CDF Grant Application Process

The Catherine Donnelly Foundation reviews grant applications twice per year, in February and August. Review the process and get started.

Overview

The Catherine Donnelly Foundation operates with a two stage application review process:

 

  1. Letter of Inquiry (pre-proposal inquiry) and an
  2. Invited Applicant (full application process)

 

All applicants are encouraged to review our Application Guidelines prior to submitting a Letter of Inquiry.

 

A Review Committee will evaluate Letters of Inquiry for their adherence with CDF objectives and criteria. If you are successful with the Letter of Inquiry submission you will be invited to submit a full application through our on-line application portal.

 

The Catherine Donnelly Foundation Board currently reviews grant application requests twice yearly to determine successful applications based on the recommendations of its committees.

 

Please note that the grant application process takes approximately eight weeks from the invited application deadline until board review and approval for all three areas of focus (Adult Education, Environment, and Housing).

 

The Catherine Donnelly Foundation will not consider funding the following:

  • Retroactive funding
  • Fundraising campaigns
  • Operating deficits
  • Projects outside of Canada
  • Emergency appeals
  • Purely commercial recordings or film projects

 

Potential applicants are strongly advised to contact the Foundation office prior to submitting a Letter of Inquiry.

NEXT LETTER OF INQUIRY DEADLINE

February 2022

MCT_Logo

“Mixed Company Theatre engages communities in theatre for social change and our projects need support from people who understood the complex, deep-rooted work we do with communities. The Catherine Donnelly Foundation provided us just that - their approach to project support and funding takes a bottom-up approach, is grounded in reality, and puts community learning and growth above all else! Ever since our first collaboration in 2018, CDF has supported our projects not only with funds, but with the patience, flexibility, and nuanced understanding of impact that community development work needs. And we are ever grateful to them for this.”

Swetha Ranaganathan

General Manager, Mixed Company Theatre

 

How it works

Adult Education for Social Change Initiatives

The Catherine Donnelly Foundation takes a proactive approach to adult education, viewing it as an important tool to address the most pressing social, environmental, cultural and community development problems and concerns today. We are committed to supporting projects that promote active citizenship, democracy, personal and social transformation by fostering the development of critical consciousness and skills required to promote a more just, equitable and sustainable society in Canada.

Applicants seeking a grant will submit a Letter of Inquiry via our on-line application portal. The inquiry letter should include a short overview of the project and purpose for which assistance is required; a brief description of how the project achieves the goals of the Foundation; briefly, your philosophy of adult education and the role it plays in your organization; the mission and/or vision of your organization; along with a brief budget and time-line of activities.

For further details on the Letter of Inquiry process see the Application Guidelines.

Those organizations invited to submit a full proposal will receive notification via our on-line grant portal approximately 7 weeks after submitting their Letter of Interest.

Environment Initiatives

The Catherine Donnelly Foundation is intent on promoting climate justice and accelerating the transition to a post-carbon world. The Catherine Donnelly Foundation’s Environment Program seeks to build momentum and mobilize public opinion around the just industries, livelihoods, and economy of the future that prioritizes green jobs as part of a low-carbon economy, that supports place-based, resilient, wellbeing economies that protect workers’ rights, eradicate poverty, distribute wealth equitably, and uphold human rights.

Applicants seeking a grant will submit a Letter of Inquiry via our on-line application portal. The inquiry letter should include a brief description of how the project achieves the goals of the Foundation; a short overview of the project or purpose for which assistance is required; the organization’s history and objectives; along with a brief budget and time-line of activities.

For further details on the Letter of Inquiry process see the Application Guidelines.

Those organizations invited to submit a full proposal will receive notification via our on-line grant portal approximately 7 weeks after submitting their Letter of Interest.

Housing Initiatives

The Foundation will consider applications for projects that address homelessness and the scandalous lack of affordable housing through research, policy development, capacity building and advocacy within the sector. We want to hear from groups engaged in collective efforts to examine and craft solutions for the root causes of Canada’s housing crisis. We particularly want to support innovative and cutting edge projects that give priority to Indigenous Peoples and to newcomer/refugee/immigrant communities.

Applicants seeking a grant will submit a Letter of Inquiry via our on-line application portal. The inquiry letter should include a brief description of how the project achieves the goals of the Foundation; a short overview of the project or purpose for which assistance is required; the organization’s history and objectives; along with a brief budget and time-line of activities.

For further details on the Letter of Inquiry process see the Application Guidelines.

Those organizations invited to submit a full proposal will receive notification via our on-line grant portal approximately 7 weeks after submitting their Letter of Interest.

Do you have questions?
We have answers.

Eligibility

The Catherine Donnelly Foundation takes a proactive approach to adult education, viewing it as an important tool to address the most pressing social, environmental, cultural and community development problems and concerns today.

We are committed to supporting projects that promote active citizenship, democracy, personal and social transformation by fostering the development of critical consciousness and skills required to promote a more just, equitable and sustainable society in Canada.

The Foundation considers applications from groups and organizations that use adult education processes that promote justice and equity for new Canadians, refugees, migrant workers, Indigenous peoples and other marginalized or excluded populations.

The Catherine Donnelly Foundation is intent on promoting climate justice and accelerating the transition to a post-carbon world. The Foundation's Environment Program seeks to build momentum and mobilize public opinion around the just industries, livelihoods, and economy of the future that prioritizes green jobs as part of a low-carbon economy, that supports place-based, resilient, wellbeing economies that protect workers’ rights, eradicate poverty, distribute wealth equitably, and uphold human rights. This includes:

 

  • Showing leaders there is appetite to build a new economy - by informing and seeding public opinion, supporting public engagement and mobilization around a just recovery, including grassroots or organizing work
  • Organizing and strengthening key sectors of the new economy to build robust economic power
  • Creating and sharing positive and empowering new narratives of hope. Much public discussion focuses on what is wrong with institutions or systems rather than the creation and dissemination of positive new narratives about how we want to live together.
  • Creation of a collective power base through collaboration across different communities, sectors and geographies in Canada to build agreement around goals, values and principles such as an inclusive, equitable, anti-racist, gender-inclusive, and just green economy.
  • Particular interest in projects arising from or engaging with communities and voices that have traditionally been marginalized and excluded (racialized, low-income, Indigenous) in building the new economy around the following: renewable energy, restoration, conservation economy, green buildings, electric vehicles, local food systems, circular economy (to name a few)
  • Enhancing capacity within First Nation, Métis and Inuit communities and sharing their worldview of an interconnected relationship with nature as a foundation or model for building a sustainable future.

The Foundation supports projects that address homelessness and the scandalous lack of affordable housing through research, policy development, effective and independent communication initiatives, capacity building and advocacy within the sector. We want to hear from groups engaged in collective efforts to examine and craft solutions for the root causes of Canada's housing crisis.

 

We particularly want to support projects that advance the cause of affordable and appropriate housing in collaboration with First Nations, Metis and Inuit peoples in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action and projects that advance the cause of affordable and appropriate housing for newcomer, refugee and immigrant communities.

Grant applicants to the Catherine Donnelly Foundation must be Canadian registered charities or qualified donees under Canadian Revenue Agency guidelines. Non-profit groups working in partnership with a Canadian sponsoring charitable organization or a qualified donee can also apply.

No. The Catherine Donnelly Foundation only considers organizations for grants.

No. The Catherine Donnelley Foundation only supports and funds projects implemented in Canada.

Sorry, but the Catherine Donnelly Foundation does not grant outside our funding priorities.

If your project overlaps with more than one of our funding areas, you will need to choose the one with the most alignment and apply through that funding stream. We encourage you to contact staff who can offer advice on which program to apply under.

Organizations and submissions that are rejected at one stage in the granting process, can re-apply at the next grant cycle. However, they are strongly encouraged to discuss project concept with Foundation staff prior to making a new submission.

Past grant recipients may re-apply for funding and submit a new letter of inquiry, once their first project has been fully completed and a Final Report has been submitted and approved by the Foundation.

Yes. Applications are considered based on guidelines set out by the Catherine Donnelly Foundation. Many of our programs/projects are supported by a range of funders: foundations, government, private sector and communities. In fact, we generally prefer it if projects are jointly funded, although it is not a requirement.

Currently the Foundation does not accept unsolicited proposals for multi-year project funding. The Foundation is, however, committed to funding social change and will seek out longer-term partnerships with social change agents and groups that share its vision and objectives. Often multi-year projects emerge through relationships the Foundation has built through funding and other collaborations.

 

Inquiries regarding longer-term funding partnership opportunities should be directed to: Anne Mark, Director of Programs, at amark@catherinedonnellyfoundation.org.

In addition to our grantmaking, the Catherine Donnelly Foundation leverages its assets to create social good through impact investing. For more information on impact investment contact Cindy Alexander, Finance Administrator at calexander@catherinedonnellyfoundation.org.

About the Grants

The Catherine Donnelly Foundation provides one-year project grants generally in the $10,000 to $50,000 range. Our average grant amount is $25,000. The maximum you may request is $50,000.

The CDF Board of Directors meets twice a year to select projects to be awarded a grant. This takes place approximately three to four months after Letters of Inquiry are submitted.

We are fairly flexible and funding requests may be designated to a wide range of project expenses determined by the applicant to meet your proposed project plans, however, the Catherine Donnelly Foundation will not consider funding the following:

 

  • Retroactive funding
  • Fund raising campaigns
  • Operating deficits
  • Projects outside of Canada
  • Emergency appeals
  • Purely commercial recordings or film projects

The Catherine Donnelly Foundation seeks programs/projects that work with others to build on one another’s strengths to pursue radical systems change. Among the values that we look for are:

 

  • Work in areas where the needs are greatest
  • Work with persons not served or reached by traditional programs
  • Projects or programs that have promise as a model for imitation in other Canadian communities and will train others to set up similar programs – projects that are replicable or scalable
  • Projects that partner with other like-valued organizations to achieve shared goals

Applying

The Catherine Donnelly Foundation has a call for Letters of Inquiry twice a year. Please check CDF website for specific deadlines set by the Foundation.

The CDF grant application process is done online. Applicants must create an account in our system to make a submission. The system allows applicants to work and save as they go, and then submit once ready before the deadline. Postal mail, fax or email submissions to the Foundation will not be considered.

The Catherine Donnelly Foundation operates with a two-stage application review process:

  1. Letter of Inquiry (pre-proposal inquiry) and
    Invited Applicant (full-application process)
  2. A Review Committee will evaluate Letters of Inquiry for their coherence with CDF objectives and criteria. Due to the volume of grant requests, only a small group of applicants are invited to submit a full application.

If you are successful with the Letter of Inquiry submission you will be invited to submit a full application through our on-line grant portal. Due to available funds in each grant cycle, not all applicants who are invited to submit a full application will receive funding.

The inquiry letter would include:

  • The mission and/or vision of your organization;
  • A short overview of the project and purpose for which assistance is required;
  • A brief description of how the project achieves the goals of the Foundation;
  • A brief budget and time-line of activities

 

Organizations applying to the Adult Education funding stream will additionally be asked about your philosophy of adult education and the role it plays in your organization.

The Catherine Donnelly Foundation understands some organizations don’t have the resources to submit a full application. We also appreciate that traditional foundation requirements tend to favour groups already benefiting from privilege. That’s why we like to be flexible regarding the submission of applications. If you feel your organization requires a unique approach please speak to our program staff.

Due to the large number of submissions, CDF staff is not able to provide specific feedback about a rejected Letter of Inquiry. However, CDF staff is able to provide feedback and comments via phone or email to applicants regarding their projects prior to making a formal submission.

The Catherine Donnelly Foundation is committed to an open and flexible granting process that prioritizes the needs of those seeking to partner with us.

 

Should you consider applying to one of our granting streams, we strongly advise you to contact the Foundation prior to submitting a letter of inquiry. Contact Acting Grants and Logistics Coordinator, Hamshaa Sivaruban at 416-461-2996 ext 203 or hsivaruban@catherinedonnellyfoundation.org. 

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