This June we’re inviting new people to ONFE’s Neighbourhood of monthly donors, and taking time to appreciate our long-standing monthly donors for their commitment to helping children and youth in Ottawa.
As a part of this initiative, I had the great pleasure of interviewing Candace Enman, President of WelchGroup Consulting, to find out more about why she supports ONFE on a monthly basis.
How did you first learn about the Ottawa Network for Education?
My company provided Contract CFO services to ONFE when it split from the Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation to become its own not-for-profit organization. It was through this engagement that I came to know more about what ONFE does, and what really spoke to me about ONFE was that it was all about the kids. At the time when I got involved, I had two young boys, with one about to start school. I knew ONFE had a mission to support K-12 students, and I was particularly touched by their School Breakfast Program. It was unfathomable to me that kids would arrive at school without breakfast, as I couldn’t imagine my children in that situation. I joined ONFE’s sponsorship committee as a volunteer to help with this worthwhile cause.
Can you tell me a bit about why you decided to give to ONFE’s Core programming, even though it was the School Breakfast Program mission that touched you the most?
I have worked with many not-for-profit organizations over the years, and as a finance professional I get to see how they operate. Based on that experience, I decided to give to ONFE’s Core programming instead of to one specific program. While the School Breakfast Program touches my heart, I have seen first-hand how it takes a whole organization to create and run successful programs. If private enterprise had as many restrictions on spending as not-for-profits, I think they would fail!
Can you speak more about how your finance experience affected your decision to give to Core programming?
As a donor, I want all my money to go to support the cause. But if there are no funds to support the staff and the organization, then eventually there’ll be no engine to support the cause. When I entrust my funds to an organization, I trust that they are going to use the funds in the best way that they can – and I trust that this is what ONFE does. They come together as an organization, with their board of directors, to decide how to best support the work of the organization, and I respect their leadership to make that call.
What would you share with someone who is learning about ONFE for the first time?
Even for those that do know about ONFE or one of its programs, not all know about just how many wonderful programs ONFE runs. Some have a higher profile, but they all have tremendous value. Years ago I had the opportunity to volunteer with the JA Company program, helping high school students create businesses and bring products to market, which is an amazing opportunity for youth. Just this year, my oldest son experienced the JA Ottawa program in his class, presented by ONFE. Soon after, one of his classmates came over to our house and announced that he plans to be an entrepreneur when he grows up, and they got into a lively debate about entrepreneurship. That’s amazing! Oftentimes, parents aren’t even aware that this program exists. By giving to ONFE, we allow programs like JA to grow, and we help our schools enhance the technological and financial literacy of our children.
Even to this day I feel like I’m still uncovering what ONFE is doing for the community, from assistive technology, reading programs, and substance abuse support. So you can see that with its many programs, ONFE is a catalyst for change as it works with all 4 school boards and with community partners supporting our youth.
It’s important to me that no child is left behind, whether we’re talking about technology, learning support, or nutrition. I give monthly to the Ottawa Network for Education to make sure that doesn’t happen here in Ottawa.
Interested in joining ONFE’s Neighbourhood of monthly donors? Click here!
WelchGroup Consulting is a corporate finance and business advisory firm, specializing in selling and buying businesses, management buyouts, family successions, and more.
In addition, they help to build value in businesses, and they offer a Contract CFO & Controllership service that delivers top-notch financial guidance for day-to-day operations. Candace Enman is the President of WelchGroup Consulting. She has been a long-time champion of ONFE, and currently serves on our Spark Soirée Committee.