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Community Grants Program

Grants to Halifax, Nova Scotia Nonprofits for Arts, Diversity,
Environment, Housing, and Emergency Assistance

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM)

Deadline Date:

03/31/18 Postmarked or Received


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Grants of up to $5,000 and grants of up to $25,000 to Halifax, Nova Scotia nonprofit organizations for projects that benefit local communities. This program primarily supports development activities, with an emphasis on organizational capacity-building and volunteer-led initiatives. Funding categories include arts and crafts, diversity, environment, emergency assistance, history, housing, neighborhood safety, recreation and leisure.

There are two types of grants:

1. Project Grant:

Projects that are modest in scale and/or expense and enhance an existing program or service, or the development of a new program or service. Examples include the purchase of specialized equipment, web site development, or marketing. The evaluation process looks for a public bene t, an inability to self-fund (incremental impact of grant) and the applicant’s ability to maintain the program or service (sustainability).

Competing quotes are not required for grant requests of up to $5,000 but your application will be stronger if you provide documentation to support the value of the amount requested. For example, a quote or estimate, manufacturer’s warranty, or price list(s) from different suppliers.

The maximum value of grant towards professional fees is $5,000. If a grant or portion thereof is towards payment of professional fees, describe the selection process and include the individual or company’s qualifications and relevant experience.

2. Capital Grant:

Large-scale property-related projects or expensive/specialized equipment (the individual item costs over $5,000). Preference may be given to remediate a safety issue, to meet building code, by-law or licensing requirements, or for environmental remediation (for example, a replacement well or septic system).

The evaluation process looks at the public benefit, an applicant’s ability to cost-share (cash, reserve or investments, loan, any increase in earned revenue resulting from a property acquisition or capital improvement) and how the expenditure(s) improves program or service delivery.

Note: capital grants are not awarded for the purchase of multiple items of modest value. If “cost” is simply a function of the quantity of items purchased (each item costing less than $5,000) the application will be considered under a project grant of up to $5,000.

The amount of a grant requested towards a capital project must be supported by competing quotes. Qualified trades should be considered when required by law or insurance.

If you have selected only one supplier this should be explained in the grant application (for example, highly specialized equipment with only one supplier located in Nova Scotia). Applications without quotes will be considered incomplete.

Eligible Expenditures - Project Grant:

The following is a list of expenses typically supported under the Community Grants Program project grant category:
-Non-recurring project-specific professional fees of a licensed individual, qualified tradesperson or specialist;
-Technical studies and plans (for example, marketing, feasibility study, program evaluation, conservation plan, exhibit design, building condition report);
-Valuation appraisal (real property—excludes municipal property, artifact, original work of art);
-Adaptive aids;
-Purchase of safety equipment;
-Equipment lending/rental program for the public (access is not restricted by membership or affiliation);
-Equipment costing under $5,000 per item (individual items costing over $5,000 per item may be considered under a capital grant application, see page 4 and 7).
-Minor repairs (preventive maintenance/inspections are considered a recurring operating cost);
-Project-specific facility or equipment rental;
-Project or organizational marketing (for example, print advertisement, brochure, poster, radio or television broadcast, display banner, web site development or upgrade, custom computer database, mobile application, portable display stand or booth)—excludes recurring advertising;
-Small construction projects and landscaping;
-Permanent or temporary exhibition or display, interpretation panel, monument or marker;
-Commission of original works (literary, visual or performing arts, traditional or contemporary craft);
-Community-based applied research (for example, oral history, photography, lm, archival documents, artifact, environmental survey or mapping);
-Non-commercial self-publishing or recording (for example, a map, guide, book, program, exhibit catalogue, or cd).

Eligible Expenditures - Capital Grants:

The following is a list of expenses supported under the Community Grants Program capital grant category:

-Contribution towards the purchase of non-municipal real property including a down-payment on a pre-approved mortgage;
-Vehicle purchase (for example a van, bus, snowmobile, ride-on-mower, trailer) - excludes employment- related car, or personal vehicle, or vehicle lease;
-Construction or expansion of a building or amenity (for example, a wharf, bridge, playground, park, boardwalk, greenhouse)—applicant must be the property owner;
-Capital improvements: a permanent structural replacement or alteration that maintains the value and utility of an existing building or infrastructure and extends the useful life of the property (includes, roof, exterior walls, exterior doors and windows, foundation, structural weight-bearing beams);
-Replacement or upgrade to a heating or ventilation system, electrical system, well or septic;
-Large or specialized equipment item costing over $5,000 per unit;
-Commission of an original work or the purchase of a work or artifact of social, historical or cultural significance costing over $5,000 (for example, a sculpture) an independent appraisal of value should be included with the application;
-Large-scale site beautification or “greening” (for example, re-forestation, environmental stabilization or remediation of environmental contamination);
-Exterior painting is a lower priority funding outcome and usually awarded for registered heritage property wherein the ‘authentic’ color and finish is integral to protection and/or heritage interpretation;
-A repair or upgrade to a parking amenity is a lower priority funding outcome and is typically declined, exceptions may be made for a community-owned park-and-ride facility or accessibility upgrade;
-Interior renovations (interior doors, ceilings, floors, stairs, cabinetry, moldings etc) are a lower priority.

Note: Accessibility upgrades (for example, wheelchair ramp, washroom, adaptive equipment) for persons with a disability are funded under the Diversity category.

An application can be made to any of the funding categories regardless of your organization’s mandate, but only one application per year (one category for a project or capital). For example, an environmental organization might apply for funding to support a community art project or a community museum might apply for playground equipment.

The funding categories in this guide are presented in alphabetical order only: there is no priority assigned to any category.

1. Arts and Crafts

The Arts and Crafts category focuses on projects that advance arts-based community engagement with a focus on development opportunities for non-professional and pre-professional organizations and art projects undertaken by nonprofit organizations whose mandate is not arts-based. Funding supports non-commercial initiatives including art as a leisure pursuit, projects that preserve or present the region’s cultural traditions and identities, contemporary interpretation or innovative presentation techniques, or an issue-based participatory art-making process.

Priority outcomes:
-Participatory projects, including those undertaken by organizations whose mandate is not arts-based.
-Introductory or developmental production or presentation projects undertaken by a non-professional or pre-professional art or craft organization.
-A project, program or service that fosters cultural identity and self-representation.
-Temporary or permanent public art installations.
-Preservation of a traditional craft or contemporary practices.

Preference may be given to applicants not in receipt of federal, provincial or municipal government funding.

2. Diversity

The Diversity category encompasses organizations and projects serving individuals and families who face physical, financial, linguistic or attitudinal barriers to full participation in community activities including but not limited to race, ethnicity, physical disability, poverty, age, or sexual orientation. The program does not fund scholastic or vocational training (for example, educational upgrading, literacy, vocational skills).

Note: organizations seeking grant funding towards facility accessibility upgrades or adaptive equipment for persons with a disability should make application under this funding category.

Priority outcomes:
-Accessibility upgrades or adaptive aids for persons with a disability—preference may be given to an organization whose mandate is serving persons with a disability.
-Translation or conversion of written materials or signage.
-Initiatives that present the municipality as a hospitable community to immigrants, refugees and migrants.
-Programs or services serving distinct ethno-cultural or sociocultural communities of interest. Preference may be given to applicants not in receipt of federal, provincial or municipal government funding.

3. Environment

The Environment category includes small-scale recycling and environmental monitoring projects, public education, protection or remediation of land or waterways, protection of wildlife habitat and endangered species, and community gardens. Funding towards establishing or upgrading a community garden may give preference to projects that support a community feeding program, for example a breakfast and/or afterschool feeding program, food bank, community kitchen, child/youth programming.

Priority outcomes:
-Protection or restoration of the region’s natural habitat to maintain or restore biodiversity.
-Protection of endangered species.
-Environmental remediation.
-Public education and interpretation.
-Recycling and diversion programs.

Preference may be given to applicants not in receipt of federal, provincial or municipal government funding.

4. Emergency Assistance

Emergency Assistance grants support nonprofit organizations in the provision of immediate aid to individuals and families in overcoming a critical event (for example, a natural or man-made disaster) or the provision of subsistence aid for the hungry, homeless or displaced. Note: for this program the term “emergency assistance” does not refer to an organization’s financial status (a de cit or debt) or general operational capacity.

Priority outcomes:
-Overnight/short-stay shelter for homeless persons, victims of domestic abuse, or post-incarceration housing (also referred to as a “halfway house” or “community residential facility”).
-Community-based emergency feeding programs (“soup kitchen”) and food banks for lower income persons. Preference may be given to organizations whose primary mandate is food security.
-Peer support services and non-medical crisis intervention.
-Emergency evacuation or comfort centers recognized by HRM Fire & Emergency Services.

Emergency comfort centers: Only incremental costs specific to the standards required by municipal Emergency Measures Operations (EMO) will be considered under this category, for example a generator, utilities conversion or commercial propane appliances. Applicants must provide proof of registration as a recognized municipal comfort centre and facility rating from HRM’s Fire/EMO at the time of application. Failure to provide this documentation with the application form may result in ineligibility. Preference may be given to facilities with an A rating (highest probability of use) or to those facilities whose upgrades will enable a rating increase and enhance the probability of public use in an emergency. School evacuation facilities will not be considered.

Preference may be given to applicants not officially in receipt of federal, provincial or municipal government funding.

5. History

The History category encompasses community-based research, collections, and public presentation aimed at enhancing awareness of the region’s physical and social development and distinct cultural identities. Conservation projects for registered heritage property or a historically significant artifact are also funded under this category.

Priority outcomes:
-Opportunities for self-representation.
-Inclusion of diverse geographic and demographic communities of interest.
-Authentic preservation of heritage or historical assets (buildings, sites, artifacts).
-Innovative presentation and interpretation techniques including web-based and digital.

Registered heritage property: Applicants requesting a grant towards restoration of a registered heritage property must include approval from a municipal heritage planner at the time of application. Failure to provide this documentation with the application form may result in ineligibility.

Preference may be given to applicants not in receipt of federal, provincial or municipal government funding.

6. Housing

The Housing category supports accommodations for persons in need of secure, appropriate, and affordable housing options. This category includes transitional (“second stage”), supportive and independent housing but excludes private home ownership. Under the Community Grants Program’s criteria, the term “affordable housing” refers to rents under 30% of income; tenants/clients are lower income as per the Canadian Council on Social Development Low Income Cut-o Scales (LICOS) for Nova Scotia.

Priority outcomes:
-Supportive housing for persons unable to secure appropriate accommodation in the open market (for example, persons with a disability, mental health consumers, seniors, youth).
-Expansion of affordable housing options.
-Neighborhood integration and sensitive design.
-Code compliance and/or fire safety.

Preference may be given to applicants not in receipt of federal, provincial or municipal government funding.

7. Neighborhood Safety

Mobilizing residents in public safety initiatives extends beyond municipal police and re/emergency response services to include, for example, community-based efforts to reduce vandalism, illegal dumping, litter or graffiti, the promotion of pedestrian safety, and emergency preparedness. This category does not fund health promotion or medical projects.

Priority outcomes:
-Crime prevention.
-Fire prevention.
-Emergency preparedness.
-Neighborhood cleanliness.

Preference may be given to applicants not in receipt of federal, provincial or municipal government funding.

Note: The scale of initiative is a factor in the evaluation of submissions. Preference may be given to projects that engage entire neighborhoods or “communities of interest” as compared to property-related upgrades (for example, an alarm system or exterior security lighting). Applications may be strengthened by the inclusion of statistics or a demonstration of the problem (for example, a photograph of an illegal dump site).

8. Recreation and Leisure

Grants to support recreational amenities or programs are intended to expand opportunities for physical activity. The focus of funding is on entry level (non-elite) developmental programming, expanding opportunities and affordability.

Priority outcomes:
-Community-based recreation amenities in under-serviced communities.
-Entry level and developmental programs.
-Leisure activities for persons with special needs.
-Physical activity for children and youth.
-Affordability initiatives (free or low cost programs or amenities for the public, equipment loan).

Preference may be given to applicants not in receipt of federal, provincial or municipal government funding.

Note: Organizations seeking facility accessibility upgrades or adaptive equipment for persons with a disability should make application under the Diversity category.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 180267

Estimated Size of Grant:

-Project grant: Up to a maximum of $5,000
-Capital grant: Up to a maximum of $25,000

Term of Contract:

The program does not award multi-year awards but eligible organizations may make application to the program in successive years.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Applicants must be a registered nonprofit organization or charity:
-A society incorporated under the Societies Act (1989);
-A nonprofit association incorporated under the Co-operative Associations Act (1989);
-A nonprofit incorporated under the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act (2009);
-A nonprofit incorporated under an Act of the Nova Scotia Legislature; or
-A charity registered under the Income Tax Act (Canada).

The organization must be registered for at least one (1) year prior to the Community Grants Program application deadline of March 31st. Your registration must be current: organizations whose registration has expired, in default or revoked are ineligible for consideration.

Joint applications from two or more eligible nonprofit organizations are acceptable but the maximum value of grant remains the same.

The following organizations are ineligible for a grant under the Community Grants Program.
-Public and private schools or colleges; post-secondary institutions; a government agency, board or commission.
-Organizations located outside the geographic boundary of the municipality.
-Commerce, business, industry, or sole proprietorships.
-Grants are not awarded to individuals or unregistered groups.

Applicants may be disqualified if the applicant organization has not met their obligations with respect to the municipality, for example overdue payment of real property tax, a fee, fine or rent, or non-compliance with the terms and conditions of a grant or contribution (for example, an overdue final report for a previous award).

Late applications will be declined.

Membership-Based Housing Cooperatives: eligible housing cooperatives must be incorporated under the Cooperative Associations Act, Chapter 7, Section 61 sub-clauses (A) to (F) as a membership-based non- pro t. Capital grants will not be issued to organizations wherein the membership has an equity position (for example, individual shares or dividends, revenue-sharing from the proceeds of sale, individual ownership).

The Community Grants Program does not fund recurring operating expenses or any portion of an operating expense assigned to a project, for example, a percentage of overhead or staff time.

The following is a list of expenses NOT supported under the Community Grants Program:
-Recurring core operating expenses (for example, utilities, rent, salary, wage, insurance, telecommunications, instructor or perpetual care);
-Items for personal ownership (for example, personal clothing or uniforms, equipment, vehicle);
-Bursary, honoraria, gift, prize, award or certificate, scholarship, souvenir, trophy or bursary;
-School-based or academic programs;
-Research for academic or commercial purposes, personal genealogical research;
-Conference, trade show, banquet, award ceremony, reunion, meeting, instructional or professional development workshop, event, festival, tournament, religious or memorial service;
-Promotion of a religious or political doctrine;
-Purchase or preparation of a submission to acquire or lease HRM property;
-Consumables (for example, medication, food, beverages, fuel, travel, office supplies);
-Commercial publishing or sales (including profit-sharing);
-Admission or membership fees;
-General fundraising campaign or related event;
-International aid;
-Interior decorating or cleaning;
-Medical services, therapeutic counseling, supervision, personal representation, training or accreditation, or personal legal representation;
-Leasehold improvements to private or government-owned property (including municipal) - applicant must be the owner of the building or land;
-Purchase of municipally-owned real property or preparation of a submission to acquire or lease, including a feasibility study related to any municipally-owned real property or Purchaser’s due diligence.

Except for an equipment loan program, grants towards the purchase of small items, for example, toys, books, office or sports equipment, household fixtures or furnishings, small tools, seeds or annual plant material, computer accessories are lower priority funding outcomes and will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. If your anticipated expense is not included in this list, please contact Grants & Contributions staff for clarification.

Pre-Application Information:

Groups who have not previously applied to the program are encouraged to contact Grants & Contributions staff to confirm the eligibility of your organization, project, and the expense(s) for which you are requesting a grant.

Any applicant can request assistance prior to March 31st but due to the volume of applications staff may be unable to accept requests for meetings in the last two weeks of March: inquiries by telephone and email will be accommodated within two (2) business days. Submissions cannot be revised after the call for applications closes on March 31st. However, all applicants have the option to withdraw an application and apply again in a subsequent year.

The Community Grants Program has one (1) application intake per year. The program opens for applications in January and the annual application deadline is March 31st. Late applications (those received or postmarked after March 31st) will not be considered.

Contact Information:

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

Staff Contacts:

Peta-Jane Temple, Team Lead, Grants and Contributions
902.490.5469 office

Peter Greechan, Community Developer, Grants and Contributions
902.490.7310 office

Shelley Hutt, Program Technician, Grants and Contributions
902.490.7191 office

Contact the Community Grants Program

Community Grants Program
Finance and Asset Management
PO Box 1749
Halifax, NS
B3J 3A5

In person:
40 Alderney Drive, 5th Floor
Dartmouth, NS


Grant Coverage Areas:

Halifax Regional Municipality

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

Canada: Nova Scotia