Maximizing Governance in For Public Benefit Organizations

Training Boards of Directors and Senior Leaders for Organizational Resilience and Success

Collage of several portrait photos of workers of any given organization

Project Summary

Much of the work to build and support communities comes from organizations and agencies formed from within the communities themselves. These groups have deep knowledge and understanding of the issues facing their communities, but may lack knowledge about how to use the power of incorporated organizations to address these issues effectively.

Maximizing Governance in For Public Benefit Organizations is a project funded by the Community Funding Unit of the City of Toronto to train board members of incorporated, community-based not-for-profit organizations about matters of governance. This includes the roles and responsibilities of board members regarding money and the law, and how boards can best represent those they serve.

The project is offering the following supports to For Public Benefit (FPB) organizations. Priority goes to groups that are funded by the City’s Community Service Partnerships (CSP) Program, but any incorporated not-for-profit group in the City of Toronto is eligible to participate in the following offerings:

  • 50 spaces in onBoard Canada’s online training program about board governance. onBoard Canada is a program of The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education at Ryerson University.
  • 10 public workshops on topics such as board essentials, legal roles and responsibilities, risk management, and strategic planning
  • 7 applied learning sessions
  • Use of OCASI’s OrgWise organizational self-assessment tool, and access to OrgWise’s collection of resources for organizational capacity building and training

17 organizations have been selected to receive more focused support. They have been matched with coaches who are providing nine hours of individualized, face-to-face training to help them assess the health of their organizations through the use of OCASI’s OrgWise tool, and to support them in addressing their most pressing concerns.

Small and emerging FPB organizations often depend on a small group of key volunteers who do a great deal of the work, and therefore are at greater risk of being organizationally isolated and financially insecure. Moreover, they often do not have easy access to appropriate training or support to develop organizational capacity in key areas such as governance, management, and leadership. Studies have recommended key areas of training for small and emerging FPB organizations:

  • The components of good governance and how to put them into practice
  • How to develop clear outlines of roles and responsibilities
  • How to evaluate the effectiveness of the board
  • How to oversee and evaluate the senior staff member
  • How to plan (to ensure measurable goals are set so that effective evaluation can occur)
  • How to raise funds (as a team effort with well-defined roles for community engagement)
  • How to provide effective orientation to new board members

This project has been designed to address these areas through a variety of approaches that use the principles of adult education and create spaces for peer learning.

Project stakeholders

OCASI is the lead organization on the Maximizing Governance project, working in partnership with Access Alliance Multicultural Health and Community Centre, onBoard Canada at Ryerson University, St. Stephen’s Community House, and Social Planning Toronto. This consortium is working to engage CSP-funded organizations in learning to work more effectively, to provide better service to their communities.

Project funder

This project is funded by the City of Toronto’s Community Funding Unit, through their Grant to Enhance Governance in For Public Benefit (FPB) Organizations. The City of Toronto relies on FPB organizations to act in multiple roles to meet residents’ needs, energize communities, create inclusive economic opportunities, and promote active democracy and policies that are responsive to the community. Broadening the knowledge of board members and senior leaders about governance will enable them to increase and strengthen their organizations’ capacity to fulfill these roles, serve their communities, and respond to challenges.

Workshops and webinars

The Maximizing Governance project is offering ten public workshops and eight webinars on governance to educate board members and senior staff of not-for-profit organizations that work for the public benefit.

Workshops are available by registration only, and we ask that each organization send no more than two people to each one. Invitations to register are first sent to the City’s CSP mailing list, and will then be posted here.

The first eight workshops will also be available as webinars.

Workshops schedule

Board Essentials February 25,
OCASI, 110 Eglinton Avenue West, Suite 200
Legal Roles and Responsibilities March 25,
North York Civic Centre, 5100 Yonge Street, Committee Room 3
Financial Management April 29,
Metro Hall, 55 John Street, Room 309
Risk Management May 27,
Access Alliance, 3079 Danforth Avenue
Board Evaluation June 24,
Social Planning Toronto, 2 Carlton Street, Suite 1001
Strategic Planning July 29,
CultureLink, 2340 Dundas Street West, Suite 301
Communications August 26,
OCASI, 110 Eglinton Avenue West, Suite 200
Conflict Resolution September 30,
North York Central Library, 5120 Yonge Street, Room 2/3
Equity October 28,
Metro Hall, 55 John Street, Room 309
Public Policy November 25,
Access Alliance, 3079 Danforth Avenue





 To learn more about the Maximizing Governance project, email us.