Sole Responsibility

Grants- Apply Now

Who We Are

Founded in 2005, Sole Responsibility (SR) started out as a grass-roots non-profit collecting gently used shoes from local Ottawa runners and sending them to refugees overseas with the help of the United Nations High Commission on Refugees. The role of shoe collector was turned over to Shoe Bank Canada, a national charity, in 2014 with SR working to support them. A registered charity since 2013, SR has since pivoted to use its volunteer resources to support kids’ access to physical activity opportunities in the National Capital Region. The organization is fully volunteer-led with a President and a small board of directors. To contact us, email us at

Sole Responsibility Grant Program

Every spring we launched the grant program. Schools and community organizations in the National Capital Region are invited to apply for one of five $1000 awards to increase involvement in physical activity for youth primarily in under-serviced communities. The awards will provide seed funding for equipment or footwear to support existing programs that promote fun and inclusive activities.

We are currently accepting grant applications

Please apply by filling in our online form before March 19, 2024.  If you prefer a word copy click here and submit your application to  We will send notifications to all applicants by March 31, 2024.  

Other Grant Sources

Our program is aimed at schools and organizations. If you are a family that is in need of support to allow your children to take part in sport, there are two excellent grant sources for you. Please visit JumpStart and KidSport for information. Both organizations provide funding to assist individual families with paying fees and equipment purchases.

For more information about our grant program email

Our History

Putting our Best Foot Forward

Three friends went for a run in 2005 and conversation moved to the closets full of running shoes they owned; shoes no longer good enough for logging running miles but otherwise in very usable shape. Tracey, Cindy, and Jen hatched a plan and soon, Sole Responsibility was born. The grass-roots non-profit started collecting shoes and established a relationship with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees which advised them on where the shoes are in most need. Over the course of the next decade, collections were sent to countries including Chad, Rwanda, Lesotho, Cameroon, Djibouti, Rwanda and Namibia. Tremendous efforts were put forth by board members, community volunteers and sponsors. Those sponsors included great organizations like Norton Rose, Bridgehead, Ottawa Fit, WESA and Bushtukah. Check out our photo album for some great images through the years.

A New Direction

With Shoe Bank Canada now leading efforts to collect and donate shoes in the National Capital Region, Sole Responsibility (SR) decided to set to work on changing direction. One of the first steps occurred in 2017 when our major financial supporter, the Ottawa Running Club, became officially part of SR. The ORC was founded in 2007 and donates 100% of the funds they raise to charitable causes including SR and other organizations such as the Canadian Red Cross, and Doctors Without Borders. In January of 2018, the charity launched a new program, funded by our running club, with the aim to increase physical activity opportunities for children in low income neighbourhoods of our region. Please watch our website for future developments. Since 2018, through our grant program, we have donated $5,000 to various local programs promoting physical activity for our youth. 


Bell High School

The special needs classes at Bell High School have physical education every day.  The Grant from Sole Responsibility helps purchase equipment to enhance physical activity involvement.  The additional funds provided through the Grant will allow Bell High School to purchase equipment for learning and to bring the students to participate in activities in the community.  

Centennial School

Every week the Centennial Running Club runs and does fitness together as a team.  Unlike other sports teams in our school, this is a club that meets all year round. Our primary goal as a club is to learn how to enjoy running and fitness as a regular part of our lives.  Our secondary goal is for students living in downtown Ottawa to be able to exercise for free without the supervision of parents or signing up for expensive extra-curricular activities. 

When our club first started three years ago we were a small group of seven students. This year in our third year we have more than twenty regular participants. Thanks to the Sole Responsibility Grant we received last year we were able to take our club to the next level and we started signing up for 5km races. With the funds we received, we are now able to register for expensive races that our club participants couldn’t otherwise afford to take part in.

Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization

The Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization (OCISO) is thrilled to learn that Sole Responsibility has granted $1000 to cover registration fees and T-shirt costs to allow 22 newcomer students from Ridgemont High School to participate in the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend, May 25-26.

Ridgemont teacher Nadia Gandhi has spoken of the newcomer students’ experience:

The benefits and skills attained as a result of training for race day are ongoing. The students who participated experienced an inner shift like no other. The connection between school and mental & physical health as a result of training for a 5km was amazing. It all connected. Students studied better. Students felt part of a community. One of the goals with this race is to heal through running