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Orchestras - Operating Grants

Grants to Ontario Nonprofit, Semi-Professional and
Professional Orchestras to Support Operations

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Funding Source:

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Ontario Arts Council

Deadline Date:

03/16/16 5:00 PM EST Delivery or Postmarked by Date


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Grants to Ontario nonprofit, professional, semi-professional and community orchestras for operating support. First-time applicants are required to contact program staff prior to applying. The purpose of funding is to assist orchestras in producing and presenting art and arts services to the public and to sustain a healthy arts community.

Operating grants support operating expenses of professional music organizations. Grants are awarded to help organizations make or present high-quality work for a wide range of audiences and participants.

In addition to the OAC-wide objectives stated above, the Orchestras program aims to support a range of orchestral activity in the province, including repertoire and programming across the entire classical tradition (Baroque to contemporary). Factors considered by advisors include geographic location, performance and development opportunities provided for orchestral players and the role the orchestra plays in its community.

In addition, a higher priority is generally given to orchestras that demonstrate a consistent commitment to Canadian composers and performers.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 158908

Term of Contract:

First-time applicants may only apply for single-year funding.
Previous recipients may apply for multi-year funding.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

To be eligible for an Operation Grant, an organizations must:

-Be an Ontario not-for-profit corporation OR be a federal not-for-profit corporation with the head office in Ontario;
-Be led by professional personnel;
-Have completed at least two years of sustained, regular, ongoing programming in its community as of the application date (an organization that does not meet this requirement may instead apply for project funding);
-Have a range of revenue sources such as private and government;
-Be governed by a board of directors or an advisory body solely responsible for the organization;
-Have community support and involvement;
-Have proof of sound financial management.

In addition to the above, in order to apply for an operating grant from the Orchestras program you must:

-Be a professional or semi-professional orchestra or a designated national orchestral training organization;
-Have completed at least two full seasons by the date of the application, with a minimum of two self-presented concerts in each season (self-presented means that the orchestra takes responsibility for planning, production and ticket sales);
-Have a demonstrated record of regular, ongoing activities in your community, which for orchestras is defined as: presenting an annual series of concerts, or a festival, and may include other activities such as education programs, recording initiatives, touring opportunities and community partnerships;
-Be actively involved in the support of Canadian music by hiring professional Canadian performers and by performing the music of professional Canadian composers (unless restricted by mandate: e.g., Baroque orchestra);
-If you are a semi-professional orchestra that includes some amateur musicians, you must show evidence of a commitment to professional artistic leadership (i.e., conductor, core players, etc.).

First Time Applicants:

-For first-time applicants only: There is an additional eligibility requirement to have at least $200,000 in total revenues for the last completed year, and in projected revenues for the current and request years.
-First-time applicants may only request an annual grant.
-First-time applicants may only apply in the first year of a multi-year cycle.
-The Orchestras program is in Year 3 of the 3-year cycle this year (2016).
-The next year first-time applicants may apply is 2017.

You must apply for multi-year funding if you are eligible. Your organization must have:

-Received operating funding from the OAC for the past two consecutive years.
-A three-year plan.
-Stable artistic, organizational and board leadership with plans in place for any transition.
-A balanced budget.
-An accumulated deficit no greater than 10% of last year’s budget; or an unrestricted net asset deficiency no greater than 25%; or a deficit-retirement plan that reduces the accumulated deficit over the next three years if the organization has a deficit over 10% or an unrestricted net asset deficiency in excess of 25%.

Pre-Application Information:

An organization may receive only one OAC operating grant per year. If your organization contains more than one orchestra within its structure (e.g., professional orchestra that operates an associated youth orchestra education program), make a single grant application and request for assistance for the full range of these activities.

First-time applicants must consult with the program officer (see cover page of these guidelines) before submitting an operating grant application.

The deadline is March 16, 2016.

Mail applications to:

Orchestras, Ontario Arts Council
121 Bloor Street East, 7th Floor
Toronto ON M4W 3M5

Your application must be postmarked by Canada Post or a courier company no later than the deadline date. Applications may be hand-delivered to OAC during business hours: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM. On the deadline day, OAC will accept your application until 5:00 PM EST.

Grant notification letters will be mailed out four months after the application deadline.

Contact Information:

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

David Parsons, Classical Music Officer
416-969-7452 / 1-800-387-0058 ext 7452

Jenny Knox, Program Administrator
416-969-7430 / 1-800-387-0058 ext 7430

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

Canada: Ontario;


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