Community grants

Suburbs

Kitchener offers community grant opportunities to not for profit community organizations and groups that provide services in the areas of arts and culture/special events, community support and development, and minor sports and recreation.

Sports grants are offered to affiliated minor sports groups who provide programming to youth 18 years of age and under.

Further details about the community grant program are provided in the policy below.

2019 community grants application process

The application window for the 2019 community grant program will open in the Fall of 2018

Application deadline: Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018 at 5 p.m.

Public information session

Want to learn more about the community grants program? Attend the public information session:

Wednesday, Nov. 14, 5 - 6 p.m.
Conestoga Room, ground floor, Kitchener City Hall
200 King St, West, Kitchener

Find out if your request might qualify for a community grant, learn more about the process and have your questions answered. 

For more information, please contact Kathleen Woodcock at 519-741-2200, ext. 7597.

Policy

Note: This is an excerpt of the City of Kitchener’s Community Investment Policy (FIN-GRA-525), and contains information pertaining to Community Grants (Tier 2).

 A healthy and vibrant City embraces and nurtures its not for profit organizations and community groups. It views them as partners in the quest to serve residents. It realizes how important is the grassroots desire for people to feel that they belong; to be engaged with others in accomplishing meaningful activity. And, it knows the relationships between engagement and healthy, safe communities.

These organizations and groups exist to do important work with no motive of financial gain. They come into existence because volunteers see a need and rally support from the community to create and deliver new programs, services and facilities. They are a channel for the human desire to help one another, to give back to a community that has enabled healthy, high quality living.

The City of Kitchener recognizes the fundamental importance of working side by side with these groups and organizations, continually reaffirming the appropriate roles for all parties. Sometimes the municipality is best able to marshal and deliver community wide services. In other circumstances community groups and organizations are much closer to understanding the evolving needs and interests of residents, and hence better able to provide services specifically tailored to those needs. As well, they can innovate because they can take risks not appropriate for a municipality.

Engaging residents as volunteers involves them more directly with their community and enables them to contribute to community building. In the end, not only is a greater range of services made available to residents than the municipality could provide on its own, but individual citizens are provided with opportunities to become involved, contribute, be better connected to their neighbourhood and in their own way help to shape the community for future generations. 

Purpose

Community grants Tier 2 are intended to provide assistance to organizations/groups that provide services within the City of Kitchener for the common good of residents.

Only organizations/groups providing not for profit municipal services in the areas of arts and culture/special events, sports and recreation, and community support and development will be considered for funding.

 The purpose of Tier 2 grants is to provide funding for:

  • operating support to enable the provision of the basic service of the organization
  • project support
  • special event support
  • equipment support

(‘equipment’ is defined as materials required for the basic service to operate, i.e. consumable items having a lifespan of less than three years; grant requests of a ‘capital’ nature are ineligible for funding; ‘capital’ is defined as the acquisition of an infrastructure or asset having a lifespan of three years or greater)

Criteria

Tier 2 services must meet the following criteria:

  1. Services provided by the organization/group for which funding is requested must demonstrably meet Council’s strategic objectives as documented in the City of Kitchener Strategic Plan and other policy documents.

  2. Services provided by the organization/group for which funding is requested must be considered a municipal responsibility and not be the responsibility of other levels of government; services such as health care, social services, training and education are not eligible.

  3. Services provided by the organization/group for which funding is requested must not be precluded under the Municipal Act, e.g. religious services.

  4. Services provided by the organization/group for which funding is requested must not already be provided by the City or by other groups funded by the City of Kitchener; requests from organizations/groups that provide similar services as provided by the municipality must be assessed as to whether there is a duplication of services; the municipality will not issue grants for services that conflict with or are in direct competition with programs operated internally.

  5. Services provided by the organization/group for which funding is requested must be provided directly to the citizens of Kitchener, i.e. grants are for direct programs only.  Grant applications from organizations that themselves distribute grants to other organizations will not be considered, i.e. fundraising events are not eligible.  Service clubs are eligible to apply for funding if the purpose of the event they are sponsoring is deemed to be a municipal responsibility and the event is city-wide, targeted toward a broad cross-section of the community.

  6. Grant applications submitted by individuals or ‘part groups’ of an organization/group will not be considered.

  7. Volunteer organizations/groups planning an event to raise funds to support an organization/group that is receiving a City of Kitchener grant will be not considered for Tier 2 funding.

  8. Organizations/groups applying for funding who offer services to residents outside of the City of Kitchener are strongly encouraged to also approach all other relevant municipalities for funding.

  9. Organizations/groups wishing to be considered for community grants Tier 2 do not need to be incorporated as not for profit corporations; however, budgets and subsequent accounting must not show an excess of revenue over expenses; applicants must demonstrate the capability to manage and govern the program or project, usually evidenced by the existence of an executive committee or coordinating board.

  10. Organizations/groups are encouraged to ensure as much inclusive public participation and access as possible, e.g. minimum charge or no admission charge whenever possible.

  11. Any organization/group applying for funds will give regard to the inclusion and accommodation of persons with a disability.

  12. Any organization/group applying for funds that is in arrears and/or in litigation with the City of Kitchener is ineligible.
Process 

Organizations/groups applying for funding to the City of Kitchener for the first time or those who have received Tier 2 grants in previous years are eligible to apply for:

  • Operating support to enable the provision of the basic service of the organization
  • Project support
  • Special event support
  • Equipment support

(‘equipment’ is defined as materials required for the basic service to operate, i.e. consumable items having a lifespan of less than three years; grant requests of a ‘capital’ nature are ineligible for funding; ‘capital is defined as the acquisition of an infrastructure or asset having a lifespan of three years or greater)
Tier 1 groups are eligible to apply for Tier 2 funding only for one time special projects or events.

A Peer and Staff Review Committee will review applications as per a variety of assessment areas such as community need, organizational need and capacity, partnership support and financial analysis.  The Peer and Staff Review Committee will allocate resources within budget availability and make recommendations to Council. Applicants are welcome to request feedback/debriefing from staff regarding the Peer and Staff Review Committee’s grant recommendations prior to the Community and Infrastructure Services Committee meeting when grants will be considered. 

Grant assessment
How are community grant applications assessed? How are community grant allocations determined? 

Community grant applications are reviewed by a Peer and Staff Review Committee composed of community volunteers and staff. 

Applications that align with the purpose of the grants program and meet the 12 criteria set out in the grants policy must address the following assessment areas:

  • Community need: Does the proposed project, initiative or service meet a recognized need in the community or align with community priorities as outlined in the City of Kitchener’s strategic plan, other policy documents or as articulated by staff?
  • Organizational need and capacity: Has the applicant group demonstrated the capability to initiate, manage and follow through with the proposed project or service? Is there an executive committee or coordinating board overseeing the project? Does the organizational need as expressed in the group’s mandate and purpose, strategic plan, or financial reporting align with the grant request?
  • Partnership support: Groups that work with partners can add value to their activities and expand their capacity by sharing knowledge, skills and pooling resources. Partners could include volunteers, other groups or sponsors, for example. Has the applicant group demonstrated partnership support?
  • Financial analysis: Applicant groups do not need to be incorporated as not for profit corporations; however, budgets and subsequent accounting must not show an excess of revenue over expenses. Has the applicant group demonstrated how it will be accountable for grant funds and that it operates according to sound financial management principles?

Applications that align with the purpose of the grants program, meet the 12 criteria set out in the grants policy and satisfy the four assessment areas outlined above are eligible for a community grant. The next step is to determine the amount of the award. As community requests regularly exceed the amount of funding the City has available for grants, the Peer and Staff Review Committee must make decisions within the available funding limits.

The committee considers the following guidelines when making grant allocations. Typically, applications that satisfy these considerations are deemed a higher priority for funding:

  • Demonstrates strong support from other funders, donors and/or partners (e.g., large volunteer base, in kind (non-cash) contributions, private donations, other municipal funding).
  • The proposed project, initiative or service strongly aligns with the demonstrated needs of the applicant group.
  • Demonstrates strong financial and organizational sustainability (e.g. organizing committee or board of directors is in place to ensure accountability).
  • Maximizes opportunities for inclusive public participation and access (e.g. minimum or no admission charge; fee assistance program in place).
  • The proposed project, initiative or service closely aligns with sector strategic plans and documents.

Typically, the following conditions deem an application a lower priority for funding: 

  • Other funding opportunities exist for the proposed project, initiative or service (e.g., there is potential for funding from other levels of government, private sponsorships/donors, or other area municipalities).
  • The request is for the City of Kitchener to fund 100% of the project, initiative or service.
  • The request is for a significant amount of funding that cannot be accommodated within the existing Tier 2 budget allocation. Partial funding may be considered if little or no impact on the project, initiative or service is likely.
Program overview
Application process:
  • The application window typically opens in October and closes in December.
  • To apply, eligible groups submit fully complete application forms by the deadline.
  • Interested community groups are welcome to attend a meeting to learn more about the program and the application process held in advance of the application deadline.
 Grant allocation process:
  • Following the application deadline, a Peer and Staff Review Committee (made up of community volunteers and city staff), evaluates the applications and makes recommendations regarding grant amounts. As requests regularly exceed available funds, the committee must make decisions within budget availability.
  • Applicant groups are advised of the Peer and Staff Review Committee’s grant recommendations, and the available appeal process. 
Grant approval process:
  • A committee of City Council (the Community and Infrastructure Services Committee, known as CISC) considers the Peer and Staff Review committee’s recommendations regarding the grant allocations, typically in March.
  • City Council considers the decisions made by CISC and provides final approval, typically at the Council meeting that follows the CISC meeting. 
After grant award:
  • Applicant groups are advised of their final grant allocations following Council’s decision.
  • Grant payments are processed shortly after Council approval.
  • Groups receiving grants then deliver their program, initiative or service to the community!
 Other considerations:
  • Groups receiving grants are required to recognize the City’s contribution, generally by including the City’s corporate logo and name in the group’s promotional materials. The specific format of the recognition will be as agreed by city staff and the group, in accordance with the City’s Corporate Standards Manual.
  • In some situations (for example, when the grant is for a special event), proof of adequate liability insurance must be provided by the group receiving a grant.
  • To determine that grant funds have been used responsibly and according to Council’s direction, groups receiving grants must submit a full accounting, including a final financial statement, of the funded program, initiative or service after it has occurred.

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