The Community Foundation provides more than $300,000 in grant money to registered charities in the South Okanagan Similkameen on an annual basis. Consider applying for a grant to fund a project or program in your community!
Who can apply
Registered charities in the South Okanagan Similkameen, as well as some other qualified groups such as municipalities and registered amateur athletic associations, may apply. If you are not a registered charity, but are a group or association doing work that is charitable or in support of the community, we may be able to help you qualify for funding. Please contact email@example.com for more information. If you’re an individual hoping to host a neighbourhood event or fund a small local project, please also consider applying for a neighbourhood small grant here.
When to apply
The next cycle of Foundation grants will be open for applications in August 2022. Read the information below to prepare to apply.
2023 Application Timeline:
|August 19, 2022||October 14th,|
|October – November |
|End of November |
|Early January |
|Application cycle begins||Application cycle ends. All applications must be received by 5pm.||Grants and Community Committees review applications and make recommendations.||Board of Directors approves grant recommendations. Applicants are notified.||Grant payments can be made to successful applicants.|
Preparing to apply for a grant
- Attending a Community Foundation Grant-writing Workshop is a great way to prepare to apply for a grant. To learn how to write a winning proposal, visit our: Grant-writing Workshop page.
- We also invite you to learn about all the different types of charities that have received funding. View our Recent Grants page. Our full grants history can be viewed here.
- Plan your application in advance by using the forms below. Please note that these documents are for planning purposes only! Please do not submit a PDF as your formal application. When ready, you must submit your application using our online application form.
If you are planning to request more than $2,000, plan your application using the long form application:
If you are planning to request less than $2,000, you can plan using the short form application:
View sample applications:
Applying for a Grant
You will only be able to start an application during the year’s application dates (August of 2022)
When you are ready, and the application process is open, click on Start Your Application button below.
Applications will only be accepted through our online application software.
If you applied for a grant in the past, then you will already have your organizational information in the system. You will simply use the same email and password. If you don’t remember your password simply click the “Forgot password?” link to reset your password. Your profile is associated with the email you used last year to apply.
If you didn’t apply for a grant last year then you will click the “Create New Account” button and start to fill out your information.
*2022 Grant Recipient Information: Successful recipients of funding from the 2022 Grant Cycle were notified in December 2021, with payments to successful applicants taking place in January 2022.
2022 Grant Recipients:
Animal Lifeline Emergency Response Team Society (ALERT)
The ALERT Respirator Project addresses safety issues for our Volunteers who respond to requests from Emergency Support Services and the Local Fire Departments to evacuate/recover/rescue animals affected by emergencies/ disasters. By providing our Volunteers with respirators that can filter out smoke (wildfires) and off-gassing (house fires), we are able to enter areas/premises quicker to evacuate/recover/ rescue animals.
Agur Lake Camp
Each summer Agur Lake Camp Society hires a student from Summerland to work at the camp as a Campground Assistant. This position is partly funded by the Canada Summer Jobs program
Canadian Mental Health Association – South Okanagan Similkameen Branch
Kitchen installation and leasehold improvements for CMHA
Cawston Primary School PAC
Subsidized Lunch Program
Desert Valley Hospice Society
The grant will be used to provide seniors with wellness education and mini health spas for Seniors, including nutrition education plus meals at the weekly program. The “spa” includes a women’s hairdo, men’s haircut, massages, nail and foot care for both genders. When people look good, they feel good. In addition to personal care, the program activities will allow many isolated seniors to connect with others in their community. Attending live theatre or movie will be a focal point of the program.
Dragonfly Pond Family Society
The Family Get Together supports approximately 46 families through the year with our monthly program. This program provides peer to peer support opportunities in an inclusive environment at no cost to the families, removing a socio-economic barrier to participation.
Lower Similkameen Community Services Society
The program aims to provide food security to children of the Similkameen valley. Through the school year, backpacks, filled with balanced meals and snacks, are distributed every Friday. Students are selected by the school administrators, as being at risk of hunger over the weekends. These students already receive subsidized breakfast and lunch while they are at school. This program bridges the gap of the help already received. There are currently 9 students receiving a pack every week
NeighbourLink Summerland plans to use the funding to hire a facilitator to assist with Strategic Planning. Since, and because of the Global Pandemic, the needs of the community have changed as well as how to address needs. We know by re-evaluating service delivery, volunteer concerns and training, and assessing changing community needs, we will be able to provide improved services, and rebuild capacity to our past, present clients and future clients.
OK Falls Lions Club
The Okanagan Falls Lions Club is serving a hot breakfast bun to the students of the OK Falls elementary school. The program was started to supply a nutritious breakfast to the students at no cost to ensure better nutrition, which improves the students learning and attention to learning skills to ensure a better education.
Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs
The Summerland Youth Centre is a recreation program for youth 13-18 years of age providing a safe place to belong without barriers. We offer young people the chance to dream, discover and grow as they learn to navigate the challenges of life. Through recreation and life-skill programs, lead by adults who’s focus is to develop positive, nurturing relationships; youth gain the skills, knowledge and values to help them be successful now and in the future.
Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship Society
Through this project, Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship will restore sensitive riparian habitat at Skaha Lake Park and Sun-Oka Provincial Park that support local wildlife and species at risk, and engage the communities of Penticton and Summerland in environmental understanding and resource stewardship in the South Okanagan through a number of workshops and participatory stewardship opportunities.
OSNS Child and Youth Development Centre
OSNS runs intensive parent coaching groups and single-session workshops for parents whose children are eligible for Early Intervention services. These groups are well attended and very well regarded by the parents who participate. In past years, OSNS has received Early Mental Health funding that allowed the inclusion of families otherwise not eligible – children with ASD or school-age children. With this grant, we would expand our groups and workshops to include these parents, free of charge.
Pathways Addictions Resource Society
Pathways has been offering vital and sought after programs for people of the South Okanagan battling substance use and addiction for several years. One of these programs is the Men’s DEW (Days, Evenings, Weekends) which is an evidence based intensive outpatient treatment program for men who are struggling with substance use issues and are unable to leave the community and their families to attend outpatient treatment.
Penticton & District Community Arts Council
Funding will be used for operations and additional staffing to address the increasing demands for our programs and services. We would hire a part-time programming coordinator to oversee part of our current programming and additional community arts outreach to marginalized populations (including youth and seniors). Many community members are without the means to access arts programming and we seek to reduce this inequality of access.
Penticton and Area Access Centre
The Access Centre is a Crisis Centre operating throughout a global pandemic. Having a reliable Triage Receptionist has been paramount in the level of care we provide to our clients who are often in a state of crisis, especially in these COVID times. Advocates and clients have benefited tremendously by this pillar of support up front. This position is the first point of contact for people in crisis and is vital to continuing the mental well being of our community’s most
Penticton Art Gallery
The Ignite the Arts Festival will be a nine day celebration of art and culture, kicking off on Friday March 25 and running through to Sunday April 3, 2022. The festival is an expansion of the Penticton Art Gallery’s annual March Exhibition opening, designed to engage more community partners in the planning, programming and ultimate realization of this event. This provides the City with a new shoulder season flagship event and we hope it will help the PAG to diversify its revenue streams.
Penticton Meals on Wheels
Meals on Wheels needs to replace many of our insulated foam carriers. These carriers are used to put in the hot meals, desserts and soups that are delivered to our clients Monday, Wednesday and Fridays including all statutory holidays that follow on these three days.
Penticton Recovery Resource Society
Funds will go toward a 1/3 of the cost of a primary addiction recovery treatment bed at Discovery House. The funds will help subsidize treatment for local individuals who could not otherwise afford long-term, live in treatment, life skills training, counselling, and peer base recovery fellowship support.
Princeton & District Community Services Society
Funding would be used to supplement the cost of food and supplies to operate our Meals on Wheels program. Our Meals on Wheels program offers 3 days of warm, cost effective meals delivered to the customers door. In addition to the meal, the customer also has a check in with the driver.
South Okanagan Health Care Auxiliary Society
The SOHCAS is 100% volunteer operated. Everyone associated with the organization proudly donates their time and energy.
The primary goal of the elevator is to provide the volunteers (seniors) a safe method of transporting merchandise from the receiving/sorting/processing area to the retail space but the benefits of the shop’s expansion are far reaching.
South Okanagan Integrated Services
The Cindy Taylor safe home has been running at 200% capacity for the last 18 months. We have been housing women in our safe home as well as in local motels. In order for us to provide the standard of care that these women need and should receive we need to provide them with more staff and counselling support. We have expanded the safe home program to a house that will provide more full time staff support. We also operate two independent units (one bedroom) at our affordable housing complex.
South Okanagan Similkameen Mental Wellness Society
Our Peer Support program is accessible to all individuals with mental illness in the South Okanagan Similkameen. We offer both in-person and online support groups, one-on-one peer support, and visit Country Squire Villa in Osoyoos to support and connect with the residents there. Our goal with this funding is to hire more peer workers, offer programs more frequently throughout the year, and to increase the number of support groups and frequency of travel to communities outside of Penticton.
Summerland Community Arts Council
This grant will be used to upgrade retail equipment in the Summerland Community Arts Council store. This store gives artists in the South Okanagan a venue to sell their products
Summerland Food Bank & Resource Centre
Create a “Seed to Feed” program which would bring together the Summerland Food Bank & Resource Centre’s “Odd Job”, “Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Sharing Stand” and “Greenhouse Partnership” projects under one coordinator with the goal of providing entry level employment and a sustainable fresh produce source to the community of Summerland and area.
The Canadian Red Cross Society, South Okanagan HELP Service
HELP Wheelchairs and Walkers for Kids in Casts: Addressing the Shortage of Equipment across the Okanagan valley.
The Good Samaritan Society
Enhance the current recreation program at Village by the Station in Penticton British Columbia.The revenue used to run the program has been negatively effected by the COVID-19 pandemic and they were unable to sustain the standard of programming. We are seeing a change in residents needs and at this time are unable to make the purchases needed to accommodate this. By providing updated resources and supports we will be able to better serve seniors in our community.
The Penticton Centre for Exceptional Learning Society
Funding to relocate to a larger space in Penticton (in August 2022), furnish four more classrooms, and support more Autistic families on their wait list.
Vermilion Forks Elementary School
The school will use the funds to provide a safe and effective working atmosphere to further student’s educational and social development. Free tutoring and healthy snacks are provided, however the program is free of charge to our students.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How are Grant Decisions Made?
Grant decisions are made by a volunteer community that reviews applications received.
Are faith-based projects eligible for funding?
We do not make grants for projects specifically intended to promote a specific faith or faith-based perspective. However, faith-based organizations are encouraged to apply for projects that provide direct support or benefit to the wider community.
Can you apply for funding outside of the service area of the CFSOS?
Short answer: no. We provide grants to charities and non-profits operating within the boundaries of the RDOS.
Do demographics play a role in deciding who will get money?
We have more than 100 endowment funds that all have the opportunity to assign grant criteria for their money.
Some of these endowment funds restrict granting based on geography (only Penticton, for example) and/or a field of interest (only animal welfare).
So the answer is, yes, demographics play a role in the decisions, but how that plays out is based on the criteria chosen by the donors, not by the CFSOS.
As a non-charity, what happens if you can’t find a sponsor charity?
If you are not a registered charity, it is in your best interest to ensure you have a sponsoring agency in place before you submit your application. There is a form you can fill out between the 2 organizations that will be required prior to receiving funding.
What happens if I forgot to submit last year’s grant report?
If you forgot to submit your report please contact our office before proceeding through the application process. We will still accept your report, but your application will only be eligible for funding if the report is in before the 2023 application deadline of October 14th, 2022 or you have made prior arrangements with the Grants Manager.
How soon do we receive the money?
2023 Grant awards will aim to be approved at the November 29th, 2022 board meeting but will be payable starting January of 2023, assuming the project is ready to receive the funds. We do not release money until the charity confirms they are ready to use the money. For example, if your project begins in March and you won’t be spending money on it until June, you will be eligible to receive the money in June.
It’s important to note that you will not receive the money until you formally request the funds.
How are the applications reviewed and judged?
Applications are initially reviewed by staff to ensure they are complete, meet the basic requirements for applying, and include enough information to allow the Grants Committee to make informed decisions. Staff also provide additional information to supplement the application including history of past grants, quality of past grant reporting and promotion by recipients, and other background details that may assist the committee in making its decisions.
The Board of CFSOS appoints a Grants Committee comprised of 5 board members and 2-3 independent community members. The committee members first review and rate the applications independently. Individual rankings are combined to create an aggregate ranking of all applicants.
Applications are ranked on merit using five key criteria that remain confidential. This means that a seniors project will be ranked in direct comparison to a heritage project, for example.
The Committee then meets to discuss the specifics of who will receive grants, and for how much. An initial discussion of the aggregate rankings takes place which sometimes results in an applicant moving up or down the list. After that, the applications are reviewed from the top down until we run out of money.
When the Committee approves a grant amount, staff immediately confirm which endowment fund is available to grant for that project. Because most endowment funds have some grant criteria, it is possible that we won’t have money to grant to a specific project, even if it ranks very high on the list. For example, if the top three projects happen to be for youth, we may run out of “youth-specific” funds after we award #1 and #2. In that case, the third high quality youth grant request could not receive funding.
How long does it take to decide who will receive funding?
We have posted our timeline at the top of the page. The plan is to formally approve the 2023 grant recommendations at the November 29th, 2022 board meeting.
After that approval, all applicants (successful and unsuccessful) will be notified by email.
What are eligible expenses?
The Foundation will accept application requests for most types of expenses. In fact, it’s easier to consider what we won’t fund as you will see in another FAQ.
We will fund the start up of a new charity or project, wages associated with a specific program, bridge financing, capital costs, training costs, operating expenses like rent (under certain circumstances), and most other things you can think of.
It’s important for applicants to understand that the Foundation wishes to invest in change, but we recognize that change takes time. We don’t want to be a revenue line item on your annual operating budget, but if you need an infusion of cash to get started (or stay afloat) then perhaps we can work together.
If you have plans for how to improve the long-term prospects of your charity or clients, but need funding to test the idea and move towards measurable outcomes then, again, maybe there’s a fit.
How much money is available this year?
We will be granting over $375,000 in 2023. However, about 1/2 of the granting is pre-designated by donors. That means that just over $170,000 will be available for the grant application process.
Keep in mind that the Foundation doesn’t usually have FULL discretion with the grant decisions. Most funds have some criteria that we must honour when selecting recipients. For example, the Smith Family Fund may have $10,000 available for granting, but if Mr. & Mrs. Smith have specified animal welfare projects as their area of interest, then we can only grant to groups that fit that criteria.
What are ineligible expenses?
• Establish or add to endowment funds
• Establish or add to operating reserves
• Projects whose primary purpose is to provide political or religious activities
What is the average amount of funding?
Most of our grants average about $10,000 but you are encouraged to apply for the amount you need to successfully run your project or program.