Cornell is a large, public-private partnership, with an estimated annual operating budget of $15 million.
It was created in 2000 to provide low-income seniors with the tools and assistance they need to live independently, while helping those with special needs.
It has more than 1,600 employees and employs more than 100 people.
The co-op was founded in the early 1970s by former Ottawa mayor and businessman John Rolfe.
He said he wanted to help his community and that helped him in the creation of Cornell.
“I felt I was going to get to know this community, I was getting to know the residents, I would be able to get a sense of their challenges and I could really understand how they lived their lives,” Rolfes told CBC News.
“It was a wonderful way to meet with people, and to know them and know them well.”
In 2010, Cornell was granted the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s “Good Neighbor” designation, the highest recognition given to an organization that provides support to disadvantaged groups in Ontario.
Rolf, who is now retired, said the co-operative is a safe and positive environment for all members.
“We are a place where we can gather and have a good time,” he said.
“The co-ops have the capacity to grow and it’s a great place to go for a good social activity, and for a great day out.”
Rolf said Cornell can serve the needs of the Ottawa community with a few simple changes.
“Just make sure that you’re really looking at the bottom line of what you’re doing,” he added.
“Don’t just say ‘Hey, let’s have an outdoor barbecue, let us do this, let me help you get your dog, let my daughter be a part of the festivities.'”
Cornell, like many other co-operatives, has its own budget.
In addition to its annual operating expenses, the co‑op also makes contributions to the City of Ottawa’s Community Support Fund.
“If you want to get involved in something, or you want the resources, Corwna is where you go to do it,” said Corwyna Littman, director of the cooperative’s Office of Community Partnerships.
“You can’t get involved without it.”
In addition, Corwynas community-service program supports seniors, and helps them find affordable housing and employment opportunities.
The program also supports youth, and provides tutoring to those with learning disabilities.
Corwynans Community Action Plan, which is funded by the coop, helps support the cooptation of the community by providing resources, mentoring and information to help those in need.
Cornell also works closely with the Canadian Centre for Child Wellbeing, the federal agency that helps families of children who have been found to have serious mental health or developmental issues.
Corwnas annual budget of about $10 million includes $1 million for the Corwnahs Kids Fund, which provides support and services for families with children ages six to 18.
“There’s a lot of families that have lost a child,” said Littmans executive director, Linda Cairns.
“And that money will go into the Corwynahs Fund, so that families can get back to their kids.”
Corwynahs budget is one of many that the coops Community Action Program has raised in the past year, which have helped support a number of programs in the community.
One program, called Corwynacare, provides free clothing and clothing to the Cornell community.
Another, called Community Action Services, provides support for families who need to move or move out of their current home.
And last year, Corwinnys community-serving food bank was expanded to provide free food for low- and middle-income families.
Littmann said that for many of the programs, Corwenas support is key.
“That’s really what we’re going to need, that’s really where we’re gonna need that extra help,” she said.