$4.899 million distributed to 199 local organizations through the 2023 Community Grants Program!
A record number of applications were funded through the Victoria Foundation’s annual Community Grants Program. 199 non-profits were supported with over $4.899 million in funding, a 13% increase over 2022.
Of the total amount being granted through the program, over $1.54 million has come from direct donations made either to the Community Action Funds or from Donor Advised Funds over the past few months. We are grateful to the donors who have supported our community.
Read the announcement here and view the full 2023 Community Grants Program distribution list below.
About the Community Grants Program
The Victoria Foundation is broad in scope and provides supports across the non-profit sector including the arts, environment, food security, housing/ homelessness, health, and youth engagement.
The annual Community Grants Program supports registered charities and other qualified donees whose work benefits community wellbeing within the Capital Region.
To receive up-to-date information about our Community Grants Program and other funding opportunities, please sign-up for our mailing list here.
2023 Application Process
The goal of this year’s program is to strengthen the non-profit sector and long-term resilience of our community by supporting eligible local organizations with flexible, general operating funding. We seek to meet this goal by aligning our grant process with Trust-Based Philanthropy principles to promote equity, centre relationships and increase accessibility. In addition, we recognize the historical and systemic barriers to funding for some communities and encourage applications from organizations who are working with equity-deserving groups.
The 2023 Community Grants Program has two grant streams:
- Vital Stream: requests up to $30,000
- Collaboration Stream: Variable Amounts – see application guidelines.
The Community Grants Program 2023 application process guidelines are here and in the tabs below.
Who do we fund?
Registered charities and other qualified donees* working within the Capital Region (see map HERE).
*A qualified donee is defined under the Federal Income Tax Act as those organizations that can issue official donation receipts for gifts they receive from individuals and corporations. For a full list of types of organizations that qualify as qualified donees, see HERE. If you have questions about your eligibility, see HERE.
For organizations who have previously received funding, see What do I do if I have a current grant with Victoria Foundation? below for additional eligibility criteria.
What is eligible for funding?
- General operating costs (such as heating, insurance, honorariums, membership fees)
- Staffing costs
- Program adaptation
- Technology adaptation and upgrading
- Projects, programs or initiatives
- Organizational capacity building (including staff wellness, training and professional development, costs associated with organizational mergers, fundraising for general operating etc.)
- Modest capital costs critical to the organization fulfilling its mission (including purchasing or upgrading physical assets including technology, safety equipment, vehicles, office equipment, etc.)
What is not eligible for funding?
Ineligible expenses include:
- Fundraising campaign costs and contributions
- Capital campaigns (e.g., for new buildings, land, monuments)
- Political activities that are prohibited by the Canada Revenue Agency
- Grants primarily benefiting individuals (outside of the activities of eligible organizations)
- Deficit reduction (e.g., debts or loans)
- Retroactive requests (any expenses incurred before March 1, 2023)
- Requests without specific benefit to the residents or environment of the Capital Region
- Public sector organizations
- Public sector entities such as local governments are welcome to apply if their request can demonstrate: 1) that existing community organizations are not filling the gap/need that the public body seeks to fill; 2) the project was brought forward by the community or is working closely with a community organization(s); and 3) there is inadequate funding for these activities from the government.
- School boards and community organizations working with schools are welcome to apply if their request can demonstrate: 1) there is inadequate funding for these activities in the school board budget; and 2) they seek funding for high need services or programs being offered/facilitated by community organizations working in/with schools that are outside of current curriculum.
- Faith-based organizations
- Religious activities or services including faith-based programming are ineligible.
- Faith-based organizations are welcome to apply if their request: 1) can ensure benefit is going beyond their congregation(s) or faith-based community; and 2) can ensure that faith is not a requirement of participation.
How can I apply?
We hope to make the Community Grants Program as accessible as possible.
The first step is to create a new account on our online grants portal after it opens on February 28, 2023. Even if you have applied in the past, you will have to create a new 2023 account with updated contact information.
If you would prefer to submit an application orally, together with Foundation staff, please contact staff directly by March 21 to set up an appointment.
Which funding stream should I apply for?
There are two primary funding streams: Vital and Collaboration.
You can apply directly for a Vital grant through our online grant portal. If you want to apply for a Collaboration Grant, you will need to first schedule a meeting with someone from the Grants team before you can access the portal – see below
Vital Grant Stream: Up to $30,000
This funding stream is for any organization seeking a grant for their charitable purposes and activities. Vital Application Question List: HERE
Collaboration Grant Stream: Funding amount variable
When organizations work together towards shared goals, they can have far greater impact than when working alone. This year, the Foundation will offer two grant sub-streams reflecting the evolving ways community organizations are looking to work together to address collective goals, including Practice Innovation and Systems Change.
The first step in applying for either Collaboration Grant stream is to read through the application guidelines and contact the granting staff to set up an appointment to discuss your proposed application. If you qualify to apply, then you will receive an eligibility code. Collaboration Application Guidelines and Question Lists: HERE
What are our granting focus areas this year?
The Community Grants Program provides supports across the non-profit sector including the arts, environment, food security, housing/ homelessness, health, and youth engagement. Supporting a broad range of organizations is important to community wellbeing. In addition to this broad-based approach, we will prioritize organizations working on the top issues facing our community as identified through the most recent Vital Signs Report. These include:
- Getting Started
- Health and Wellness
In addition, the Victoria Foundation recognizes long-standing structural and systemic inequities within our community, and is committed to upholding the values of equity, diversity and inclusion in our programs. In pursuit of these values within the sector-wide scope of Community Grant funding, and to prioritize and centre their work at the forefront of their communities, we encourage applications from equity-deserving groups.
Equity-deserving groups are those that:
- actively seek social justice and reparation in order to disrupt those power dynamics/imbalances
- identify and work to reduce or eliminate barriers to equal access, opportunities, and resources due to disadvantage and discrimination
Equity-deserving groups include, among others:
- Indigenous Peoples
- Black and racialized people
- People with visible and hidden disabilities
- LGBTQIA2S+ communities
- Newcomers (immigrants and refugees who have landed in the past 5 years)
- Children and youth (ages 0-29)
- Seniors (ages 65+)
We recognize the intersectionality of issues and identity and are continuously looking for ways to better understand and prioritize different needs.
What do I do if I have a current grant with the Victoria Foundation?
Submission of Final Reports from previous years is not required for your organization to be eligible to apply for funding in 2023.
If you have received a grant in the past and have spent 100% of the funds, submitting the related Final Report is required to complete the requirements of that grant agreement. As part of our due diligence process for new requests, staff review all active and closed grants an organization has with the Foundation and may influence the application review process.
If you have any questions about previous grants and final reports, please contact Sarah Prusinowski at email@example.com
Can I apply for more than one grant?
In general, organizations can apply for one grant per calendar year.
Exceptions may be made when the charity is working in partnership with a non-qualified donee that is representing an equity-deserving group. This is in recognition that there are systemic barriers to funding for some communities. If you are a registered charity or qualified donee that would like to support a non-qualified donee to apply to the CGP in an intermediary relationship, please reach out by email to discuss.
In addition, if you would like to apply for a Collaboration Grant on behalf of a network or collective, please contact us first by email to discuss: firstname.lastname@example.org
- How much was distributed in past years through the Community Grants Program?
How is the Community Grants Program funded?
The Community Grants Program distributes grants to qualified recipients using funding from the following sources:
- Discretionary Endowed Funds: Victoria Foundation holds endowed funds established by donors who have given our board and staff discretion to allocate funding across a broad range of community wellbeing issues. We choose to distribute this funding to local organizations through the Community Grants Program. The investment of these endowed funds and the annual distribution rate that is applied to the market value of the funds each year determines how much funding we have available to allocate through the program.
- Donor Advised Funds: Donor Advised Funds are established by donors who want to remain an active participant in annual granting. Sometimes they choose to support organizations which apply to the Community Grants Program. Applications are not proactively shared with donors, but if a donor comes forward with a particular interest in an organization or cause area, and it connects to an organization that has applied to the Community Grants Program, staff will let the donor know. The donor will then have the opportunity to make a donor advised grant recommendation to support that application.
- Community Action Funds: Community Action Funds are non-endowed funds which allow donors to give confidently to areas of greatest need within cause areas that matter to them. From January 1 to May 19, 2023, all gifts made to the Community Action Funds will be allocated to approved Community Grants Program applications.
What are my chances of being funded?
The Victoria Foundation is a broad-based community funder, who has traditionally supported a wide variety of causes. From arts and culture, to recreation, the environment and food security, the Victoria Foundation has been a steady source of support for hundreds of organizations in our region.
In addition, we know that certain populations and causes are in greater need at certain times, and we adjust our focus annually to direct funds to areas of greatest need. This is weighted with our overall support of the sector to create a vibrant and caring community for all.
In 2023, we anticipate an equally high demand for funding as what we saw in 2022. Aligning with a trust-based philanthropic approach, the Victoria Foundation tries to fully fund requests whenever possible. To facilitate this, and in recognition of the time it takes to apply, the Foundation has created three funding streams. We encourage you to apply for the amount appropriate to your organization/ project’s needs.
How are applications assessed?
The Community Grants Program will utilize a trust-based philanthropy framework to assess all applications. Some key values of this approach include equity, humility, and transparency.
Strategic Initiatives grants staff conduct an initial due diligence review on each application, then assess applications based on 4 main criteria, below. As a broad-based funder, the Foundation will also consider funding based on geography, specific subsectors, issue areas and equity-deserving groups in final recommendations.
- Organization Strength & Resilience
- Community Need & Impact
- Financial Need & Resilience
The Victoria Foundation’s review process is comprehensive, and we seek input from a variety of sources. We intentionally include people with an array of perspectives and diverse experiences as part of setting our grant priorities and during the review process. We will seek input from a wide variety of sources for the 2023 grant cycle, including:
- Community Engagement Committee: The Foundation’s Committee of the Board provides oversight, guidance and additional community knowledge.
- Community Grants Advisory: We will seek input from a voluntary Community Advisory, which includes community leaders representing a variety of subsectors.
- Subject Matter Experts: We will seek input from individuals who can provide additional context and regional information, to help support the review process.
- Victoria Foundation Vital Signs Report: An annual community check-up that measures the vitality of our region, identifies concerns, and supports action on issues that are critical to our quality of life.
- Other community engagement, regional reports and surveys: Staff continuously engage with community groups to understand emerging needs and opportunities, and to hear additional input and feedback. For example, through the Unraveling: Nonprofits, COVID-19 and the Fabric of BC Communities
The attachment of organizational financial statements is not required for the 2023 Community Grants application, unless you are a new applicant to the Foundation. If staff reviewers have any particular questions regarding your organization’s finances, a financial statement may be requested.
What happens after I apply?
April 4 @ 11:59pm: All applications due via the online grant portal found on the Victoria Foundation website.
April – May: Victoria Foundation staff conduct due diligence checks on all applications and undertake a review process. As a normal part of our review process, you may hear from us with questions about your application. We appreciate your time in providing clarity and additional information as required.
May – June: Consultations with Community Advisory members, Community Engagement Committee, and subject matter experts to provide additional input on the grant making process.
Early July: Applicants notified, and funding distributed. Every applicant will receive notification regardless of funding decision.
July onwards: Victoria Foundation staff will be available for follow-up calls with applicants.
Reporting and stewardship
- All successful applications will be required to submit a simple final report through the online grant portal. You will receive an email reminder from the grant portal to complete the final report, based on the end-date you indicated in the application.
- If your grant deadlines or project deliverables change at any time during the lifetime of your grant, please connect with the grants team to share that information to update your file as well as explore other ways that we can provide support.
- We want to hear from you during the lifecycle of your grant! Please reach out anytime with an impact story, picture or video, or just to say hi.
Key Program Dates
Want to stay in the loop with the Victoria Foundation?
Sign up for our Grant Updates mailing list for important information about our granting cycles and other funding opportunities.