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Funding opportunities for non-profit or charitable organizations

The following funding opportunities are selected for their potential fit with the activities of non-profit organizations or charities working in the Forest and Freshwater Foods sector. Sustainable food, a sustainable environment, cultural heritage, community and economic development as well improved business infrastructure are all themes of interest in this sector. The funding opportunities presented here reflect these diverse concerns and possibilities in the sector. This page contains links to foundations and government programs which provide funds in the form of loans, (partial) grants as well as non-financial support services. The list is by no mean exhaustive, but perhaps a start in your search for project funds.

  • Private Foundation Funding

Trillium Foundation – Province wide program

Full grants are available to cover capital, operating or project costs to support organizations in providing community-based learning opportunities that build skills and prospects for employment. Removing Aboriginal barriers to employment is a granting priority. Cultural and artistic activities and activities aimed at preserving cultural heritage are also supported.To be eligible for funding, the proposed project will need to take place in 3 catchment areas in the province or 2 in Northern Ontario. A collaborative effort with a provincial impact or mandate, or a model initiative may also be considered for funding. Grants: max $250.000, up to 5 years. Deadlines: 4 times a year.

For more information visit: http://www.otf.ca/en/applyForaGrant/province_wide.asp  

Trillium Foundation – Community Program

The community program has grants available to cover the operational, project and capital costs of charities, non-profits or aboriginal communities in delivering services that provide skills training and improve employment opportunities and economic potential for workers. The program may also support projects focused on the environment, health as well as cultural and artistic activities. Financial support of up to $75.000 may be available.

For more information visit: http://www.otf.ca/en/applyForaGrant/community_grants.asp

Trillium Foundation – Community Capital Fund

This program funds community infrastructures or infrastructure projects organized through non-profits, aboriginal groups, charities and strategic alliances. The program may grant up to $500.000 (to cover a total of 50% of the budget) which may be used to fund new constructions or the revitalization of existing community spaces. Eligible expenses also include capital assets such as vehicles, computers or IT-systems.

For more information visit: http://www.otf.ca/en/grantRecipients/ccf.asp

Farm Credit Canada – Agri-Spirit Fund

With the Agri-Spirit fund, FCC is looking to support capital projects in rural communities with a population of less than 100.000. Examples of previously funded projects include recreation centres and community gardens. There is $5000 to $25.000 in partial grant funding available for eligible recipients. Non-profit organization may apply but must have a municipal partner, possibly a First Nation Band. Project must be accessible to all community members. Funds are for capital costs only (e.g. equipment or infrastructure). The Agri-Spirit fund reviews applications on an ongoing basis.

More information at: http://www.fcc-fac.ca/en/AboutUs/Responsibility/agrispiritfund_e.asp

Small Change Fund – North of the 55 Fund

The Small Change Fund is a crowd-funding platform which aims to help projects get access to individual donors across Canada. The Small Change Fund will provide you with their online platform and assist with your fundraising strategies. If your project community-based, has an environment or aboriginal focus and takes place in Northern Ontario, you could look into the North of the 55 Fund through which they have a number of grants available. To be eligible for these funds (max. $5000) your organization has to be a grassroots charity or registered aboriginal band in Canada. The Small Change Fund accepts applications on an ongoing basis.

For more information, please visit: http://smallchangefund.org/submit-a-project/

Big Carrot – Carrot Cache

The Big Carrot in Toronto is a worker’s co-op. The Carrot Cache funds worker cooperatives and organizations interested in local, organic agriculture and community food strategies. Every year they support organizations in Ontario who are working to develop a ‘regional food hub’. The projects need to have community component and be concerned with “good food as a right”. They provide grants in the range of $500 to $5000 as well as business loans that must be supported by a business plan. They do not fund conferences, feasibility studies or business plans and prefer multiple funding sources. An application will be sent only after discussing the project idea with Carrot Cache staff.

Deadlines: Applications are reviewed in May, September and January.

For more information visit: http://carrotcache.com/faq/index.html

Greenbelt Foundation – Greenbelt Fund

The Greenbelt Foundation is a private foundation in Southern Ontario which has a granting program for non-profits and charities operating in Toronto’s Greenbelt. The Greenbelt Fund funds projects in 2 main program areas: A Successful 2015 Review (reviewing land-use policies in the Greenbelt) and Strengthening Greenbelt Farm Viability. Eligible project costs include event coordination, communications, human resources (including salary and benefits), supplies, planning, printing, translation and travel. The foundation prefers to see collaborative efforts and public awareness campaigns integrated into the projects. Projects have to be located in the Greenbelt and are generally funded for one year, though multi-year grants are possible. They do not fund: primary research, infrastructure, capital campaigns, deficit financing, ecological restorations, endowments, new farmers markets, land claim disputes, projects occurring outside the Greater Golden Horseshoe, projects undertaken by other levels of government, sponsorships, festivals or events.

Deadline: September of each year.

For more information please visit: http://greenbelt.ca/grants

McConnell Foundation – Sustainable Food Systems Program

The McConnell Foundation is a private foundation providing long-term grants (2-4 years) to projects that are Canada-wide in their scope (rather than ‘local’ projects). Key priorities of the foundation are Inclusion, Sustainability, Resilience and Innovation. They also have an Aboriginal-focused granting program.

Deadline: You can fill out the initial online application to determine eligibility and suitability at any time. Only charitable organizations are eligible to apply.

Please visit: http://www.mcconnellfoundation.ca/en/granting/

Ivey Foundation – Conserving Canada’s Forest Program

The Ivey Foundation is a private charitable foundation focused on environmental sustainability in Canada. They wish to fund charitable environmental organizations with a demonstrated capability to effect change. Projects which target policy reforms or market outcomes take priority. Collaborative approach encouraged. Their forest program aims to increase the amount of protected forest in Canada and expand sustainable forest practices. They can provide project funding for up to 3 years, maximum grant is $150.000.

Deadlines: The Ivey Foundation is not currently accepting unsolicited applications as they transition to a new programmatic direction. When active, they do accept ‘letters of inquiry’ for the forest program. Proposals are to be developed in close collaboration with foundation staff.

For more information, please visit: http://www.ivey.org/

Metcalf Foundation – Reinventing Growth Program

The Metcalf Foundation’s is a private foundation which funds performing arts, environmental projects and projects aimed at improving economic livelihoods and access to quality jobs for low-income people. The Reinventing Growth Program invites applications from non-profits for activities that can demonstrate the possibility of strengthening the environment and the economy while improving community well-being. The Metcalf Foundation only supports registered charities which are based and operate in Southern Ontario.

For more information: http://metcalffoundation.com/what-we-fund/environment-program/#healthy-lands

Helen McCrea Peacock Foundation

The Peacock Foundation supports charities in Ontario who work on environmental concerns in the area of land conservation, restoration and stewardship, wildlife biodiversity protection and education, agricultural/food and environmental education as well as watershed conservation. Canadian registered charities can receive up to $10,000 in project funding.

Deadline: The foundation accepts applications in May each year.

For more information please visit: https://torontofoundation.ca/helen-mccrea-peacock-foundation


  • Co-operative funding

Ontario Co-operative association

If you are a co-op or interested forming one, the Ontario Co-operative Association has a lot of resources as well as a list of potential funding sources available.

Please visit: http://www.ontario.coop/programs_services/coop_development/starting_a_coop

  • Social Investment Funds

Social Investment Fund – Canadian Alternative Investment Co-op

CAIC provides open loans, step-up loans and principle repayment structures for non-profit organizations and cooperatives. They focus on social enterprise financing and consider lending when other options are not available to the applicant. Those non-profits pursuing social enterprising activities to finance their organization should explore this funding opportunity further.

For more information please visit: http://www.caic.ca/

SVX – SVX invest for impact

SVX invests in social ventures through debt products (bonds, loans, loan guarantees etc.) and private equity (shares, limited partnership etc.). Social ventures which can be listed on the SVX website include non-profits, co-operatives, and social-purpose businesses which have a clear mission and social impact. Ventures should operate in the ‘social field’ (creating opportunities, breaking cycle of poverty) or the ‘environmental field’ (working towards a sustainable environment).

For more information please visit: http://www.svx.ca/

Social Investment Fund – Community Forward Fund

The Community Forward Fund provides ‘growth financing’ for non-profits and charities which have a ‘cash flow’ coming in and a revenue of over $250,000. The fund provides financial coaching services and access to loans. Loans may be used to finance the expansion of programs, to grow earned income, to purchase or renovate buildings and equipment or to manage timing of other money coming in to cover operational costs. Loans given out are typically between $35,000 and $250,000 dollars but larger loans may be considered.

For more information please visit: http://www.communityforwardfund.ca/

  • Government Programs

Ontario Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Rural Affairs – Traceability Foundations Initiative

The objective of this program is to enhance information sharing capacity and adoption of voluntary information sharing systems for food traceability in order to improve food safety. Program funds can be used to research and pilot traceability system, and develop and implement software. Organizations and value chain applicants can receive up to 75 per cent of their total project budget, to a maximum of 5 million dollars.

Deadline: July of each year.

For more information: http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/food/foodsafety/grants/index.htm

Ministry of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry – Strategic economic Infrastructure Program

This program is part of the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund and provides partial grants or repayable loans to develop infrastructure and facilities in communities in Northern Ontario in order to improve economic prospects. Your project must demonstrate self-sustainability, provide new economic benefits and create jobs. The program may fund community infrastructure, facilities needed for job creation, community development projects (when creating direct jobs), research projects and small capital projects. The program can fund up to 50% of infrastructure projects and assistance in the form of ‘forgivable performance loans’ or ‘repayable loans’ is also available. Partnerships and alliances between municipalities, private sector businesses and organizations as well as government related agencies are eligible. First Nations, non-profit organizations and educational institutes may apply individually.

Deadline: Ongoing. You can find the application form on the website below. Applications to this program will be accepted until March 31, 2017.


FedDev Ontario – Eastern Ontario Development Program

The Eastern Ontario Development Program is delivered by the 15 Community Futures Development Corporations (CFDC) located in Eastern Ontario. Through partial grants, repayable loans and other services, this program supports projects in the following areas: 1. Projects that will lead to the growth of new and existing businesses within rural eastern Ontario communities; 2. Community Innovation projects that enable community-led economic development enhancing and diversifying local economies; 3. Collaborative projects which involve and benefit multiple communities. You may contact your local CFDC for detailed eligible activities based on the type of project being proposed. CFDCs also provide business counseling and referrals, entrepreneurial training, export support and more. They are able to support your businesses (incl. start-ups) with up to $150.000 in repayable loans. Deadline: Applications are to be made to the CFDC in your area – on an ongoing basis.

For more information:


FedNor – Northern Ontario Development Program

Provide partial grants to businesses and collaborations in Northern Ontario to fund projects as well as capital costs aimed at economic development, business competitiveness and innovations. This can include project such as getting your business export ready or efforts aimed at expanding an economic sector.

Deadlines: The program accepts applications on an ongoing basis.

For more information visit: http://fednor.gc.ca/eic/site/fednor-fednor.nsf/eng/fn03467.html


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