Sandra Bressler was the President, who guided COTF’s successful transition to Ottawa from Toronto, resulting in a synergistic relationship with CAOT. Next, Tamra Ellis took the helm, bringing her entrepreneurial spirit to COTF. The hat was then passed to Huguette Picard, a past CAOT President, who shared a wealth of knowledge about the history between the two organizations and fostered even stronger ties with CAOT. By the time Archie Cooper took the reigns, more than 20% of CAOT members were donating to COTF. COTF had a strategic plan in place and met its stated objectives! However, during this time, the relationship between COTF and CAOT changed. As COTF transitioned from the leadership of Archie Cooper to the current President, Marjorie Hackett, COTF has adopted a different mission, with strong strategic goals. Marjorie Hackett continues to strategically work to position COTF as a viable, strong legal entity whose purpose is to support the profession as a whole, The key message: COTF will fund research that is relevant to Canadians because it will have an impact on clinicians and clients.
To mark COTF’s 25th anniversary in 2008, COTF introduced the COTF Future Scholar Award, an award that recognizes small “r” research at each university. This small, but very popular award is offered annually. Universities identify the student to receive it, and COTF funds it. In the same year, COTF launched the Legacy Funds, whereby occupational therapists were encouraged to create awards to honour other occupational therapists upon retirement or other noteworthy circumstances. COTF also partnered with CIHR to offer doctoral scholarships over three years, with Blake Medical to offer a doctoral scholarship and with the OEQ to offer clinical research grants over two years. The Barb Worth Emergent Leader Award was launched with thanks to Art Worth in 2015 to honour Barb Worth’s great contributions to the profession.
COTF has had the opportunity over the past several years, thanks to CAOT, to be present at the CAOT Annual General Conference, where COTF engages in fundraising, meets with donors and volunteers, participates in business meetings. This presence allows COTF to raise its awareness to the occupational therapy community. COTF is grateful to all who support the work of the Foundation through being volunteers, donating, purchasing items, and sharing news about COTF.
I have had the opportunity to get to know many wonderful, loyal donors, work with many review committee members, with the current one being chaired by Deb Cameron since 2008, a past COTF President and numerous other volunteers. COTF is an organization rich with many individuals: volunteers who continue to give time and energy, donors who donate to ensure that COTF can continue to fund great research, supporters who participate by attending events and purchasing items and dedicated staff, in particular Anne McDonald, COTF’s Executive Assistant, being with COTF for 10 years as of November 17. It is thanks to all of these individuals that COTF continues to play an imperative role in the profession.