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Creative Communities Annual Operating Grant

Grants to Ontario Arts Nonprofits in Eligible Locations
for Operational Support and Community Arts Activities

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Toronto Arts Council (TAC)

Deadline Date:

03/01/21 11:59 PM


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Grants to Ontario nonprofit arts organizations that provide quality arts activities for residents in eligible locations. First-time applicants are required to consult with staff prior to applying. Funding is intended to support operational expenses as well as ongoing or seasonal community programs. Funds must serve arts nonprofits in the City of Toronto.

The Creative Communities Program provides Annual Operating support to non-profit Toronto arts organizations (both incorporated and unincorporated) engaged on an ongoing basis in work that enables public participation in arts and culture. 

Art practiced at a community level creates a powerful sense of inclusion, understanding, and the possibility of self-expression among participants. It can involve one or more art practices, such as music, dance, theatre, visual arts, and storytelling. The collaborative involvement of professional artists with community members is a necessary component.

TAC contributes to the development of community arts in Toronto by supporting community-engaged arts activity that demonstrates vision and excellence. In addition to funding professional arts organizations and community groups engaged in community arts activities, TAC recognizes the vital contribution emerging arts organizations make to the cultural life of Toronto and provides funding opportunities to assist these groups to access professional artistic leadership.

Community Engaged Arts: This program funds professional arts organizations that bring artists and communities together to do creative and participatory work. The organizations must include Toronto-based professional artists in its programs. The engagement can be through programs such as:

  • Storefront and neighbourhood-based arts centers
  • Artist residencies
  • Collaborative creation and presentation/exhibition of artwork
  • Workshops and mentoring
  • Exploration of community issues through art
  • Sustaining of traditional, culturally-based art forms

Arts Service Organizations: This program funds professional arts organization that supports the work of professional artists working at a community level.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 167055

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligible applicants must:

- Be nonprofit;
- Have professional artistic leadership and pay appropriate professional fees to artists;
- Be located in the City of Toronto and have a significant portion of its activities occurring within the City;
- Have a history of sustained community arts activity over the two years prior to this application;
- Have received a minimum of two project grants through TAC’s Arts Discipline or Strategic programs;
- Have a viable administrative structure;
- Have sound financial management;
- Submit verification of financial results of the last completed fiscal year:
- Demonstrate a range of revenue sources on an annual basis, including earned, government and private sector revenues;
- Be governed by a Board of Directors or other body responsible for the organization.

Arts Service Organizations: This program funds professional arts organizations that support the work of professional artists working at a community level. This can include: (1) Organizations that provide booking/promotional services to professional artists working in schools, parks, libraries and community centres; (2) multidisciplinary arts organizations that serve and support artist-members; (3) organizations whose primary purpose is to support the professional practice of community arts.

First-Time Applicants:
First-time applicants are organizations that did not receive an operating grant last year. First-time applicants:
- Must consult with the Creative Communities Program Manager before submitting an operating grant application.
- Must have at least $75,000 in total revenues for the last completed year, and in projected revenues for the current and request years.
- First-time applicants to the Annual Operating program may only apply in the first year of a multi-year cycle. In 2021, first-time applicants may apply to this program.

TAC recognized that due to systemic barriers within the broader arts community (e.g. limited mainstream presentation opportunities for artists from equity-seeking communities), some flexibility may be required in interpreting eligibility criteria to take into account equivalent professional experience and contexts.Potential applicants from equity-seeking communities are encouraged to discuss their eligibility with the program manager in advance of submitting an application.

Schools, tuition-funded training programs and curriculum-based programs are not eligible to apply to this program.

Organizations must conduct their creative communities activities on an annual, ongoing basis either throughout the year or on a seasonal basis. Annual and biennial festivals that have completed a minimum of two editions are also eligible

TAC does not provide funding for capital projects (e.g. equipment, renovations, purchase of buildings), fundraising events/projects or deficit reduction. Exception: TAC funds may be used towards the purchase of equipment and software to achieve the goals of the organization during the COVID pandemic. This may include but is not limited to electronics, workspace materials and health and safety items.

The Community Engaged Arts program does not fund faculty salaries.

Pre-Application Information:

Application deadline: March 1, 2021 Applications must be submitted on TAC Grants Online no later than 11:59 pm on the deadline date.

Notification will be received within four months of the deadline date.

First-time applicants must consult with the Creative Communities Program Manager before submitting an operating grant application. (First-time applicants are organizations that did not receive an operating grant last year.)

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the 2021 operating grant program now provides two application options:

1. Application Option 1 - Full Grant Request.
Application for a grant based on 100% or more of the 2020 operating grant amount.
This option is meant for returning applicants with significant activities planned for their 2021-22 request year as well as new applicants to the operating program.
2. Application Option 2 - Voluntary Reduced Grant Request
Application for a grant based on 50% of the 2020 operating grant amount.
This option is meant for returning applicants without public activities planned for their 2021-22 request year, that are not entirely ceasing operations, and will resume public activities in 2022-23.

For further details on these 2 application options, see the URL for Full Text below.

Organizations may receive only one grant per calendar year through the Creative Communities program and may not apply to other TAC discipline programs. However, TAC offers other types of granting opportunities through its Strategic Initiatives envelope, and operating grant recipients may be eligible to apply to one of these programs.

Application information and video tutorials:


Contact Information:

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

To apply online:

For questions, contact:
Kevin Reigh
Creative Communities Program Manager
416-392-6802 x 227

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

Canada: Ontario: Toronto;

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