Offering a new approach to corporate social responsibility, The Oak Tree Project demonstrates how philanthropy is changing to engage communities and strengthen local nonprofits. To date, more than $50,000 has been distributed to local charities.

The Oak Tree Project was established in 2014 by The Mactaggart Family at Richardson GMP to empower Guelph/Wellington charities with funds and stories about their impact that will help them strengthen their roots and further their long-term success and growth.

Each year, charities are asked to propose an idea that, with an injection of funding, would support their core operation. After engagement with the Guelph/Wellington community that generates ‘votes’ in the form of stories, project leaders and community judges analyzed the ideas and stories from the public, narrowing the finalists down to five organizations. They are invited to make pitch presentations at the closing event, and guests are invited to vote onsite for the winning pitch.

The 2014 winner of the Oak Tree Project was Onward Willow: Better Beginnings, Better Futures. The 2015 winner of the Oak Tree Project was Community of Hearts. In 2016, The Elliott Community took home first place.