Oak Tree 2

The Oak Tree Project was launched in 2014 to demonstrate how philanthropy is changing by engaging communities and strengthening local non-profits.

Strengthening social and economic health of the community through the arts

Studies have shown that creative expression can have a positive impact on the development of local communities and social networks, so we wanted to help foster those roots. For Oak Tree Project 2, we focused on the arts-based charitable initiatives.

The Mactaggart family donated $5,000 to an arts-focused charitable initiative nominated by a member of our community.


Similar to the first iteration, there were three distinct rounds of voting to reach the final winning recipient for Oak Tree Project 2.

In the first round, members of the community submitted stories supporting their favourite charity registered on the Oak Tree Website. These stories illustrated how the charity builds community through the arts. Each of these stories counted as a vote in the first round. The five charities that received the most stories moved on to the second round.

For the second round, each of the five finalists summarized their idea for the judges by answering specific questions. The answers to the questions helped the judges evaluate both the impact of the idea and its potential for success – how the funds improve the organization’s capacity to meet their goals in the community, and how the funds benefit the cultural lives of the citizens within Guelph and Wellington County. Judges considered the quality, originality, and creativity of the idea.

The third round happened at the finale to celebrate all the participants – all the charities involved received support from the community for their efforts and ideas, while the five finalists made a live pitch to the crowd and the crowd voted on the winner.

The winner was determined by adding up the scores from all three rounds. There were 18 participating charities in the three-month long competition.


The winning charity for Oak Tree 2, was Community of Hearts Lifelong Learning Centre.

Not only was Community of Hearts the grand prize winner, but this charity also netted another $1,000 as the winner of the special Judge’s prize. This organization provides a social network and skills training for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Their big idea? A 10-week program to create large community murals exploring the theme of overcoming barriers. Participants worked in teams with professional local artists, and members of the wider community participated as well.

The four other finalists:

Each of the 18 participating charities left with a donation. More than $33,500 was donated in cash, with over 200 guests at the live finale and over 1,200 online impact stories received.

Finale Photos