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Collective Impact Grants

Grants to Ontario Nonprofits, Businesses, Organizations,
and Agencies that Jointly Address Community Issues

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Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF)

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Grants of up to $30,000 and grants of up to $75,000 to Ontario nonprofits, businesses, organizations, and agencies for collaborative efforts to address complex social and environmental issues. You must first register your organization before applying for a grant. The funding source supports cooperative strategy with partner organizations to transform social, environmental, and quality of life issues in Ontario communities.

A Collective Impact is a method of getting people to work together differently in pursuit of a clearly defined common goal to address complex social issues in communities. Issues suited to a collective impact approach are those that are not easy to resolve, have persisted over time and cannot be solved in isolation.

There are five ‘conditions’ which have been broadly accepted as defining Collective Impact. These conditions lay the foundation for defining a Collective Impact approach and for a rigorous and structured approach to working with a group of partners toward a common goal with shared accountability.
The five conditions are:
1. Common Agenda: the participating organizations are working towards a common
set of outcomes
2. Shared Measurement: the organizations share a simple, meaningful measure(s)
3. Mutually Reinforcing Activities: partners work as a team
4. Continuous Communication: there is routine, planned communications among partners, and
5. Backbone Support: a dedicated support/coordination team

Collective Impact is not the answer for every issue or community. To help determine if it is the right process, three important pre-conditions have been identified:
1. Strong champions are in place (leadership is critical)
2. There is a sense of urgency to the issue
3. Resources can/or have been identified for support of the planning

A collaborative is made up of two or more organizations that wish to achieve a common goal, and are prepared to work towards a mutual benefit, and share decision-making and accountability.

Your group’s collaborative agreement should be simple and no more than a few pages. It should set out a clear plan for:
- The roles each member will play
- How decisions will be made; how will conflicts be resolved
- How you will communicate with all members of the collaborative
- How money will be spent and accounted for
- How reports will be prepared

Areas of Funding Priority:

Active People: Fostering More Active Lifestyles

OTF aims to foster lifelong physical activity by making it easy, enjoyable and relevant for everyone. The fund will invest in opportunities to participate in high quality programs that are responsive to the unique needs of participants, led by skilled leaders and coaches, and delivered in accessible, well-equipped facilities. The goal is to deliver positive experiences to fuel ongoing interest and involvement, and to increase levels of physical activity by ensuring that Ontarians participate in both organized sport programs and less structured activities, such as walking, cycling, running, skating and active play.

Connected People: Building Inclusive and Engaged Communities Together

OTF aims to support initiatives that recognize and include Ontarians’ many perspectives and experiences, and make it possible for them to fully participate in building and improving their communities.

Green People: Encouraging People to Support a Healthy and Sustainable Environment

OTF aims to make significant advances in restoring and protecting Ontario's biodiversity.

Inspired People: Enriching People’s Lives through Arts, Culture and Heritage

OTF will support initiatives that foster the development of talent, deliver training to artists and curatorial staff, provide relevant, meaningful programming, and create spaces where that programming is accessible to all. OTF will invest in a wide range of opportunities for people to actively engage in arts-based learning, more compelling and engaging experiences, communitybased arts creation, and the animation of cultural heritage.

Promising Young People: Supporting the Positive Development of Children and Youth

OTF is interested in building up the assets of Ontario’s children and youth in a holistic way so that they have better chances of success. In its efforts to foster the positive development of all children and youth, OTF takes its cue from the strategic priorities of, and research conducted by, the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services. Our goal is to use the Positive Youth Development approach, which builds on young people’s strengths and recognizes their unique contributions. OTF defines children and youth as:
- Children up to 12 years of age
- Early Adolescents aged 12-14
- Adolescents aged 15-18
- Early Adults aged 19-25
- Early Adults with Disabilities, aged 19-29

Prosperous People: Enhancing People’s Economic Wellbeing

OTF will invest in projects that tackle the obstacles to economic wellbeing – from a lack of basic housing, food and childcare, to language, literacy and educational barriers.

There are three stages within the OTF Collective Impact granting stream.
- Stage 1: Define the Impact - Up to $30,000 per year
In this stage, organizations work to clearly articulate and define the urgent complex issue they aim to address and start to develop their Theory of Change. They convene cross-sectoral stakeholders, ensure community residents are actively participating, and identify who else needs to be at the table. They build out their evidence and define a leadership committee that can move the initiative forward.
- Stage 2: Organize for Impact - Up to 75,000 per year
In this stage, organizations confirm their common agenda and build out their Theory of Change. These cross-sectoral partners develop a collective work plan, create a governance model and backbone support structure. They build out their shared measurement system and evaluation plan and determine how internal and external communications will be managed.
- Stage 3: Deliver Impact
This stage focuses on delivering on the Theory of Change and implementing the collective work plan. The Collective Impact approach is adaptive and iterative in nature and, as such, monitoring, integrating lessons learned and adapting plans are on-going during this stage. Reporting and communicating results and impact take place.

Evaluation work will be funded as part of the OTF grant, and can be 2-10% of the total grant.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 156320

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Estimated Size of Grant:

Stage 1: Up to $30,000
Stage 2: Up to $75,000 per year

Term of Contract:

Stage 1: Up to 18 months
Stage 2: Up to 2 years

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

OTF accepts applications from collaborative applicants that include a collaborative agreement, which details the working agreements of the collaborative members. The lead organization accepts responsibility for any approved grant to the collaborative applicant, signs the Grant Contract, assumes all responsibility and accountability with respect to that contract including fiscal accountability and all required reporting, and accepts OTF funding.

A collaboration may include both eligible and ineligible organizations, but the lead organization must be an eligible organization.

Collective Impact brings funders, businesses, nonprofits, governments and impacted people together in a structured and deliberate way to achieve change.

OTF does not fund flow-through or trustee models where the trustee or incorporated organization is not contributing to the project in any significant way.

Pre-proposal Conference:

In collaboration with the Tamarack Institute, the Ontario Trillium Foundation is hosting a free workshop in Toronto to discuss the opportunities and challenges of the Collective Impact approach.

November 14 - 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
The 519, 519 Church Street, Toronto, Ontario
Type of Event: Information Session

Seats are limited. You must RSVP.

Day long session schedule:
9:00 a.m. Registration
9:30 a.m. Workshop starts
12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. Lunch (provided)
3:30 p.m. Workshop ends

The workshops are intended for community groups that:
- Desire new ways to lead, engage and transform their community
- Want to learn about Collective Impact and how to work within a collaborative team
- Are contemplating the start-up or renewal of a collaborative initiative
- Are key supporter of community engagement and collaboration including NGOs, businesses, funders and national, provincial or local government
- Want to know more about the funding support that OTF provides for Collective Impact practitioners

Pre-Application Information:

If interested in applying to the Collective Impact investment stream, collectives should contact their local Program Manager or the OTF Support Centre. The OTF Collective Impact team will assess fit with the stream as well as identify which of the three stages the collective should apply for.

There are no deadlines for submitting applications and they will be accepted on an ongoing basis.

Collectives cannot enter directly into Stage 3, they must begin in Stage 2: Organize for Impact

Information about applying for a grant:

Before you apply, you must first register your organization. See Contact Information.

Applicant Self-Assessment Tool:

Collective Impact Grants Information Video:

What Projects are Funded Video:

Six Action Areas:

Active People Video:

Connected People Video:

Green People Video:

Inspired People Video:

Promising Young People Video:

Prosperous People Video:

Collaborative Applicants Policy:

The Collective Impact Investment Stream has unique requirements: funding request forms are not available through the OTF online granting system ), but are provided directly by OTF Program Managers to collectives, once they have registered with OTF and following a discussion with staff about their idea.

For questions, contact the OTF Support Center.

Choose your project start date so that it falls after the date when you would receive OTF notification that your grant has been approved. OTF cannot fund retroactively. Note that applicants will be informed by email of the final decision.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Contact to register for information session:
1 800 263 2887 Ex. 303

OTF Support Center:

Organization Registration Portal:

Ontario Trillium Foundation
800 Bay Street, 5th Floor
Toronto, ON M5S 3A9
TTY: 416.963.7905

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

Canada: Ontario