Hamilton & District Extend-A-Family


April 2012 - March 2016

Authorized May 21st, 2013 by the Board of Directors:

Jessica Cooper, Chair

Terry Riley, Vice-Chair

Tyler McNeil, Secretary

Nancy Dingwall, Past Chair

Ruth Bolton, Member At Large

Table of Contents

Executive Summary 3

History and Programs 3

Mission, Vision and Values 4

Critical Issues, Strategic Goals & Priority Actions 5

Appendix A: Strategic Analysis (S.W.O.T) 11

Appendix B: Staffing & Board Organization 12

Appendix C: 2011 Funding Report 13

Appendix D: Monitoring, Evaluation & Communication of Plan 14



Executive Summary

Hamilton and District Extend-A-Family has a long history of excellent service to the community. It has continued, for over 30 years, to serve as a respite provider to families with children who have special needs. As the decades have past, Hamilton and District Extend-A-Family has been required to reinvent and restructure its programming to meet the changing needs of the community and the requirements of the province of Ontario. As the organization now moves forward, it will be required to: maintain financial stability, meet the needs of the French Language Service Act with no increase in funding, continue to work towards increasing community awareness, continue to improve and increasing its programming, re-develop its Risk Management Plan and build a stable Board of Directors. The following Strategic Plan outlines the long and short term goals of Hamilton & District Extend-A-Family as they have been determined by its Board of Directors in conjunction with its Executive Director.  Some of the actions outlined in the document include: meeting the requirements of the French Language Service Act, exploring new media platforms to increase community awareness, seeking out stable funding sources along with other possible sources of revenue, and increasing the Board of Director membership to ensure a stable and capable governance of this valuable organization.


Our History

Extend-A-Family began with a group of North Toronto parents who formed an organization to meet the needs of their disabled children.  The children needed a broader base of social experience while the parents longed for occasional relief from the unique challenges of parenting a child with special needs.  The families hoped that Extend-A-Family would help the community become more aware of the needs and gifts of children with special needs.

Since the inception of the first Extend-A-Family, the success of the organization has kindled interest in other cities across Canada and the U.S.  By 1986, twenty-two new Extend-A-Family organizations had sprung up in Canada including Hamilton and District Extend-A-Family which opened its doors in March of 1980.

We now serve many children and their families through our Host Family, Buddy, Summer Support, ASD and Recreational Programs. To manage the growing volume of children served, Hamilton & District Extend-A-Family employs a full-time Executive Director, two part-time Family Coordinators, a part-time Recreational and ASD Coordinator and an Administrative Assistant.  We are served by a voluntary Board of Directors.

Our Programs


The Host Family Program:  The Host Family Program encourages a match between a child or teen with special needs and a volunteer family, for the purposes of expanding the child’s social circle while integrating the child into the life of the community.  The program provides much-needed respite to the child’s parents and siblings.  The Host Family program was the initial program offered by Hamilton & District Extend-A-Family and has resulted in the most stable, long-term relationships.

The Buddy Program:  The Buddy Program encourages a one-to-one match between a volunteer and a child or teen.  Offered as an alternative to the Host Family Program, the Buddy Program allows single individuals to have the opportunity to form a friendship with a child who has special needs while providing the child’s family with respite from the unique challenges of raising a special needs child.

ASD Recreational Programs:  The ASD Recreational Program serves children and teens who have an Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis.  Activities are scheduled six times each month to provide children and teens with fun outings while providing families with respite.  The ASD/Recreation Coordinator supervises a wide variety of events both in our facility and in the community. Social and life skill development are a focus of the program.

The Summer Support Program:  The Summer Program was designed to provide social activities to children and respite to the parents during the crucial months when the need for respite is the greatest.  Children on the waiting list with the most urgent needs are given preference over children who are already matched with a Host family or Buddy.  Depending on grants from Service Canada, 2-4 university or college students are hired to act as buddies to the children, taking them out into the community for one-on-one activities.  The Summer Support Workers also help to plan and supervise group events throughout the week.  Bowling is scheduled once a week, in addition to play days at the park and arts & crafts days during rainy weather.  Special events such as a bus trips to Canada’s Wonderland and visits to local attractions are highlights of the summer. 


Our Mission

 “Hamilton & District Extend-a-Family, as a non-profit community service, provides social opportunities and friendships to children with special needs while providing respite to their families.”


Core Values

·                Every child with special needs should be socially included into the community.

·                Every child with special needs should be accepted and respected.

·                Every child with special needs should be recognized as a unique individual.

·                Families of children with special needs are entitled to support to assist with the increased demands that they face.

·                Our services have value to the community and the need for our services will be ongoing.



Our vision is that all children with special needs will be accepted, supported and included in the community.

Hamilton & District Extend-A-Family will be a recognized service provider in the community that remains attractive and accountable to consumers, volunteers, donors, and our employees.



Critical Issues, Strategic Goals & Priority Actions



Critical Issues and Needs:

Addressed by:

Long term Strategic Goal:


Short term Priority Actions:


1. To maintain financial stability

Financial and Internal Processes

·         Ensure stable sources of funding

·         Apply for grants and  new dollar opportunities

·         Apply for additional funds from government sources as opportunities arise

·         Ensure spending aligns with the Charities Act

·         Closely monitor spending to ensure future stability

Staff and Volunteers

·         Use volunteers in the office

·         Continue to delegate work to  volunteers whenever possible

Board of Directors

·         Establish a Board Fundraising committee

·         Seek out future fundraising opportunities

·         Plan fundraising events with the help of other Board Members, staff and volunteers


Critical Issues and Needs:

Addressed by:

Long term Strategic Goal:


Short term Priority Actions:


2. To meet the requirements of the French Language Service Act Plan Referral Clause by March 31, 2014


·         To provide an active offer of service to French language speaking families in the community


·         Have volunteer and natural family literature translated into French

·         To post French language signage at our front door and reception desk

·         To have our website translated into French

·         To have a French language message on our telephone

·         To have staff answer the phone with a French greeting

·         To develop a protocol of referral agreements with relevant French Language services in the area and provide referral agreements to the ministry

Board of Directors

·         Recruit a minimum of one French speaking Board Member

·         Develop a statement to include in our mission statement/management philosophy that supports French language service

·         Include French as an asset on volunteer ads advertising Board Membership positions

·         Fax advertisements for Board Membership to French Language schools for consideration by staff


Critical Issues and Needs:

Addressed by:

Long term Strategic Goal:


Short term Priority Actions:


4. To increase community awareness

Financial and Internal Processes

·         Increase Extend-A-Family’s image:

-  as a recognized not-for-profit organization in the community,

- to be recognized by peers as a credible, essential service provider for children with special needs

- achieve status as a highly desired volunteer placement


·         Assess marketing strategies to target market more effectively

·         Assess marketing message to help dispel myths/reduce obstacles to volunteering

·         Cost effective advertising


Staff and Volunteers

·         Participate in: events, speaking engagements, and local news coverage with the goal of promoting the organization

·         Ensure all staff and volunteers are able to articulate the overall meaning of Extend-A-Family’s Mission, Values and Vision through publication in newsletters and introduction during training

Board of Directors



Critical Issues and Needs:

Addressed by:

Long term Strategic Goal:


Short term Priority Actions:


5. To increase respite hours offered to natural families

Financial and Internal Processes

·         Expand recreational respite programming

·         Investigate the possibility of  creating a Care Giver Support Program

·         Continue to expand programs to include more respite services during the weekend

·         Gage interest and need for a Care Giver Support Program – implement a program if/when appropriate

Staff and Volunteers

·         Reduce dependence on volunteers for respite hours

·         Increase volunteers membership

·         Retain volunteer membership

·         Increase funding for staffed recreational programs

·         Assess marketing strategies to target market more effectively

·         Assess marketing message to help dispel myths/reduce obstacles to volunteering

·         Cost effective advertising


Critical Issues and Needs:

Addressed by:

Long term Strategic Goal:


Short term Priority Actions:


6. To re-develop and implement a Risk-Management Policy

Board of Directors


·         Update the current Risk Management Policy

·         Review the current Risk Management Policy

·         Seek legal advice, if possible

·         Identify possible legal concerns and issues

·         Re-develop a comprehensive Risk Management Plan which addresses current issues and needs

·         Increase  Board of Directors to a total of 8-10 active members

·         Participate in various Board professional development opportunities to ensure Board effectiveness and to encourage constancy in the Board (begin with the topic of recruitment)

·         Assess marketing strategies to target market more effectively

·         Assess marketing message to help dispel myths/reduce obstacles to volunteering

·         Cost effective advertising


Appendix A: Hamilton & District Extend-A-Family - Strategic Analysis (S.W.O.T) – March 2013

Developed by: Hamilton & District Extend-A-Family Board of Directors

Organizational Strengths

·         stable funding from two ministries (Ministry of Community and Social Services & Ministry of Children and Youth Services)

·         sound finances

·         long history of service and experience within the community

·         well-attended programs

·         established pool of volunteers

·         serves larger population with less funding than average respite provider

·         provides services that are not provided by other organizations – occupies a niche friendship based program which includes family oriented programing

·         less fees are required by families for participation than many other organizations

·         can be more adaptive to family’s needs due to size of agency

Organizational Weaknesses

·         recent staffing turnover

·         small agency

·         administrative/IT/HR specialized staff lacking due to size of agency and funding

·         community knowledge of agency

·         staff familiarity with new technology and social media

·         not provided with additional funding to meet the requirements of the French Language Service Act

Opportunities for the Organization

·         various grants

·         bingo license (OLG & City of Hamilton) and proceeds from bingo

·         programs focusing on fitness and nutrition

·         active Junior Board

·         possibility of shared office space for various not-for-profits for reduced rent and networking

·         expanding social networking capabilities with new platforms

Threats to the Organization

·         small size of agency increases the chance of a merging of services with another organization

·         small number of Board members



Appendix B: Hamilton & District Extend-A-Family - Staffing & Board Organization


Permanent Positions

·         Executive Director (full-time)

·         2 Family Coordinators (part-time)

·         ASD/Recreation Coordinator (part-time)

·         Bookkeeper/admin assistant (part-time)

·         Senior Accounting consultant (part-time)

·         Special Events Coordinator (part-time)


Contract Positions (offered as funds are available)

·         Assistant ASD/Recreation Coordinator

·         Summer Support Respite Staff

·         Co-op Student Positions (as suitable to the candidate)


Board of Director Positions

·         Chair

·         Vice-Chair

·         Past Chair

·         Secretary

·         Member(s) At Large


Appendix C: Hamilton & District Extend-A-Family - 2011 Funding Report

Ministry of community and Social Services           $128,263

Ministry of Children and Youth Services                 $ 30,000

Hamilton Community Foundation                             $   3,000   (One-time grant)

Donations                                                                           $16,755

Fundraising Activities                                                     $ 1,000

Interest Income                                                                               $    420

Bingo                                                                                     $20,100

Membership Fees                                                           $      785 

Total Revenue 2011                                                        $200,323              

Appendix D: Monitoring, Evaluation & Communication of Plan

Monitoring & Evaluation of Strategic Plan

The Strategic Plan will:

·         Be referred to and reviewed on a regular basis by the Executive Director to provide guidance in regards to the operation of the organization

·         Be reviewed and responded to by the Board of Directors when creating the Board’s annual goals/plans in September of each year

·         Be reviewed and responded to by the Board of Directors when evaluating its and the organization’s processes and programs


Communication of Plan

The Strategic Plan will:

·         Be made available on Hamilton & District Extend-A-Family’s website: http://extendafamilyhamilton.synthasite.com/

·         Be announced on Hamilton & District Extend-A-Family’s Facebook, Twitter, and Linked In accounts with a hyperlink to the website to allow for viewing

·         Be included in welcome packages given/emailed to new Board of Director members