Big News

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ottawa Unveils New Inclusive Community Space Thanks to Ontario Government Grant

OTTAWA, ON  On Wednesday, local MPP Chandra Pasma met with the team at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ottawa (BBSO) as they unveiled their new inclusive community space within their social enterprise retail outlet Thrive Select Thrift located at 1547 Merivale Road in Nepean. The project was made possible in part thanks to a $49,500 Capital grant from the provincial government’s Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF). This space is dedicated to supporting youth facing adversity, providing them with a safe and inspiring environment to connect, learn, and thrive.

“I am so thrilled to see this new space at Thrive Select Thrift with BBBSO and hear about the incredible support the organization is providing to youth throughout our communities,” said Chandra Pasma, MPP for Ottawa West—Nepean. “BBBSO has been an important outlet for youth across Ottawa for decades and I’m excited to see that they’re continuing to expand on the work they’re doing with this Capital Grant from the OTF.”

Thanks to this funding from the Ontario Government, BBBSO has been able to complete the installation of the flooring throughout the designated backspace, incorporating motivational elements to inspire and uplift their clients. Additionally, new workstations and chairs have been acquired, providing a conducive environment for community members to come together and engage in various activities. The space at Thrive Select Thrift has already hosted events through the Big Possibilities program, with plans for numerous workshops, meetings, and community events in the future.

Reflecting on the impact of the project, Susan Ingram, Executive Director of BBBSO, stated, “We are incredibly grateful for the support of the Ontario Trillium Foundation, which has allowed us to realize our vision of creating a welcoming space within our new retail location Thrive Select Thrift, where youth facing adversity can feel safe and be seen. This initiative underscores our commitment to empowering young people and strengthening our community.”

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ottawa has been dedicated to supporting youth in the community for more than 53 years. Through mentorship programs, educational and employment initiatives, and now, the creation of this inclusive community space, BBBSO continues to make a positive impact on the lives of young people across Ottawa. To learn more about our programs and initiatives, visit

“Non-profit organizations across Ontario deliver programming that makes a difference,” said Neil Lumsden, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. “That’s why funding that my ministry is providing through the OTF is so important. Our government wants to ensure that these programs and spaces remain the heart of communities across our province.”

The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) is an agency of the Ontario government with a mission to build healthy and vibrant communities across the province. Last year, OTF invested more than $110M into 1,044 community projects and multi-sector partnerships. Projects aim to enhance economic well-being, foster more active lifestyles, support child and youth development, provide spaces for people to come together and connect, and create a more sustainable environment. Visit to learn more.

For further inquiries, please contact:

Erin Helmer

Director of Development

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ottawa


About Big Brothers Big Sisters

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ottawa (BBBSO) is the leading child and youth mentoring charity; BBBSO facilitates life-changing relationships that inspire and empower children and youth to reach their potential as individuals and citizens. BBBSO proudly served over 600 youth across Ottawa in 2023.

About Ontario Trillium Foundation

An agency of the Government of Ontario, the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) is one of Canada’s largest granting foundations. OTF awards grants to some 1,000 projects yearly to build healthy and vibrant Ontario communities.