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General Grants

Grants to British Columbia Nonprofits, Agencies, and IHEs
for Sustainable Land Use and Excellence in Real Estate

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia (REFBC)

Deadline Date:



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Grants to British Columbia nonprofit organizations, IHEs, government agencies, First Nations, and professional associations for projects that promote sustainable land use and enhance the real estate industry. Applicants must contact program staff prior to applying. Program areas include built environment sustainability, sustainable land use, local and sustainable food systems, freshwater sustainability, and professional excellence in real estate.

REFBC grants support initiatives that nonprofit organizations have identified as important based on research, knowledge and expertise. The Foundation is interested in ideas that lead to actions.

General Grants can fund projects in all five of REFBC’s interest areas. Applications are open to any non-profit organization doing work related to land use and/or real estate in BC.

As a funder, REFBC is interested in projects that support the sustainable use of land and that build knowledge and professionalism in the real estate industry.

Interest Areas:

As a funder, REFBC is interested in projects that support the sustainable use of land and that build knowledge and professionalism in the real estate industry. All the Foundation’s work – including grantmaking – supports the following five interest areas:

Sustainable Land Use:
Land use is the human use of land – that is, management, conservation and modification of natural environments, built environments and semi-natural areas – for the purpose of supporting human settlement and communities. Sustainable land use enables people to thrive within nature's limits; it integrates social, environmental, economic and cultural objectives into policy and practice for the long-term well-being of communities and ecosystems.

Built Environment Sustainability:
The built environment encompasses the buildings and infrastructure that support where and how people live. The way we plan, design, build and operate communities has significant economic, social and environmental impacts. By funding initiatives focused on better land use policies, development regulations and building practices that respond to both human and ecological needs, the Real Estate Foundation contributes to more sustainable communities.

Freshwater Sustainability:
A safe and abundant supply of fresh water is vital to sustainable communities – freshwater sustainability means making choices that protect freshwater resources now and in the future. The Foundation’s interest is in initiatives such as new approaches in land use planning, policy and regulation; mapping studies and applied research that contributes to the health of freshwater systems.

Local and Sustainable Food Systems:
A sustainable food system integrates production, processing, distribution and consumption of food, and waste management, in ways that enhance community well-being. Communities in BC are facing challenges that affect food security, including climate change, rising oil prices and development pressures on agricultural land. The Foundation supports initiatives that contribute to novel land use policy and planning that supports sustainable food systems.

Professional Excellence in Real Estate:
Professional excellence in real estate helps equip the real estate community with better information, professional development opportunities, and knowledge about real estate and land use practices. It helps build public awareness and advance the field towards emerging trends, laws and standards that help foster thriving and resilient neighorhoods.

Project Criteria:

When evaluating grant applications, REFBC is most likely to fund projects that:
-Target real estate and/or land use professionals and planners, policy makers, decision makers, and/or key public audiences.
-Encourage best practices.
-Address a current or emerging need.
-Increase the capacity of an organization, sector or community to improve real estate, and/or land use practices.
-Have clear, achievable objectives and identified deliverables, including well-developed implementation and communication plans.

Elements of a Good Project:

REFBC’s grant program is competitive and, unfortunately, the Foundation does not have the financial resources or staff capacity to fund every application that meets the criteria. Over time, the Foundation has found that projects that demonstrate the following qualities have a greater chance of success:

-Leadership and innovation – The Foundation gives preference to projects that demonstrate leadership in a field, either by presenting an innovative solution and/or by meeting an identified need. Innovation is the application of new or novel approaches to meet land use challenges through more effective processes, techniques, technologies, or ideas.

-Partnership and collaboration – The Foundation encourages partnerships and collaboration with other groups and individuals that will be directly involved in planning, communicating, or implementing the initiative. The Foundation encourages a diverse range of logical partners including nonprofit, public, and private sector.

-Sustainability and longevity – The Foundation looks for initiatives that can be sustained after initial funding is obtained, and which have an ongoing legacy.

-Scalability and potential to replicate – The Foundation assesses potential projects by examining how they may be replicated in other communities in BC. The Foundation asks how the initiative plans to transfer concepts, approaches and policies to other geographic regions, audiences, and user groups.

Budget Guidelines:

When allocating grant dollars, REFBC staff and Board members ask that applications for funding meet the following guidelines:

Budgets are prepared for time-bound projects or initiatives with specific objectives, activities, and deliverables identified.

Funding is intended for non-capital costs associated with a project or initiative. These costs might include, but are not limited to: project coordination and management, communications, production of educational content, workshop delivery, consultant fees, community consultation, and travel.

However, the Foundation also recognizes that any project or initiative is supported by an organization’s overall operations budget and will fund a portion of those costs as a percentage of a project’s total costs. For this reason, applicants may choose to include “indirect/admin costs” as an expense item on their budget form and may allocate up to 15% of the budget in this way.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 173220

Estimated Size of Grant:

The Foundation awards grants to a wide range of projects. The Foundation will fund small, grassroots projects (typically between $2,000 and $20,000) as well as larger initiatives (as large as about $400,000).

Projects must have a reasonable budget.

Term of Contract:

Multi-year budgets may be submitted.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

REFBC grants can support registered nonprofit organizations and Community Contribution Companies (C3s). Examples of nonprofit organizations include: charities, NGOs, post-secondary institutions, professional associations, societies, local and regional governments, and First Nations.


The Real Estate Foundation has determined the following types of applications do not fall within its funding mandate and are not eligible for grants. Please check this list to ensure your project does not fall into one of these categories. If in doubt, please contact one of the staff members for clarification.

The Foundation will not entertain applications for:
-Activities that primarily provide financial benefits for individuals
-Retirement of debt and/or retroactive funding
-Directed political lobbying

There are a few activities which the Foundation does not generally fund, including capital costs. Even if a project meets the eligibility criteria, there are a few activities for which we will not provide funding. These activities and costs include:

-Purchase of equipment and capital goods;
-In general, printing costs—the Foundation prefers to support online distribution, where appropriate.

Pre-Application Information:

As a rule, REFBC grants can fund up to 50% of the cash portion of a project budget. REFBC expects that other logical partners will be approached for cash and/or in-kind support. The Foundation typically will not act as the sole funder of a project.

Please contact the Grants Coordinator (Noémi Pomerleau) to briefly discuss your proposal before submitting a full application. If the Grants Coordinator is unavailable please contact one of the Grants Managers.

Upcoming grant application deadlines
-September 6, 2018 (decisions in December 2018 and March 2019)
-February 2019 (decisions in June 2018 and September 2018)


How to Apply:



Contact Information:

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

Apply Online:

Noémi Pomerleau, Grants Coordinator

You may also contact the Grants Program Managers:

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

Canada: British Columbia