Success Stories

OutCare Gives a Foothold to Compassionate Ottawa

By Jim Nininger

When individuals are treated for life threatening illness, approximately 5% of the time is spent with the formal health care system and the other 95% with family, friends, neighbours and other informal caregivers. The numbers are clear: community support, in all its forms – family, friends, neighbors, coworkers – is vital.

The OutCare Foundation has made their mark by funding community-based palliative care initiatives within the Champlain Region with a current focus on supporting in-home palliative care provided by the hospices. Today I want to highlight their key role in the creation of Compassionate Ottawa.

In late 2016, close to 50 community leaders from a variety of sectors, including health care providers, social service agencies and community organizations, met to discuss Ottawa becoming a compassionate community for palliative care. Support for the idea was very strong. The Ottawa Community Foundation indicated an interest in providing initial seed funding. Sharon Carstairs, then Chair of the OutCare Foundation, offered office space, accounting and fundraising assistance. Others expressed an interest in working with us as partners. This was the beginning of Compassionate Ottawa (CO)

As one of the co-founders of CO, I was honored to join the Board of Directors of OutCare. And in turn, Sharon became a member of the Advisory Council of Compassionate Ottawa. My experience on the OutCare Board was of immense help in deepening my understanding of the challenges our community faces with respect to palliative care services. It has also helped me understand the valuable role OutCare has played over the years in providing financial assistance to hospices in the region and raising awareness of the needs of the sector.

As the Past Chair of CO, I want to express my appreciation to the OutCare Foundation for its assistance as we evolved to a standalone organization with its own board of directors and charitable organization status.

Jim Nininger joined the Board of the OutCare Foundation in 2017 and now serves as Chair of both the Governance and Investment Committees. He is Past Chair of Compassionate Ottawa. To learn more about Compassionate Ottawa, visit