Building a Solid Foundation


When, in 1997, Premier Mike Harris responded to an appeal from Rick Hansen and Provincial Neurotrauma Advisory Committees to increase financial support for neurotrauma projects in Ontario with a commitment of up to $25-million over five years, the stage was set for the creation of a non-governmental funding organization to lead the neurotrauma granting program in Ontario — the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation (ONF).

During its first year of operations in 1998-99, the ONF committed more than $4.6-million over three years to 66 Ontario neurotrauma injury prevention, rehabilitation and biomedical research grants. Funding was provided to both spinal cord injury (SCI) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) projects.

The ONF has also worked to lay the foundation for a solid and accountable organizational structure. The inaugural Board of Directors – all volunteers, including persons living with spinal cord injury, and traumatic brain injury, representatives from neurotrauma injury prevention, rehabilitation and biomedical research, and representatives from the ONF’s founding organizations (Canadian Paraplegic Association (CPA) Ontario, Ontario Brain Injury Association and the Canadian Spinal Research Organization) – invited input from stakeholders to develop a governance and operational structure that supports:

– meaningful consumer and stakeholder involvement, including involvement in the identification of current funding priorities in Ontario and priorities with national potential;

– a responsible, fair and transparent granting program that provides balanced funding between SCI and TBI projects in the areas of neurotrauma injury prevention, rehabilitation and biomedical research; and

– collaborative and innovative strategies to minimize duplication and leverage increased funds for the neurotrauma field.

Following the current call for nominations, a new volunteer Board of Directors is expected to be appointed in July, 1999. The inaugural Board, however, has set the standards and core values by which the new Board will work to increase focus on the consumer within the health services system, improve the quality and utilization of evidence-based practices, and expand financial support initiatives for the neurotrauma field.

A key activity of the inaugural Board that will significantly impact the future work of the foundation is the establishment of the ONF Expert Committees on Injury Prevention, Rehabilitation and Biomedical Research. Composed of stakeholders from all regions of the province, the Expert Committees are working to provide current data and analysis for the continuous improvement of the ONF granting program, including the identification of current funding priorities in Ontario.

In collaboration with the Rick Hansen Institute, the ONF also developed educational materials and organized community workshops designed to guide potential applicants in completing their neurotrauma project grant applications. The foundation is examining how to expand these community education ventures in a cost-effective manner.

The ONF will continue to methodically build upon its achievements in the second year, particularly in the area of partnership development. The foundation’s current membership in the Canadian Neurotrauma Research Program, a collaborative venture involving nine organizations (including the Medical Research Council of Canada), will infuse more than $2-million into biomedical research projects across the country. The ONF will explore other models involving provincial, national and international partners to increase opportunities for neurotrauma funding.

The foundation looks forward to working with current and future partners, grantees, funders and stakeholders in reaching its vision – having people living with SCI and TBI participating as full members of society and achieving reduced impact, incidence and prevalence of neurotrauma injuries.

Having people living with spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury participating as full members of society and achieving reduced impact, incidence and prevalence of neurotrauma injuries.

To proactively support activities which generate new knowledge and its application, and continuously improve the standards of services within the fields of neurotrauma biomedical research, rehabilitation and injury prevention.

– Consumer Participation
– Accountability
– Accessibility
– Strategic Partnering and Collaboration
– Innovation, Creativity and Excellence
– Continued Learning and Evaluation

For more information on what is new at the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation, please contact Executive Director Sue Lantz at:

TEL: (416) 422-2228
FAX: (416) 422-1240


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