium Foundation grants cannot be overstated,” said Jeremy Rhodes, Executive Director of Elephant Thoughts Educational Outreach.  “Renovations to our existing outbuildings, to ensure all-season use, will allow us to hire staff from a wider catchment area. We have been able to establish relationships with new community partners, charitable organizations, and user groups; and have reached over 6,000 participants with our programs designed to bring culture to life through land-based teachings, building, traditional cuisine and history”.

Elephant Thoughts is committed to supporting diverse communities and under-represented populations at our Riverstone Campus, by providing a safe environment for youth that celebrates diversity and create accessible opportunities for skill building, leadership development, connection to nature and healthy lifestyles.

The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF), an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada’s leading granting foundations celebrates 40 years of grant-making in Ontario and making a lasting impact in communities. Last year, OTF invested over $110M into 1,022 community projects and partnerships, which included funding for the Government of Ontario’s Community Building Fund. Visit to learn more.