OCAF Announces Leadership Transition!

Founding Executive Director Kathleen Sharpe to retire
Thomas Vaughan named next Executive Director

The Board of Directors of the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund [OCAF] is pleased to announce the appointment of Thomas Vaughan as the Executive Director of OCAF effective May 1, 2024. Mr. Vaughan succeeds Kathleen Sharpe, the Founding Executive Director of OCAF who will retire June 30 after 25 years of leadership to OCAF. 

Currently serving as the Associate Director, Thomas Vaughan has been with OCAF since 2012. Thomas has worked closely with Ms. Sharpe on all aspects of OCAF’s operation, ensuring continuity for OCAF’s clients. The organization has also provided invaluable mentoring to hundreds of organizations, and offered multiple marketing workshops, webinars and study guides to assist the sector in developing successful marketing plans for its events.  A combination loan and grant investment program, the Fund has distributed $1.67 for every $1.00 received from the Government of Ontario.

Ms. Sharpe is retiring during OCAF’s 25th anniversary year after shaping and building a unique funding organization that has provided cultural tourism investment to almost 1,000 organizations in more than 150 communities across Ontario, attracting over 90 million attendees and generating more than $300 million in earned revenue.

“The Board of Directors is thrilled to welcome Thomas Vaughan as our next Executive Director.  This appointment provides seamless and stable leadership transition as OCAF moves into its second quarter century,” says Mary E. Hofstetter, C.M., Chair and President of the OCAF Board. “Given his long engagement with OCAF, his intimate knowledge of the program, and his close mentoring by Ms. Sharpe, Thomas is uniquely positioned to assume this responsibility.  At the same time, the Board is tremendously grateful to Ms. Sharpe for her leadership, creativity and extraordinary capacity for relationship-building which have established such a solid foundation and stellar reputation for OCAF.”

“It is an honour to be selected as the next Executive Director of the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund.  While OCAF’s value has been acknowledged and maintained by successive governments, its longevity can be largely attributed to Kathleen Sharpe’s intrepid leadership over 25 years and her ability to convey the Fund’s value to decision makers,” adds Thomas Vaughan, incoming Executive Director. “I intend to continue this record of success while extending OCAF funding more broadly across the province, specifically to northern and rural communities. I would like to thank OCAF’s Board of Directors for entrusting me with the responsibility of leading this powerful program.”

“OCAF’s strong relationship with the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, forged over the past 25 years, gives OCAF a unique opportunity to serve cultural tourism across Ontario,” said Kathleen Sharpe. “I am excited to watch Thomas work to build OCAF in the years to come. He will bring an important level of creative leadership to his new role while ensuring a smooth transition. Bravo Thomas!”

OCAF will immediately undertake a search for a new Manager of Operations to work with and support Thomas in his new role.  Details will be posted shortly on the OCAF website: www.ocaf.ca.

Media/Information inquiries:

Kathleen Sharpe, 416-969-7421
Thomas Vaughan, 416-969-7449

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