Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Strong Start Celebrates Enhancements to their Volunteer Experience Thanks to $101,400 OTF Grant

Waterloo, ON – On Wednesday, the team at Strong Start Charitable Organization had the pleasure of hosting Dayna Prest on behalf of MPP Catherine Fife (Waterloo), Volunteers and Community Members at the National Program Deployment Centre in Waterloo to celebrate a $101,400 Capital grant Strong Start received from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF).

“As one of the original members on the Legislative Strong Start Caucus, I am so thrilled that OTF has recognized this key literacy initiative in our community.  Strong Start offers life changing programs, support, and advocacy to help children learn to read, and I am excited that this Capital grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation was able to support increased accessibility and increased technological capabilities to support Strong Start’s operations as they continue serving children and families in Waterloo Region. Congratulations!” said Catherine Fife, MPP for Waterloo.

This grant allowed for increased accessibility for volunteers and staff with disabilities, height adjustable tables for assembling games and activities, increased technology capabilities, materials handling equipment, and cleaning equipment for the facility. These essential updates enhancing the location for assembling the learning materials for the Letters, Sounds and Words™, Get Ready for Schooland Baby Connections® programs, ultimately serving the 8,800+ children and volunteers who access our programs. The impact the Ontario Trillium Foundation grant has on the Waterloo Region and beyond is being felt immediately as it is increasing the output of these essential programs and continues to provide volunteers a safe, enjoyable, and productive place to give their gift of time.

“This grant has come at the perfect time as it is allowing us to grow our impact on children’s lives by helping them learn to read. We would like to extend our sincere gratitude to the OTF for their unwavering support of Strong Start and the community. We also would like to congratulate the Ontario Trillium Foundation on 40 years of granting and building healthy and vibrant communities across the province” said Machelle Denison, CEO of Strong Start.

Strong Start was initiated in 2001 by late founders, Lyle S. Hallman and Lynda Silvester, who understood the importance of learning to read, and the direct impact literacy rates have on the community. Letters, Sounds and Words is its flagship program, now in over 400 schools across Ontario. To learn more please visit the website at

The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF), an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada’s leading granting foundations celebrates 40 years of grantmaking in Ontario and making a lasting impact in communities. Last year, OTF invested nearly $209M into 2,042 community projects and partnerships, which included funding for the Government of Ontario’s Community Building Fund. Visit to learn more.