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Government Funding

Community Building Fund: $105M to Support Ontario Culture, Tourism, and Sports

It’s undeniable that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused devastating impacts to the arts and culture, heritage, tourism, sport, and recreation sectors. Between the many lockdowns, social guidelines, and overall concern about the virus, there has been less community involvement all around Ontario. To help reignite safe and social events in Ontario, the Government of Ontario is investing $105 million through a new Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) program called the Community Building Fund to provide grants for eligible organizations in Ontario that are focused on arts, culture, tourism, heritage, sport, and recreation.

“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, our government has been fulfilling a commitment to be there to support those struggling the most. The Community Building Fund will help organizations whose programs and services enhance the quality of life and support jobs across Ontario.”
– Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries

Administered through the OTF, the funding will be available through two program streams. $55 million will be offered through the Operating Stream, which aims to provide non-profit organizations with support to sustain their operations and create new experiences and events for the well-being of their local communities. $50 million will be offered through the Capital Stream that will focus on supporting organizations with infrastructure repairs, including retrofits and rehabilitation to meet COVID-19 public health protocol requirements to better serve local community needs.

The Operating Stream of OTF’s Community Building Fund will open for applications on March 31, 2021, while the program’s Capital Stream is set to open later in 2021.

Funding Snapshot: OTF Community Building Fund

The OTF Community Building Fund will help arts, culture, tourism, heritage, sport, and recreation organizations remain open so that they can continue to improve quality of life and provide services, jobs, educational opportunities, and programming for Ontarians. It is important to note that only expenses incurred in Ontario are eligible for funding.

“OTF is proud to be delivering the Community Building Fund on behalf of the Ontario government and actively participate in our province’s recovery. This is critical new funding for organizations that will help re-invigorate communities across Ontario.”
– Katharine Bambrick, CEO, Ontario Trillium Foundation

The Community Building Fund Operating Stream application intake period will soon open on March 31, 2021 and continue to April 28, 2021.

The application period and additional information for the Capital Stream is yet to be announced. Stay tuned by signing up for the Mentor Works Weekly Funding Newsletter.

Operating Stream: Applicant Eligibility

Eligible organizations need to have a significant presence in the arts and culture, heritage, tourism, sport, and recreation sectors, operate facilities and/or deliver experiences or programs in Ontario that are open to the public, and must be one of the following:

  • A charitable organization or public foundation registered as a charity by the Canada Revenue Agency.
  • An organization incorporated as a not-for-profit corporation without share capital in a Canadian jurisdiction.
  • A First Nation / Métis / Inuit or other Indigenous community.

Ineligible organizations include: Municipalities or municipal agencies, conservation authorities, unincorporated branches or chapters of registered charities or incorporated not-for-profit organizations, for-profit organizations, universities/colleges, hospitals, schools and or government agencies, and organizations outside Ontario.

Operating Stream: Funding Amount

Eligible organizations in Ontario can apply for up to 80% of their total eligible operating expenses or up to 100% for First Nation, Métis, Inuit, or other Indigenous communities with a project maximum based on total eligible operating expenses (based on 2019 financials):

  • Organizations with total eligible operating expenses over $1,000,000 are eligible for up to a maximum of $250,000.
  • Organizations with total eligible operating expenses of $500,000 to $999,000 are eligible for a maximum of $100,000.
  • Organizations with total eligible operating expenses of less than $500,000 are eligible for up to a maximum of $50,000.
  • The total request amount must be a minimum of $10,000. 
  • Grant terms are six or twelve months.

Operating Stream: Eligible Expenses

The Community Building Fund Operating Stream provides grants to eligible organizations in Ontario to cover expenses needed to sustain operations, such as the following:

  • Salaries, mandatory employment-related costs, and employee benefits for staff positions.
  • Innovation and web/virtual costs involved in the delivery of products, programs, and experiences.
  • Equipment to meet the changing needs of the organization, its programs and services, and to adapt to new ways of working such as equipment to meet changing technology, health and safety, personal protective equipment (PPE), and service delivery requirements.  
  • Rent or lease costs for office or programming space.
  • Operational expenditures such as utilities, telephone, and communication services.

Community Building Fund Timelines

Operating Stream

  • Applications will be accepted from March 31, 2021 to April 28, 2021.

Capital Stream

  • More information about the Capital Stream will be available later in 2021.

If you are interested in applying for the Community Building Fund Operating Stream, please contact the Mentor Works team of professional grant writers for support in qualifying your business and streamlining the application process.

Other Ontario Trillium Foundation Grant and Loan Programs

The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) has been awarding funding to sustain strong communities in Ontario for over 30 years. More than $110 million in Ontario government grants are awarded to non-profits annually, enabling them to enhance the well-being of life across Ontario.

Through other grant funding programs such as the Resilient Communities Fund, eligible organizations in Ontario can receive $5k-$500k per year for community building projects that address critical development issues.

The OTF also offers Community Investment Grants, grants through their Youth Opportunities Fund, and financial support through the Local Poverty Reduction Fund. Learn more about how to apply for OTF programs by staying up to date with the latest government funding news and information through our free Weekly Newsletter, or sign up for an upcoming event to learn more about opportunities specific to your business.

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