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Funding. Anyone?

Updated on October 31, 2009

Funding grants for not-for profit and charitable organizations

Funding, anyone? Ontario Trillium Foundation reaches out to applicants from ethnic communities.

Do you have an idea that you think will benefit the community, but were not quite sure how to get it off the ground?

Now is the time to let your voice be heard and thoughts known.

The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF), one of the leading funding agencies of the government, is reaching out to various ethnic communities across the province and offering technical tips as well as grants of up to hundreds of thousands of dollars to eligible volunteer, not-for-profit (NFP) and charitable organizations.

Unfazed by the current tough economic times, OTF encourages grassroots organizations to submit project proposals that will address the needs and challenges identified in their communities.

“We are well aware that the demographics in Ontario are changing and we want the ethnic communities to know that we can be a source of funding that organizations can approach for their programs,” declared OTF’s Chief Executive Officer Robin Cardozo during a recent roundtable dialogue with members of the province’s ethnic press.

Cardozo said that Trillium is even taking a more personal approach in assisting potential applicants instead of simply referring them to its website. He urged groups to contact them directly and obtain guidance from their knowledgeable staff to get a good fit when sending in their applications.

“Give us a call or talk to our staff. We can help and guide your organizations about ideas to strengthen your applications,” stressed Cardozo. “We want you to be interested in the work that we do and be aware of us,” urged the CEO.

A recent statistical profile released by OTF indicated that Toronto continues to be the most diverse region in Ontario with one out of two residents born outside Canada. The region’s strong immigrant population, according to the report, continues to grow as Trillium responds to the demographic trends and helps guide decision-makers as new developments emerge.

An agency of the Ministry of Culture, Trillium distributes grants in four sectors namely: arts and culture; environment; sports and recreation and human and social services. OTF awards about $120 million annually to some 1,500 groups representing Ontarians of all social and cultural backgrounds. The agency has 16 offices across the province serving regional and local communities.

The grants support activities such as access to cultural programs, social services and support, education and training as well as recreational opportunities. OTF funding helps organizations build their capacity through organizational development, strategic or business planning, volunteer recruitment and training, enhanced marketing and fundraising capabilities. Capital grants also support repairs and renovations to facilities and technological improvements.

Patricia Else, Grant Operations Director, said that submitted applications are reviewed by the Grant Review Team composed of volunteers, who make recommendations according to identified issues and needs of the communities.

Else said that OTF grants vary from one year to multi-year (up to five years) funding in the amount of $10,000 up to $800,000, depending on the context of the community project and its visibility. She added that OTF also provides funding for staffing of organizations.

In discussions with the media, the foundation’s CEO pointed out that Trillium also opens wide its doors to new or lesser-known groups.

Cardozo said that unregistered grassroots organizations could still apply for grants if they collaborate or work in partnership with duly incorporated NFP and charitable organizations that are willing to submit the proposals on their behalf.

He indicated that half of the agency’s 1,500 successful proposals come from first time applicants.

One major consideration in determining an application, according to Cardozo is the proposed program’s impact on the people.

“Even if it’s an entirely new organization that applies, Trillium considers whether or not the grant’s impact has enough base to benefit,” explained Cardozo, adding that OTF also looks for evidence of support from volunteers and members of organizations.

While Trillium staff regularly fan out across the province as part of their outreach service, interested regional organizations can also request for local workshops, conducted by seasoned personnel, to guide them and increase the chances of success in their applications. Workshops at OTF’s main office in Toronto are held three times a year.

OTF is also working to simplify its application process for grants in the amount of $15,000 or less by providing online applications on its website.

Human and social services such as after school projects; seniors’ programs and job training initiatives may be eligible for funding, said Cardozo.

When asked if OTF would assist temporary workers, Cardozo cited the grants distributed in community centres in the Niagara region that trains agricultural workers from Mexico and other itinerant employees in the farms. He also affirmed that programs benefiting live-in caregivers may be considered to help them in terms of job training, resume-writing and the likes in preparation for their entry into the mainstream workforce.

Deadlines for submitting applications are July 1st; November 1st and March 1st. Applicants normally receive response from OTF within 120 days after filing.

Toronto’s Kababayan Community Centre and Mississauga’s Kalayaan Community Centre are known past recepients of Trillium’s grants.

Source: Faye Arellano


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  • MercuryNewsOnline profile image

    MercuryNewsOnline 8 years ago from Toronto, Canada

    Good comment and food for thought.

  • lmmartin profile image

    lmmartin 8 years ago from Alberta and Florida

    I'm sure this is a good idea and a worthy one. But I must say, like many others wasp-type Canadians, we grow weary of public money whose purpose is tied up in "ethnic" pursuits. Why not just set up the programs to assist those that need it without the ethnic branding? Can you imagine the hue and cry should a government funded program be set up called "Fund to assist white, Canadian born single mothers hoping to enter the work force?" We'd never hear the end of it.