What we do 

Our Theory of Change

At Happy Roots, we believe the single greatest thing we can do for children’s mental health is to support parents in building strong, secure connections with their kids in the earliest years of life. We do this by identifying and funding projects, staying connected to our partners, and advocating for change.

We believe in a collaborative approach to grantmaking, with a focus on dialogue, relationship-building, and transparency. 

We support the purpose of the Trust-Based Philanthropy Project: “We envision a world where relationships are built on vulnerability, transparency, and humility; where community and nonprofit leaders are valued, supported, and trusted; and where funders bring an awareness of power and equity to their grantmaking.”


Our Projects

As a key pillar of our Theory of Change, Happy Roots seeks to identify and fund projects that show promise but don’t yet have secure, long-term funding. For us, this looks like projects that are in the early stages of development or are poised for expansion and: – 

  • Are evidence-based or modeled on evidence-based research from other jurisdictions, disciplines   or organizations
  • Have potential to attract government funding or other sources of dedicated long-term funding
  • Address infant and early childhood mental health through a focus on the parent-child connection as a protective factor in the face of adverse childhood or community experience


We embrace partnership with mission-aligned direct service organizations that are interested in working with Happy Roots in advancing our Theory of Change. Our partnerships are characterized by dialogue and transparency, and we are especially interested in working with charitable organizations that incorporate the destigmatization of children’s mental health into their work and provide services to under-resourced communities in Ottawa.

Current Projects

Family Services Ottawa | Parent Coaching Program

Grant: $75,000 per year up to three years 

The Parent Coaching program provides families with ongoing, individually tailored, parent
coaching and advocacy supports that address their complex needs. The Grant will fund the program for at-risk families and parents with at least one child under the age of six. The Grant is intended to provide support for 56 eligible families over the course of the year.

Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) | Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Service

Grant: $1 Million over 3 years

In the past five years, CHEO has seen more children and youth struggling with their mental health than ever before. The demand for services including emergency, inpatient, outpatient and community care is increasing dramatically, stretching CHEO’s mental health system to the limit. In 2020, CHEO piloted an Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health (IECMH) Service designed to treat mental health problems in infants and children, 0-6 years of age. Happy Roots’ investment will advance this service from a pilot project to a fully staffed team providing clinical care, community training, and research.

Connectwell Community Health (Lanark County) | Making the Connections Program Grant

Grant: $315,000 over 3 years

The ‘Making the Connections’ group supports women who are living with interpersonal violence, are parenting children 0-6 years old, and are trying to obtain abstinence or remain in recovery. The goal of this group is to reduce the incidents and impacts of adverse childhood experiences, helping parents make the connection between environment, nutrition, and childhood brain development. The purpose of Happy Roots’ grant is to support the expansion of the Making the Connection Group to offer more groups to women throughout the year, and to add two new groups: a second stage group for women and a new group for men.

Past Projects

Impact Grants

In 2021, Happy Roots made five one-time grants of $15,000 each to local charitable organizations working in or supporting children’s mental health. Our Impact Grants were meant to “boost” organizational capacity for charities in Ottawa and Lanark County, investing in them so they could invest in their work and community members. 

Impact Grants were made to the following organizations: the Ottawa Network for Education, Le Cap, Big Brothers Big Sisters Lanark County, PLEO – Parents Lifeline, and the Ottawa Coalition of Community Houses.

COVID-19 Response

COVID-19 touched us all in ways big and small, including kids. In 2020, to help support the work of hardworking organizations in our community serving children and parents, Happy Roots made 20 donations of $10,000 each in the areas of food security, safe homes and mental health supports.

Charitable #710172289 RR 0001