Ellie Topp

Ellie Topp

Lifetime Contribution

Ellie Topp has been a distinguished Professional Home Economist for many years. A scientist by training, she has lived her career as an entrepreneur, author, mentor, philanthropist, and an inspirational role model who has helped many in her community and in Ottawa.

For many years, Ms. Topp has been sharing her extensive knowledge of food and nutrition. She has published 10 cookbooks, worked as a cooking school director at Betty’s Kitchen in Ottawa and, in various capacities has served as a food consultant for government entities, always with a view to improving the health of others. One particular book on food preservation has been revised and published in both the UK and the US.  Her latest book is a fundraising cookbook for the housing project, “The Haven”, by Multi-Faith Housing Initiative (MHI) – an organization that she and her husband were instrumental in founding with an underlining principle that a home is a fundamental human right.

Ms. Topps’s volunteer commitments and philanthropy reflect her life-long dedication to providing resources for marginalized populations. In 1993, she joined the Board of Directors of the Nepean Rideau Osgoode Community Resource Centre NROCRC, a community-based organization that provides community development, health promotion, and social service programs free of charge to all residents living in Nepean, Rideau and Osgoode. During her six-year tenure, she played an important role in this new organization’s development, ensuring that vulnerable children, youth, families and seniors of Nepean received the necessary support to improve their lives. In 2001, Ms. Topp re-joined the NROCRC as Board Secretary and continued to provide her stewardship until 2009. Though officially leaving NROCRC’s Board, today she remains committed in contributing directly and indirectly to its clients.

Through the Ottawa Community Foundation, Ellie Topp and her husband have created the Ellie and Clarke Topp Fund, the earnings from which are currently funding two “Milk and Eggs” programs for prenatal education, one at the NROCRC and one at South-East Ottawa Community Health Centre. The “Milk and Eggs” programs provide proper pre- and post-natal nutrition, education, and resources to women in our community who would otherwise not have access to these resources. This program serves many refugee and newcomer women who take part at NROCRC’s Parkwood Hills and Barrhaven locations.

Ms. Topp is also dedicated to improving the lives of those at risk, disadvantaged or marginalized. In the late 1970’s she participated in a pilot project with Children’s Aid Society (CAS) called “Families for Families” that paired dysfunctional families with mentoring families as a means for improving parenting skills regarding children at risk. For two years Ms. Topp and her young family provided regular support and advice to one of these families. In addition, for 10 years she volunteered weekly in a Lunch Program at a Foster Farm community centre, turning donated food items into nutritious meals. She was also a Founding member of the Ottawa West End Community Chaplaincy in the PQCHC catchment area in 1984.

Further, Ellie Topp is aware of the continual decline of social services over the past 35 years, especially for the under-privileged, and has directed her efforts in promoting a basic income guarantee through her involvement with the Basic Income Canada Network (BICN). She was among the initiators and organizers of Group Ottawa for Basic Income Guarantee (GOBIG). Since 2012, she has been involved with these organizations and currently serves as the Secretary for GOBIG, promoting an understanding and awareness of how a guaranteed basic income would ease the economic pressures for those who live in poverty by providing a reasonable level of income so that everyone can meet the costs of housing, food, education and other necessities. To this end, she has also worked with the Ontario Basic Income Network and attended two North American Basic Income Conferences.

For her volunteer commitment and philanthropy in making our city a better place for all, Ellie Topp received the NROCRC’s 2019 Champions Award; was recognized as Volunteer for the International Year of Volunteers by the Government of Canada in 2001, and was awarded a Canada 150 Medal in 2017.