As members of the The Mactaggart Family, we are fortunate to have built a successful business in Downtown Guelph. We work with a select group of families and provide strategic investment management to help set the foundations for their future. Much like the oak tree, we help our clients grow strong, secure roots.

We want to help our community in the same way. When charities have strong roots beneath them, they are more resilient with the best infrastructure, people, tools and resources to do their work. This means they have the strength to do more good for the community – today and for generations to come.

Each year, The Oak Tree Project explores a different focus with participating charities, their supporters and the community-at-large. Themes such as the arts and volunteerism have helped stimulate conversations and engagement about the role these subjects play in building community.

Oak Tree 2017 – Making Canada stronger by building communities where everyone can belong and thrive.

This year, as Canada honours its 150th anniversary, we are exploring themes related to the Canadian experience of building a place where everyone feels they are welcome and connected to people, services and opportunities. Charities and their supporters will demonstrate how their work helps people feel a greater sense of belonging by supporting wellbeing, inclusion and connectivity in our community.

We’re looking for local charities that have the best programs and ideas to support Guelph-Wellington as a welcoming place where everyone feels able to thrive as their true selves. We will donate a minimum of $5,000 to a charity nominated by a member of our community. Additional donations will be made for runners-up and favourites in various categories.

In total, more than $30,000 will be given away. Every charity that participates fully will take home a donation.

Why Belonging?

As we celebrate Canada’s 150th we can be proud that we are a world leader in inclusion, acceptance and tolerance. And while not perfect, our country has grown and prospered thanks to a common respect and appreciation for creating communities where everyone can feel a sense of belonging, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, color, faith or economic status.  Oak Tree 2017 wants to celebrate and support belonging so we can make our community an even more welcoming place for everyone.

In its report Belonging: Exploring Connection to Community, Community Foundations of Canada defines belonging as “being part of a collective ‘we’. It’s about how much we believe we ‘fit’ in a place or group, but it’s also about how much that place or group welcomes and includes us…. Belonging is not a feeling, it’s a powerful catalyst for healthier communities and a more cohesive, inclusive Canada.”

We encourage you to visit the link above to review this extensive report and learn more about Canadians’ attitudes and efforts towards building healthy, welcoming communities.

Nominate!

It’s easy to nominate your favourite charity – or charities! Simply tell us your name, how to reach you, and provide a brief summary of why the charity deserves the donation because of their work to support inclusiveness and a feeling of belonging for everyone to thrive as their true selves.

Put some thought into it – your words could be the deciding factor.

Charities will first be short-listed based on the number of nominations they receive, and then evaluated on the quality of their nominations. Spread the word! Nominate any charity once, and then talk it up: encourage people to visit this website often, follow us on Twitter, and tell others to nominate. You’ll increase the organization’s chances of being selected.

When the nomination period closes, a recipient will be selected based on a combination of the number of nominations received and our judging panel’s review of the stories submitted. More details on our selection process can be found here.