How It Works

Registered charities with exceptional ideas to deliver solutions around the needs identified in the 2018 Vital Signs report are invited to complete our online Oak Tree Project Pitch Form. You will answer questions in five categories to paint a picture of the project, identifying which Vital Signs issue(s) your efforts will impact and how you will use the grand prize.

Select each step below to learn more.

10 Steps

1. Charities Apply

Apply for Oaktree5 here.

We are looking for bold yet practical ideas that can be fully executed or significantly underway within six months. You’ll need to be prepared to move quickly! The deadline for submissions is by noon on Friday, June 1, 2018.


2. Mentors Review

A panel of subject experts or Mentors (chosen for their knowledge and passion around the issues identified in the Vital Signs Report) will review all submissions and select up to 10 semi-finalists.


3. Announced Semi-Finalists

The semi-finalists will be announced on Tuesday, June 12, 2018.


4. Pitch Day

Semi-finalists will build a 10-minute pitch of their idea, how they will use the money and the expected impact of the work. Charities will present to the same panel of subject experts, who will also take up to 15 minutes to ask clarifying questions. All pitches will be made in Guelph on Tuesday, June 26, 2018.


5. Finalists Announced

The Mentors will reflect on the presentations and answers and narrow the list to five finalists. The finalists will be announced on Tuesday, July 3, 2018.

Over the summer, with help from our friends at Ward 1 Studios, we will make and cover the costs for a video highlighting each proposal and organization. The videos will be ready for early September, and will be posted on the Oak Tree website during the public voting phase.


6. Votes & Stories

From September 15 to October 15, 2018, the public will be invited to vote on the proposal they want to see win the $25,000 prize!

As always, we’re looking for stories of the charity’s impact and ability to help make Guelph-Wellington a better place for everyone. Charities will be encouraged to share their video across social media with the hashtag #MoveTheNeedle and #OakTree2018 to generate votes and awareness. Voting will be online only and will be restricted to one vote per email.


7. Winner Announced

The winner will be announced on October 19, 2018 and a funding agreement will be signed immediately to clarify when the funds will flow to the organization. The Oak Tree team and the Mentors will be available to the organization to offer support and advice on project execution.


8. Winner Gets Working

The winner will have until late May 2019 to execute their plan and will present the results of their work and the impact they made at the Oak Tree Finale in June 2019.


9. Acorn Prizes

The giving doesn’t end with the Grand Prize! While the winning charity is focused on bringing their plan to life, everyone else can participate in the new Acorn Prize phase.


10. Grand Finale

The Oak Tree Finale will take place in June 2019 and will include a chance for all participating charities to win the Seedling Prize, the Judges’ Prize, or the People’s Choice Prize.

The Seedling Prize | $2,500

At the same time charities are submitting their Acorn prize ideas (November 1 – December 15), they will have the opportunity to fill in a separate application for the $2,500 . Ideas must present a solution to the challenges identified in the Vital Signs report and be executable in the fall of 2019. Applications for the Seedling prize will close on December 15, 2018. All Seedling Prize submissions will be rated on the quality of their submission by a panel of community judges. These judges will be a different group from the subject matter experts that evaluated the grand prize. As with past Oak Tree finale events, all Seedling Prize submissions will be decided by calculating the highest ranking based on judges’ scores, along with votes from the public received during the finale event.

Judge’s Prize and People Choice Prize | $1,000 each

There will be two other prizes given away at the Grand Finale. The first is the People’s Choice Prize which will be awarded to the charity that collects the most votes that night from finale guests.

The Judges’ Prize will also be awarded based exclusively on the Judges’ unanimous recommendation from all the Seedling Prize submissions. As with all our Oak Tree events, Finale event prizes may be higher depending on donations also received by guests that evening.