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Charities / Governance Partners Program (GPP)

Governance Partners Program (GPP)

GPP was launched by the Foundation in 2016 and is based on a similar program offered by the Gulf Coast Community Foundation in Florida.  This program helps registered charities identify their strengths and challenges they are facing in governance and management, and to provide expertise and resources to help charities improve their practices.

GPP Process

  • Contact the GPP Co-ordinator
  • Complete the Gap Analysis Tool and share the results with the Coordinator
  • Make a work plan (priorities and $) and decide whether you will be addressing the gaps independently as an organization or utilizing one of the Foundation’s consultants
  • If you wish to utilize a consultant choose the consultant
  • NCF will review/approve your work plan
  • The consultant will invoice the charity monthly
  • The charity will invoice NCF monthly for half the consultant’s fees

Gap Analysis Tool

To qualify for the GPP, charities complete our Governance Gap Analysis tool and use the results of the analysis to put together a work plan and a budget to address the identified governance gaps.  What is critical is that the Board Chair/President and the organizations’ senior staff leadership (i.e. CEO, ED, senior staff member) or the entire board and senior staff work on this together, to ensure a balanced perspective.
The Governance Gap Analysis Tool covers five areas:
  • Board governance
  • Financial accountability and transparency
  • Fundraising
  • Staff management
  • Volunteer involvement
The Tool is based on the Imagine Canada Standards.  The Standards were developed to build excellence within Canada’s charities and non-profits through common standards of practice and to strengthen confidence in the sector. The Standards are tailored to different sizes of charities, depending on the number of staff and operating budget. 
The Foundation has created three versions of the Governance Gap Analysis tool as an excel spreadsheet.  Click on one of the links below to access the most appropriate version, download a copy and save it on your computer.

Organizations with up to 5 FTE employees and up to $2 million in annual expenses.
Level 1 (excel)

Organizations with up to 50 FTE employees and up to $10 million in annual expenses.
Level 2 (excel) 

Organizations with more than 50 FTE and over $10 million in annual expenses.
Level 3 (excel) 

Note: Imagine Canada uses the Standards as the basis for their national accreditation program.  However, there is neither an expectation nor any obligation on the part of the charity wishing to use the Governance Gap Analysis Tool to work with Imagine Canada on their accreditation program.  If a charity is interested in this program, here is the link for more information: http://www.imaginecanada.ca/our-programs/standards-program

As part of the Governance Partners Program, the Niagara Community Foundation, in partnership and with the technical expertise of Niagara Connects, hosted a three-part webinar series focus on self-assessing your non-profit organization's strengths and potential for improvement. The series features Imagine Canada Certified Standards Program Coaches, on hand to help build and strengthen your organization through Imagine Canada's Quality Standards and the resources available through the Governance Partners Program.

Links to the first two parts of the webinar series are below with the third being held on Wednesday, January 25 at 1:00 pm. 

Check In to Check Up – Part 1 (Board Governance)

Check In to Check Up – Part 2 (Finances & Fundraising)

Check In to Check Up – Part 3 (Staff & Volunteers) - 

GPP Work Plan

The work plan addressing the governance gaps identified by the results of the Governance Gap Analysis Tool can either be implemented by a committee of the charity’s board or the charity can work with one of the Foundation’s governance consultants. All our GPP consultants have broad experience in the charitable sector and are Imagine Canada – Certified Standards Program Coaches.  The GPP consultant’s fee is $100 per hour, and the Foundation will provide the charity with a cost-sharing grant of $50 per hour towards the proposed cost to implement the plan.  The charity can access only one GPP grant annually.

GPP Consultants

If a charity wishes to work with a consultant they can choose from any of the 3 listed below.

Rosanna Thoms -

Rosanna spent her professional career of 37 years with Information Niagara.  As Executive Director for the past 27 years, Rosanna has focused her energy developing the organization to the highest level of professional achievement. Under her leadership the organization was awarded accreditation status for meeting national standards in 2007 and 2013.  This year she was certified as a Standards Program Coach through Imagine Canada.   
Rosanna has experience with board governance and has led her boards from a traditional governance model to a policy governance model, developing the required policies and procedures. Under her leadership, the board has completed several strategic planning sessions and developed and implemented a succession plan policy.
Rosanna has a strong commitment to the community and the voluntary sector. Over the years she has led many Boards as President both in her community and the Information and Referral sector including InformCanada, the Association of Community Information Centres in Ontario, Early Childhood Community Development Centre, and the Fort Erie Refugee Reception Centre.

Lyn Russo -

Lyn held senior positions with Niagara College, the Niagara College Foundation, Welland Hospital and Welland Hospital Foundation, and the Niagara Health System Foundation, prior to her retirement in 2015. She has extensive experience with consulting, strategic planning, facilitation and training for non-profit organizations in a variety of sectors: community development, social service, environment, health, recreation, religious and professional associations.  Prior to moving to the non-profit sector, she worked for 20 years in the private sector in communications and management positions.

She is a Certified Standards Program Coach through Imagine Canada. She has been a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) since 2003, an internationally valued credential that attests to knowledge, skills and achievements as a fundraising professional. Her education includes a diploma in communications, a degree in management, and many workshops and courses over the years.

Her volunteer activities include serving as treasurer of the Association of Fundraising Professionals – Golden Horseshoe Chapter, club secretary for the Rotary Club of Welland, and numerous other boards and committees over 30 years.

Gay Douglas -

Gay’s career spans more than 30 years as a board volunteer, executive director, adult educator and entrepreneur.  She is passionate about the importance of strong governance in the not-for-profit sector.

In 1976 she was a founding board member and Chairperson of the Niagara Block Parent Program. Since that time has served on many other boards, most recently the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce, Habitat for Humanity Niagara and the Early Childhood Community Development Centre, where she served as Chairperson for 6 years.

Gay has worked in non-profit management since 1989 for a variety of important causes including The Kidney Foundation of Canada, Big Sisters Association on Ontario, and the Recycling Council of Ontario.  Always the entrepreneur, in 1992 she created Canada's first car donation program, and 3 years later developed Canada's first on-line auction.

For the past 20 years, she’s served as the Executive Director (now Co-Executive Director) of Literacy Link Niagara, coordinating, planning and facilitating a diverse service system of government-funded adult literacy programs.

In 2005 Gay established Gay Douglas and Associates Inc., (GDA) a consulting company specializing in board governance, outcomes-based evaluation and strategic planning.  She is a Certified Standards Program Coach through Imagine Canada.
For more information
For more information on the Governance Partners Program, please contact Gay Douglas, the Governance Partners Program Coordinator at douglasandassoc@gmail.com or by calling 905-835-2446.