Applications now open for $80,000 in catalyst funding

 

$80,000 is now available in Spark Funds to support new ideas, partnerships and ignite potential solutions to issues in our community, based on the themes and ideas that emerged from this year’s Vital Conversation event.

Following the June 26, 2024, event hosted at the University of Victoria, this year’s funds are centered on solutions to support young people in their 20s and 30s, including newcomers, who want to stay in our region to thrive and make this a long-term home. For more details about the conversation, please view the graphic recording below and the event slide deck here.

 

2024 Vital Conversation Visual Recording

 

Focused on affordability and belonging, applications should be in alignment with solutions approaches listed below. Please view our program guidelines for a more fulsome list of details.

  • Strategies and opportunities for affordable and accessible housing that are physically designed and built to encourage engagement, community, and intergenerational living.
  • Shared community spaces.
  • Opportunities for community ownership and community wealth building.
  • Community leadership development for people in their 20s and 30s.
  • Opportunities for meaningful employment and increased income, including affordable and/or transferable credentialing and entrepreneurship with an eye to future economic prosperity and trends.
  • Creating affordable access to those aspects of life that create a sense of belonging including culturally resonant food and cooking, arts activities, and sports.
  • Education, awareness building, and storytelling that supports affordability and a sense of belonging for people in their 20s and 30s.

A couple of additional resources to help you frame your application are the Continuum of Affordability Solutions chart, and this explainer on the difference between qualified and non-qualified donees. Please review the guidelines in detail below before applying.

The funding, provided by Victoria Foundation and Coast Capital, will be distributed in $5,000, $10,000, $15,000 increments.

* Please note that applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Successful applicants will be approved in order of submission until the $80,000 is fully allocated.

We are welcoming applications from July 4 to July 18, 2024, at 4:00 pm.

Apply Now

2024 Spark Funds Submission Guidelines

Please view the Spark Funds submission guidelines below. You can download a PDF version of the guidelines here. 

  • Overview

    The Victoria Foundation believes in the power of conversations to build relationships that lead to solutions. Our 2024 Vital Conversation on June 26 was an opportunity to dig deeper into key findings from the 2023 Vital Signs report by asking “How can we work together across sectors to support young people in their 20s and 30s, including newcomers, who want to stay in our region to thrive and make this a long-term home?”

    This topic was also informed by last year’s Vital Conversation focused on the theme Affordability for All and builds on a panel at the South Island Prosperity Partnership’s 2024 Rising Economy Conference titled Is Victoria on the Rise? To gather further information for the Vital Conversation, the Foundation also hosted three focus groups this spring with newcomers and university students to better understand the challenges and solutions.

    This year’s Vital Conversation, in partnership with Coast Capital, was hosted at the University of Victoria. There, 80 people came together across various sectors to explore local solutions.

    Ideas and approaches for potential solutions became apparent though small group conversations and short presentations featuring examples of innovative local work to support both economic success and belonging for young people in their 20s and 30s.

    These Vital Conversations are an important start to developing solutions, but it takes more than conversation to create lasting change.

    For this reason, the Victoria Foundation and Coast Capital are providing $80,000 in funding through Spark Funds as part of the 2024 Vital Conversation. Thank you to Coast Capital for their contribution and partnership for the Spark Funds, Vital Conversation, and Vital Signs.

    Spark Funds are intended to support cross sector partnerships and collaborations that strengthen belonging, connection and an inclusive, affordable local economy where young people thrive.

    Applications will be accepted through Survey Monkey starting on Thursday, July 4 and will close on Thursday, July 18 at 4:00 pm. Please review the Spark Funds Application Process for more information.

    Note that while the Vital Conversation informs the focus of this Spark Funds call, participation in that event is not required to be eligible for funding.

  • Application Process

    Spark Funds are intended to support cross sector partnerships and collaborations towards the development of innovative solutions. As such, applications for Spark Funds should meet the following requirements:

    Requirements

    • Application is a result of a partnership/collaboration between at least two organizations and preferably across sectors. (Note that the main applicant partner must be a registered charity or qualified donee.)
    • The potential solution aims to be a “multi-solve” in that it provides solutions to both belonging and affordability.
    • Funds will be used for the exploration and development of medium- or longer-term solutions as identified in the Affordability Framework shared at the Vital Conversation (as opposed to urgent response).
    • Alignment with the identified solution approaches (below) that were developed during the Vital Conversation to support both economic success and belonging for young people in their 20s and 30s so they can thrive and make the Capital Region their long-term home.
    • Application is a result of a partnership/collaboration between at least two organizations and preferably across sectors. (Note that the main applicant partner must be a registered charity or qualified donee.)

    Identified solution approaches from Vital Conversation

    • Strategies and opportunities for affordable and accessible housing that is physically designed and built to encourage engagement, community, and intergenerational living, rather than isolation, so people feel like they belong in the homes they live in. Examples include cooperative housing, housing with childcare and/or community gardens.
    • Shared community spaces (including expanding on existing cultural and community associations) that are safe, culturally resonant and personally meaningful and connect younger people to others with shared interests.
    • Opportunities for community ownership and community wealth building, including keeping assets in the community for the benefit of all. This includes strengthening co-ops and other models of community ownership. Activities can include access to education, expertise, legal and other resources to navigate the processes around securing community assets.
    • Community leadership development for people in their 20s and 30s, including opportunities for civic engagement.
    • Opportunities for meaningful employment and increased income including affordable and/or transferable credentialing and entrepreneurship with an eye to future economic prosperity and trends. This can include supportive policies, programs, skill recognition, upskilling, and incentives for younger people.
    • Creating affordable access to those aspects of life that create a sense of belonging, including culturally resonant food and cooking, arts activities, and sports.
    • Education, awareness building, and storytelling that supports affordability and sense of belonging for people in their 20s and 30s. For example: correcting misconceptions about rental housing, shared intergenerational ownership models, and access to relevant expertise to navigate systems.

    A few examples of the types of activities that Spark Funds can support include, but are not limited to:

    • convening meetings to explore and develop new partnerships to explore and develop opportunities to support young people in their 20s and 30s, including newcomers, who want to stay in our region to thrive and make this a long-term home.
    • exploring a proposed solution, including research, relevant community engagement, and feasibility studies.
    • developing education or programing as part of a strategy to create affordability and belonging that aligns with the approaches identified in the Vital Conversation.
    • testing a concept and/or potential solution as a pilot.
    • mapping local assets and resources.
  • Eligibility to Apply

    To be eligible for funding, the collaborative partnerships must include at least one organization that is a registered charity or other qualified donee whose offices are based in the Capital Region; and all collaborating partners should be currently working within the Capital Region.

    A registered charity/qualified donee can be the lead applicant on only one application; however, they can be a supporting partner on other registered charity/qualified donee applications.

    You can apply for Spark Funds even if you have a current grant with the Victoria Foundation.

    This is an open invitation to apply. The June 26 Vital Conversation informs the criteria for this application, but participation in that event is not required to be eligible for funding.

  • How to Apply

    Complete a short 6-question application on Survey Monkey and submit it no later than 4:00 pm on Thursday July 18, 2024.

    The Spark Funds call is open for 2 weeks. Applications will be assessed on a rolling basis as they are received until the full $80,000 is allocated.

    Applicants may request funding of $5,000, $10,000, or $15,000. A budget is not required as part of this application.

    The application submission is through Survey Monkey. You cannot start an application and return to it later, meaning the application must be started and submitted in one session.

  • Application Questions

    The application is made up of the six main questions below. Since Spark Funds are meant to support ideas, actions, and partnerships in the early stages of development, we do not require extensive details.

    1. List the name of the organization submitting this application (must be a registered charity or qualified donee). Include the organization’s address, website, and CRA number if applicable. Include the name of the primary contact and their contact information.
    2. Please list the partner/collaborating organizations in this initiative and briefly describe the role of each. Include the main contact’s name and their contact information for each.
    3. Describe the area of focus you want to explore with Spark Funds as it relates to the Vital Conversation theme of developing solutions to encourage people in their 20’s to 30’s to stay and thrive in the region
    4. Please describe the goal you wish to achieve with Spark Funds. (i.e. develop a partnership, exploratory conversation around a topic or potential partnership, gather information to make informed steps forward etc.)
    5. Please briefly describe the activities you are planning to undertake towards that goal including any potential engagement with people in their 20’s and 30’s living in the region. We understand that your idea is in development and may not be detailed or fleshed out yet.
    6. Please identify the amount you are seeking: $5,000, $10,000 or $15,000

    If you need further information or support, please contact Sushil Saini, Manager Strategic Initiatives at grants@victoriafoundation.bc.ca. If needed, you can request a phone or virtual meeting.

  • Application Assessment Process

    Applications will be reviewed by Victoria Foundation Strategic Initiatives staff. This may include a conversation with applicants to learn more about their plans.

    Applications are due no later than 4pm on Thursday July 18, 2023; however, applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis as they are received. Successful applicants will be approved in order of submission until the $80,000 is allocated in full.

  • Criteria for Assessment

    Ensure your responses to the application questions address these criteria:

    • Alignment with identified solution approaches developed during the Vital Conversation.
    • Activities are a partnership or collaboration among at least two organizations, preferably across sectors, ie: non-profit, social enterprise, industry organization, local government.
    • Pursuit of potential solutions that address affordability and belonging; a multi-solve.
    • Suitability and strength of partners in their respective roles identified in the application.
    • The potential impact should the idea or action applicants plan to explore is successful.
  • Notification of Decision

    Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis as they are submitted. Depending on when the application is submitted, notification will be sent either the week of July 29 or the week of August 26, 2024. Funds will be sent within 2 weeks of notification.

  • 2024 Spark Funds Timeline
    Announce Spark Funds at Vital Conversation Wednesday, June 26
    Open Spark Funds Call for Applications Thursday, July 4
    Application Submission Deadline Thursday, July 18 by 4:00 pm
    Rolling staff review Wednesday, July 4 – Monday, July 29
    Board approval July 24 and/or August 26
    Notification July 29 or week of August 26
    Funds distribution Within two weeks of notification and acceptance

2023 Vital Conversation

The 2023 Vital Conversation focused on envisioning an affordable community for all. The theme was selected due to cost of living and housing being identified as the top issues in the capital region, especially after the housing issue area receiving the first failing grade in Victoria’s Vital Signs history in 2022.

View the Vital Conversation Digital Report for more details about this series.

 

2023 Spark Fund Recipients

  • Victoria Community Food Hub

    $15,000 – Collaboration & Multi-solve: This application builds on previous support from the Victoria Foundation and contributes to affordable food access by developing long term sustainability for Farm Bucks program, which subsidizes the cost of locally produced food for those unable to afford it. Multi-solve in that it keeps farmers employed with fair payment for produce while providing families with affordable access to highly nutritious local produce. A distinctive element of this proposal is to bring together community food assistance providers to explore ways of sharing assets, to decrease costs and minimize competition for funding.

  • Community Social Planning Council of Greater Victoria

    $15,000 – Community Convening: Conference and dialogue series around housing affordability for the capital region, bringing together local municipal staff and councilors, banking/finance, non-profit housing providers, developers, and relevant community organizations for solutions focused discussions culminating in ‘next steps’ planning. Focus on creating affordable home access and ownership through municipal policy, financing, and development.

  • Saanich Volunteer Services Society

    $5,000 – Scaling multi-solve Pilot: A pilot exploring potential of cross sector partnering between a volunteer senior focused support agency with a for-profit company selling home healthy meal delivery. Saanich Volunteer Services is seeking to increase affordable healthy food access and social connection for local seniors facing isolation and food insecurity. Pilot of partnership will also provide opportunity to test scalability and cost effectiveness of non-profits senior services though such a partnership to serve fast growing population of seniors at risk.

  • Scale Institute Society

    $15,000 – Community Owned Asset Mapping: Map and create a comprehensive visual picture of community-owned (non-profit and municipal) land, buildings, and real estate in the Greater Victoria region. Thereby allowing the identification of community-owned assets that may be under-utilized and/or at risk of privatization. By identifying existing assets, these can potentially be knit together in new ways when developing strategies to address affordability issues locally, and additionally prioritize the retention of community owned assets at the risk of privatization. This work is in partnership with the University of Victoria.

  • Saanich Legacy Foundation

    $5,000 – Community Convening: Funds will be used to catalyze and co-manage a multi-year, multi-modal series of conversations that engage First Nations and general populace on the future of our shared bioregion. Conversations will be rooted in the story of this place and the multiple challenges we face globally and locally, particularly the growing ecological challenges and how they relate to inequality and unaffordability. The discussions will focus on systems transformation rooted in the limits of the planet and ecologically sustainable living that can potentially increase affordability.

  • University of Victoria - Indigenous Asset Mapping Project (funded by Coast Capital)

    $15,000 – Indigenous Community Asset Mapping: Community asset mapping of the South Island region will be a powerful storytelling tool to gain understanding of Indigenous businesses, First Nation (FN) communities and their economic activities. This type of mapping has not been done in this area and it will provide Nations with a tool to track existing assets while determining future priorities and optimizing operations, including collaborations and development. This work will provide critical information and accounting of Indigenous owned assets as foundational information in the development of innovative affordability strategies for local Indigenous communities. This work is in partnership with the Indigenous Prosperity Centre (South Island Prosperity Partnership.) 

  • Saanich Volunteer Services Society (funded by Coast Capital)

    $5,000 – Affordability Literacy Series: A bi-weekly community gathering series for the elderly held at local community and private venues in the area. Focus of the gatherings is providing expert guidance on topics related to affordability. This may include, but is not limited to, budgeting, reverse mortgages, managing utility costs, financial advice, accessing government social programs, and affordable housing options including co-housing. Transportation and food provided for participants. This initiative provides access to social connection and critical finance/affordability information unique to seniors to help them navigate the changes in economy and financial management.