Community Grants Program
Community Grants Program 2022 Application Guide
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.
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 philanthropic 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.
Granting Focus Areas
UP TO $30,000
UP TO $7,500
Portal is now closed
Thank you to those who applied for a 2022 Community Grant. We received 262 applications this year, for over $6.1M in requests. The review process will take place in May and June with distributions made in early July 2022.
2022 Application Process
The Community Grants Program 2022 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.
Non-qualified donees, including non-registered charities and non-profits are not able to apply on their own for a Community Grand. If the non-qualified done represents an equity-deserving group, they may be able to apply with a registered charity in an intermediary relationship. For more information on Intermediary relationships, 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 do we fund?
We support registered charities and qualified donees whose work primarily benefits community wellbeing within the Capital Region. The goal of the program is to provide flexible, general operating funds to help strengthen and build resilience for eligible organizations in our community.
Eligible expenses include:
- General operating costs
- 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, etc.)
- Capital costs critical to the organization fulfilling its mission (including purchasing or upgrading physical assets including technology, safety equipment, vehicles, office equipment, etc.)
What don’t we fund?
Ineligible expenses include:
- Fundraising campaign contributions
- Capital campaigns (e.g. for new buildings, land, monuments)
- Religious activities or services including faith-based programming
- Political activities that are prohibited by the Canada Revenue Agency
- Current curricula for schools or post-secondary institutions
- Grants primarily benefiting individuals
- Deficit reduction (e.g. debts or loans)
- Retroactive requests (any expenses incurred before March 1, 2022)
- Requests without specific benefit to the residents or environment of the Capital Region
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 when it opens on March 11, 2022.
Even if you have applied in the past, you will have to create a new 2022 account with updated contact information and new request.
If you have barriers to applying online, you can submit an application orally, together with foundation staff. Please contact staff directly to set up an appointment.
Which funding stream should I apply for?
There are three funding streams: Focus, Vital and Collaboration Streams.
You can apply for a Focus or Vital grant through our online grant portal. If you want to apply for a Collaboration Grant, see guidelines: HERE
Focus Grant Stream: Up to $7,500
This simplified funding stream is designed to be accessible and low-barrier, especially for small and mid-size organizations. Below is the list of application questions in the Focus Grant Stream. The application is designed to take 1-2 hours to complete. Application Questions: HERE
Application Questions (with suggested word limits)
- Summary of Request – Describe the overall need within your organization or initiative, how this grant will support your work, and how do you plan to use it? (150 words)
- Please introduce yourself by sharing a brief background of your organization, staff/ volunteers and community. (150 words)
- How does your organization include the people that it serves in its decision-making processes? (100 words)
- Please share the importance of this grant for the community you serve. (150 words)
- Primary Vital Sign and Geographic areas within the Capital Region that this grant will support.
- Is this grant request to support a bigger initiative or project? If so, what is the total cost of the initiative, and who else has contributed? (100 words)
Vital Grant Stream: Up to $30,000
This funding stream is for any size organization seeking a larger grant investment for their charitable purposes and activities. Application Questions: HERE
Collaboration Grant Stream: Funding amount variable
The Collaboration Grant stream is intended to address root causes of issues in support of systems change, by supporting groups of organizations working together, including collaboratives, collectives, networks, alliances, etc. If your organization is applying on behalf of a Collaboration, please review the Application Guidelines and contact the Foundation to discuss further. See Guidelines: HERE
What are our granting focus areas this year?
Based on research and engagement, we will prioritize organizations working on the top 5 issues facing our community as identified through the 2021 Vital Signs Report. These include:
- Standard of Living (including Food Security)
- Mental Health
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, 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
- 2SLGBTQ+ communities
- Newcomers (Recent immigrants and refugees)
- Children and Youth (ages 0-29)
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?
We recognize that due to the unprecedented circumstances of COVID-19, some organizations are still in the process of spending grant funds and submitting a final report. We will provide flexibility to those who have received grants in 2020 and 2021. Organizations who received grants in 2019 and prior are required to submit a final report before applying in 2022
See below for details:
- 2016 – 2018 Grant: Please submit a final report to be considered for funding in 2022. See link below for the final report template and information about where to submit.
- 2019 Grant: Please submit a final report to be considered for funding in 2022. See link below for the final report template and information about where to submit.
- 2020 Grant: Please submit an Final Report when 100% of funds have been spent:
- 2021 Grant: A submitted Final Report is not required to apply for funding in 2022.
- 2021 INTERIM CHECK-IN: Please email the grants staff with a simple update on your 2021 grant. We value communication with our community partners, and appreciate updates on your work in the community, including learnings and challenges.
- 2021 FINAL REPORT: Please complete the Final Report once you have spent 100% of the funds, on the Victoria Foundation 2021 (vfgrants.ca) grants portal.
If you have any questions about previous grants and final reports, please contact Hayleigh Chafe 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-profit representing an equity-deserving group. This is in recognition that there are systemic barriers to funding for some communities.
In addition, if you would like to apply for a Collaboration Grant on behalf of a network or collective, please contact us first.
How much was distributed in past years through the Community Grants Program?
During the pandemic, the Community Grants Program was rebranded as the Community Recovery Program to assist federally registered charities and qualified donees in the CRD with flexible, general operating funds in response to the social and economic impacts of the pandemic.
How is the Community Grants Program funded?
The Community Grants Program distributes grants to qualified recipients using funding from the following sources:
- Discretionary 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 14, 2022, 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 2022, we anticipate an exceptionally high demand for funding. 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 do we assess applications?
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 consider geography, specific subsectors, issue areas and other 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 2022 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 9-member Community Advisory committee, 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 report.
What happens after I apply?
April 14 at 11:59PM: All applications due via 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.
May – June: Consultations with Community Advisory members, Community Engagement Committee, and subject matter experts to provide additional input on the grant making process.
June 28: Applicants notified. 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 our online grant portal.
- 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.
Full Application Guidelines posted
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