What can we help you find?
Showing results for
Sorry, but your search returned no results. Try searching with different keywords.
Focus Area Questions
Our new focus areas were announced in our Strategic Direction in April 2021.
If you’ve read the three focus area webpages and our Apply for Funding webpage and believe your project addresses one of our Focus Areas, please submit an online application. This ensures that your request receives full and fair consideration. The form includes a limited number of questions and we’re working on improving and simplifying it.
Our staff often work on different aspects of different focus areas and it changes over time. So the best thing is to write to firstname.lastname@example.org and they’ll be happy to direct you to the best person.
Yes. In an effort to focus our impact, we are now channeling support provided through the Social Innovation Fund to projects related to our Focus Areas. If you have a project that you feel aligns to the Focus Areas, as well as the parameters of the Social Innovation Fund, we encourage you to submit it through our portal. We are updating our Social Innovation Fund to align with our Focus Areas over the coming months.
At this point, our application process is the same for all of our focus areas. So if your work relates to more than one of them, just be sure to cover that in your application.
Under the Income Tax Act, we can provide funding to “qualified Canadian donees” only. Generally this means federally registered charities* and municipalities.
There are exceptions. Sometimes we do make financial contributions to not-for-profits through a fiduciary (trustee) organization. If you would like to apply for support this way, please indicate so on your application.
* Note that not-for-profit organizations do not automatically receive charitable status, and many choose not to apply for it. For more information about becoming a registered charity, see the Canada Revenue Agency’s publications on this topic.
We do not consider requests:
- that are part of a general fundraising campaign
- to reduce accumulated capital or operating deficits
- for endowments
- for annual operating funds or other recurring costs, unless directly linked to a project that falls within our focus areas
- involving partisan political activities
- involving strictly religious purposes or activities
- for purely academic or basic research
- for which organizations or projects are based outside of Canada
- for international development
- for projects advancing nature-based solutions such as: reforestation and tree planting, nature conservation or biodiversity preservation
- for emergency needs
Generally we do not consider requests:
- in which the primary activity is the production of a film, video, or publication (although they can be part of a larger scale project or program)
- in which the primary activity is a conference, workshop, or seminar (although they can be part of a larger scale project or program)
- in which the primary activity involves training, scholarships, or subsidies (although they can be part of a larger scale project or program)
We do not lend directly to individual social enterprises. We invest in them only through intermediaries (investment and loan funds). For information on the funds we’re invested in visit our Solutions Finance section. You can also contact the funds directly to access their lending or investment criteria.
There is no pre-established limit. Funding typically spans two to three years for projects which have a national scope, and occasionally as long as five years. We encourage organizations to apply according to the need and opportunity they have identified. Generally, we do not make short-term funding to local projects. To see projects we have supported in the past, visit our funding database.
Bien sûr! We’re always pleased to receive requests in both official languages.
Our review process can last up to four months. Sometimes a proposed project might benefit from being linked with other partners, complementary projects or investment strategies. In these cases the process can take considerably longer.
There are no application deadlines. We review applications on an ongoing basis. Application deadlines are used only when the Foundation requests proposals for specific projects. In this case, we’ll list the application deadline on our website.
Restrictions and Categories
The Foundation does not fund individuals. We can only fund organizations defined as “qualified donees” by the Federal government. Please see question 1 in the eligibility section for more information.
Government conditions are not a factor in our selection criteria.
We’re big fans of evaluations. We see them as a tool to improve our own work, as well as that of the organizations we support. We consider them integral to the funding, and not an “extra” that is tacked on at the end. As early as the application stage, start thinking about how your project might benefit from evaluation.
There is no single right approach to evaluation. In preparing your application, think about:
- why might you want to conduct an evaluation?
- what would you want to evaluate?
- who would benefit from the lessons generated?
- how will you integrate and act on those lessons?
These are important questions to ask. They will determine what approach to evaluation will be most relevant, and in what form the resulting information will be most useful.
Consider one or more of these evaluation approaches:
- Summative evaluation: Undertaken at the end of a project. Answers the question: Did the project work? It’s used to help decision-makers determine whether to continue, expand or disseminate the program model being tested.
- Formative evaluation: Implemented in the middle of a project. Answers the question: Is the project working? It’s used by practitioners to improve project performance and by program designers to fine-tune the model they’re testing.
- Developmental evaluation: Employed over the course of an initiative. Answers the question: What are we learning? It’s used to identify emerging dynamics and outcomes that can foster alternative program strategy decisions and design questions.
There are some excellent online resources about evaluation models. These are our favourites:
- W. K. Kellogg Foundation: One of the early pioneers in evaluation for grant makers. You’ll find free resources under their knowledge base section.
- Harvard Family Research Project: Focused on family research, but also provides broader thinking about evaluation.
- The James Irvine Foundation: Strong focus on evaluation with resources available for non-profits and foundations.
- Outcome Measurement Resource Network: A wide variety of resources on the evaluation of American United Way projects.
- Canadian Evaluation Society: Useful resources oriented mainly toward evaluation practitioners.
- Voluntary Sector Evaluation Research Project (VSERP): The Project’s goal is to improve the capacity of voluntary organizations to evaluate their work and communicate their effectiveness. They have an extensive variety of publications, links, research and other tools related to evaluation.
- Social Return on Investment: Calculates a price on social value through metrics that quantify and monetize social value. Their site includes a web tool for non-profits to calculate their own SROI.
For more information on developmental evaluation please see A Developmental Evaluation Primer and DE 201: A Practitioner’s Guide to Developmental Evaluation.
If you have read all the information above and believe that your project addresses an area where we are inviting proposals, please submit an online application. This ensures that your request receives full and fair consideration. The online form is brief and simple, making it easy for you to submit a proposal. If more information is needed we will contact you. So there’s no need to call or email us.
We operate with a relatively small staff. This makes it infeasible for us to meet with everyone who would like to discuss their project. It is also much more effective for us to discuss a project once we have been able to study both the application and the surrounding issues.
Therefore we ask you to submit your proposal using our online form via our portal. It’s easy. We’ll then carefully review your application. If more information or a meeting is required, we will let you know.