Non-profits, charities, and social enterprises play a vital role in communities providing much needed support and services. Funding is a critical aspect of fulfilling their missions, and while many rely on donations, grants provided a much-needed additional source of revenue. In Ontario, there are several grant options available to help support these initiatives and fill the gap. Here are some top sources of grants and funding in Ontario.
The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) was founded in 1982 and has spent the last 50 years distributing government funding from the Ministry of Tourism, Culture, and Sport as well as the Ministry of Children, Community, and Social Services. Over the past four decades, the OTF has invested over $2.6 billion in Ontario communities. The OTF offers grants across various sectors, including arts and culture, sports and recreation, environment, and social services. They focus on providing grants to grantees that will have an impact on building healthy and vibrant communities and fostering community engagement.
The Community Foundation grants are distributed through 201 community foundations across Canada they’re designed to help donors match their interests with community needs. These foundations offer grants to non-profits and social enterprises working within their respective regions. Through people partners, and projects they work to support pressing social issues in Canada and create a just sustainable future with grants focussing on specific community needs with the goal of enhancing social, economic, and environmental well-being.
For non-profits, charities, and social enterprises engaged in sustainable agriculture and food systems, the Greenbelt Fund provides grants to support initiatives that strengthen local food economies, reduce environmental impacts, and promote healthy eating. This funding empowers organizations to enhance food security and sustainability across the province. They strive to encourage Ontarians to select food from Ontario farmers first. They have three streams:
- The Broader Public Grant Sector stream is aimed at public sector institutions like municipal daycares, long-term care homes, hospitals, universities, and colleges.
- Local Food Literacy Grant Stream is designed to increase awareness about locally grown food and its availability by consumers, retailers, wholesalers, food service operators, associations, and governments.
- Market Access Grant Stream is designed to put Ontario-grown food in the supply chain from food hubs and markets to nurturing food value chain demand and relationships.
The Ontario Arts Council supports a variety of Ontario-based arts and disciplines. They offer grants to artists, art professionals, ad-hoc groups, organizations, and collectives. The grants fall under one-time project grants or ongoing operating grants. The OAC offers four funding streams: Creating and Presenting, Building Audiences and Markets, Engaging Communities and Schools, and Developing Careers and Arts Services. You will have to select from a stream to find the right program for your organization.
The Community Forward Fund is a private lending firm dedicated to supporting non-profits, charities, and social enterprises. They offer loans between $50,000 and $1,250,000 in the form of term loans, mortgages, bridge loans, revolving lines of credit, and revenue-linked loans. They offer a 2-minute self-assessment to help you determine if your needs are a good fit for their program.
Ontario is very supportive of non-profits, charities, and social enterprises. These groups will find access to funding, grants, and support at multiple levels of government and privately. Whether you are an independent artist or social entrepreneur, an Ontario farmer, or a larger charity hosting numerous fundraising events throughout the year, financial support can be found through government programs, agencies, and independent groups. By leveraging these resources, non-profits, and social enterprises can amplify their impact, create positive change, and contribute to a more inclusive and sustainable future for all Ontarians.