Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) is a provincial agency who works at arm’s-length from the provincial government to administer non-profit funding programs. For over 30 years OTF has provided a critical source of funding for non-profits, branches of charities, and aboriginal organizations to plan and execute community-based initiatives.
Most non-profit grants provided by the Ontario Trillium Foundation are provided through three streams of funding. Applicants may receive Seed Grants that provide $5,000 to $75,000, Grow Grants valued at $50,000 to $250,000 per year for up to 3 years, or Collective Impact Grants that provide collaborations with up to $500,000 for a maximum 5 years.
Projects for all three streams should focus on providing more community-building programs and services. Each year, OTF provides funding for nearly 1,300 projects. Continue reading this article to identify if your non-profit project is eligible for Ontario government funding.
Ontario Trillium Foundation Non-Profit Grants: Organization Eligibility
Non-profit funding provided by the Ontario Trillium Foundation may be awarded to:
- Incorporated non-profits;
- Unincorporated branches or chapters of a registered charity;
- Aboriginal organizations; and
- Collaborations including of two or more organizations that are working together to achieve a common goal. This must include at least one eligible member noted above.
Project Eligibility Factors for Ontario Trillium Foundation Grants
Types of eligible projects will differ between each of the three government funding streams, however there are six key priority areas that projects should fit into. Ensuring that your non-profit project relates to one of the following areas will help strengthen your Ontario government funding application.
- Active People: Providing better quality programming and infrastructure to support physical activity. This includes encouraging more people to become active in the local community;
- Connected People: Assisting the local community to provide input and feedback about the services and programs that matter to them;
- Green People: Encouraging people to support a healthy and sustainable environment through participation in ecosystem conservation and restoration;
- Inspired People: Building better quality programming and infrastructure to experience culture, heritage, and the arts;
- Promising Young People: Developing children and youth in a positive way by increasing meaningful engagement in the community and improving emotional and social supports; and
- Prosperous People: Enhancing people’s financial well-being through increased economic stability and opportunities.
Ontario Trillium Funding Stream Eligibility Criteria
The following investment streams comprise OTF non-profit funding. Ensure that your organization is eligible for one of the following streams prior to applying for funding.
‘Seed Investment’ Stream Grants
Seed grants assist the implementation of new projects that are currently in the idea or conceptual stage. This stream focuses on the development of new projects only, existing programs or recurring projects should seek funding from the ‘Grow Investment’ stream.
Eligible projects include:
- Researching or conducting feasibility studies;
- Testing new approaches to community issues;
- Hosting discussions about emerging issues; and
- Creating a new event or idea.
‘Grow Investment’ Stream Grants
Grow grants seek to build on the past success of projects. Proven community-building and development projects may receive recurring contributions for 2-3 years to enhance the program and continue its success. Projects should be strongly linked to one of the six priority areas noted above.
Eligible projects include:
- Replicating, adapting or scaling a proven project or solution; and
- Piloting or demonstrating a tested project or solution.
‘Collective Impact Investment’ Stream Grants
Collective Impact grants support projects that require two or more stakeholders. These stakeholders often share similar missions or seek to address a complex social issue together. Eligible collectives will contain at least one eligible non-profit participant and another member who can also contribute towards project or program success.
Eligible projects must develop, execute, and evaluate a program through the following stages:
- Problem identification;
- Hypothesis testing and building the case for a challenge;
- Conceptualizing a plan of action;
- Developing a comprehensive plan to overcome a community issue;
- Implement the documented plan; and
- Evaluating, through evidence and data collection, how successful the project was.
Expense Eligibility for Ontario Trillium Fund Grants
Although eligibility of expenses differs from one funding stream to another, Ontario Trillium Foundation will generally provide project funding for:
- Direct personnel expenses;
- Purchased services;
- Meetings and workshops;
- Supplies, equipment, and materials;
- Travel; and
- Project outcome evaluation.
Expenses Not Eligible for OTF Non-Profit Funding
Some project expenses are ineligible for grant coverage from the Ontario Trillium Foundation. These include:
- Recurring or operational expenses not directly linked to the proposed project;
- Expenses that cannot be directly linked to one of the six priority areas;
- Repairs; and
- New buildings.