This profile originally appeared in the 2020-21 Giving Guide. Read the full magazine here.
The Snowsuit Fund purchases and distributes more than 16,000 snowsuits annually to low-income children 15 years and younger in Ottawa, bringing dignity and hope to families struggling with the necessities of life. Our core mission is to ensure that Ottawa’s most vulnerable children can have warm snowsuits to play outside in winter – without their families having to sacrifice other priorities.
Ottawa winters are cold, yet year-round outdoor play contributes fundamentally to mental health, active and healthy lifestyles, as well as learning and development.
A grassroots organization, we receive no government funding and rely on the generosity of caring groups and individuals who give their time, money and talents to help those less fortunate.
At a glance
Year founded: 1981
Geographic region of focus: City of Ottawa
Total revenue for last fiscal year: $1,167,017
Top Funding Sources:
- Corporate: 40%
- Individual: 35%
- Other Charities: 10%
- Endowments: 5%
- Other: 10%
- Government: 0%
How you can help
Financial support received from corporate and individual donors directly contributes to the provision of snowsuits for Ottawa children from low-income families. Annual volume purchases and long-standing relationships give us the power to negotiate the best possible prices with Canadian suppliers. Our average cost to purchase, warehouse and distribute each high-quality warm snowsuit is just $50.
Historically, from September to February, up to 750 volunteers including corporate and community groups help with snowsuit distribution at our Depot. Group volunteering has been paused for 2020-21 due to COVID-19. However, we welcome volunteer support to help produce and promote our various seasonal fundraisers.
Events and fundraising
The Snowsuit Fund Gala has been a must-attend event on Ottawa’s social scene for decades. In February 2020 SnowBall – A Cool Winters Eve welcomed more than 300 guests for an all-inclusive, multi-level, multi-chef cocktail party experience.
This season a re-imagined "Gala-in-a-Box" will include curated cocktails, wine and beer, chef-prepared meals, delectable desserts, online auction, streamed entertainment and many fun surprises – all beautifully packaged delivered to your door for safe enjoyment at home.
Tim Hortons Smile Cookie Sales Campaign
Every September since 2004 Tim Hortons Ottawa restaurants have donated the full $1 from freshly-baked Smile Cookies sold to The Snowsuit Fund. Corporate orders by the dozen can be delivered to multiple addresses.
Annual Snowsuit Drive (October - January)
Become a corporate supporter by hosting or sponsoring an event, giving donations in lieu of launching a sales promotion to raise money in $50 increments to buy snowsuits for disadvantaged Ottawa children.
Be a Snow Angel
This coming February, the business community along with families, schools, community and sports groups are invited to create snow angels, gather pledges and share images and videos to win prizes. This activity has children, adults and teams playing and having fun safely outside while raising money for needed snowsuits. The initiative also underscores the importance of being warmly dressed to be able to participate outdoors during Ottawa’s winter season. Event details will be posted at www.snowsuitfund.com.
Board members and executives
Mark Ford (Past chairperson)
Ottawa Police Service
Andrew Watson (Treasurer)
Danny Kingsbury (Vice-chairperson)
Rogers Media (retired)
Martin Masse (Second vice-chairperson)
Norton Rose Fulbright LLP
Susan Dennison (Secretary)
Communications director, Digital Consulting
BMO Private Banking
Ottawa Police Services Board
Fiorella Di Nardo
David Burns and Associates
Multifaith Housing Initiative
We anticipate that the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will cause an increased number of families to turn to the Snowsuit Fund for help this season. At the same time, costs are rising and COVID-19 economic challenges could negatively impact donations. We need your support now more than ever.