Our roots go back almost thirty years through two Ottawa organizations that we might call our “parents” – OCRI/Invest Ottawa and the Ottawa-Carleton Learning Foundation.
OCRI/Invest Ottawa was created in 1983 as a not-for-profit, member-supported organization. As the lead economic development agency for the City of Ottawa, its primary role today is to bring people, ideas, and resources together to build wealth and quality of life in the city. In the 1980’s and 90’s, OCRI/Invest Ottawa had a particular focus on supporting Ottawa’s technology sector – including the promotion of science and technology-related studies and careers.
The Ottawa-Carleton Learning Foundation was incorporated in August 1985 as a registered charitable organization. OCLF’s original mandate was to “develop and advance educational programs, particularly those of an innovative or experimental nature, that are outside the usual instructional program”. A secondary goal of the Foundation was to encourage dialogue and cooperation among education, business and the community.
In 1990, OCLF launched the School Breakfast Program. Many other successful initiatives followed. By 1998, OCRI/Invest Ottawa and OCLF were collaborating on a number of programs, and their respective Boards agreed to contract the administration of OCLF affairs to OCRI/Invest Ottawa through a service agreement. The administrative integration of the two organisations continued from 1996 to 2010. OCLF continued to exist as a separate registered charitable foundation with an independent Board of Directors.
In the fall of 2010, the OCRI/Invest Ottawa Board of Directors renewed its strategic vision and decided to focus the organization on its economic development mandate. In January 2011, OCLF became the active operating entity responsible for delivering education programs to the community. This change provided an exciting opportunity for OCLF to broaden its scope and garner additional support and profile in the community. OCLF was re-branded and officially “re-launched” in mid 2011 as the Ottawa Network for Education (ONFE). ONFE and Invest Ottawa continue to collaborate where appropriate on projects that respond to the needs of the community.