Please be advised that The McConnell Foundation is postponing decisions on new grants until December, 2020.
This pause will enable us to complete a leadership transition; to manage the large volume of grants made in response to the COVID pandemic and in line with our commitment to disburse at least 5% of our endowment; and to reflect on our future direction in light of the changing context for philanthropy in Canada.
We recognize that some projects will be delayed as a result of this pause, but feel certain that this time is necessary and will improve our capacity to support grantees and partners. Meanwhile, all previous commitments will be honoured and fulfilled on schedule.
The Foundation’s granting portal remains open for applications, but we caution that it may take an additional three to four months to complete review.
If you have any questions, please visit our Granting Pause FAQ.
We seek to deepen the impact of our philanthropy by:
- advancing our understanding of complex issues
- learning and adapting as an organization
- working with strategic intent
- building strong relationships
We provide grants to a limited number of initiatives. Proposals should be submitted via our online portal where they will be reviewed by our program staff.
Types of Grants
We support cultural, economic and social systems innovation in Canada. We seek to advance community wellbeing and environmental sustainability at a generational scale.
We do this by:
- supporting registered charities with grants to carry out activities that make a difference
- making impact investments
- convening stakeholders within and across domains
- interacting with governments and supporting policy development
- influencing market behaviour
- strengthening sector capacities
- fostering communication and collaboration platforms to reinforce our granting’s impact
We provide several forms of granting. These include:
Responsive grants are given to registered charities. They are a result of unsolicited applications made to the Foundation.
We support organizations whose ideas have potential for national impact. We’re interested in initiatives that seek large systems change.
We fund across Canada while remaining close to our Montreal roots. Here we continue to support institutions that serve vulnerable populations.
The Social Innovation Fund strengthens the core functions of early stage innovators or organizations. It supports them by strengthening their capacity to take their work to the next level. This could mean testing a new business model, aligning their organizational structure with a changing environment, or even networking with unlikely allies. Learn more here.
Interested in applying for a Social Innovation Fund grant? Learn more about how to apply with the Social Innovation Fund Guide.
Innoweave helps passionate leaders of successful community organizations raise their game. It helps them learn about, select, and implement new tools and approaches. A suite of online tools, workshops, and coaching support enables organizations to generate greater impact and advance their missions. Visit the Innoweave website to learn more.
The Foundation offers a complementary suite of grants and investments within our priority areas. These grants could be made by invitation from us or in response to a Request for Proposal. Increasingly, significant grants and impact investments are being co-created with leading community organizations, and other philanthropic and government partners. Visit our Initiatives pages to learn more about current opportunities.
The Solutions Finance Accelerator program is designed to provide support to intermediaries working on innovative financial products that address market gaps in domains aligned with the SDGs in Canada. The Accelerator consists of three types of support designed to assist intermediaries in achieving their goals.
Interested in applying for to the Solutions Finance Accelerator? Learn more about how to apply with the Solutions Finance Accelerator Application Guide.
Criteria for Selection
We receive hundreds of applications seeking grants annually. We assess each one on its:
- capacity to scale effective services to vulnerable Canadians
- ability to experiment with breakthrough approaches and spark systems change
We assess proposals against three broad criteria:
Applications should include a clear statement of the challenge to be addressed. It should identify how the activity will make a difference. We seek to understand if there is demand for your project, and what partnerships are in place. We also evaluate if the activities have the potential to generate new learning, provide needed services at a larger scale and / or transform the field.
Organizations most likely to be effective share common attributes. They have:
- a clear sense of mission and goals
- capable management
- committed volunteers
- an experienced and engaged board
- supportive and involved clientele (i.e. the people or organizations to whom services are offered)
- an ability to learn from experience.
Most successful applications contribute to one of our priority domains and / or the scaling of social innovation approaches. For more information about the Foundation’s initiatives, visit our Initiatives pages.
Once an application has been submitted via our online portal it undergoes a rigorous due diligence process. This can last four months. The process could take considerably longer if a proposed project might benefit from linking it to other partners, complementary projects or investment strategies.Apply for a Grant