Foundation Grants

Announcing our 2023 grant recipients!

In total, $227,602 in funding was shared by the following organizations through the 2023 Foundation Grant program:

Hiring of a Summer Campground Assistant for this wheelchair accessible, barrier free camp.

Support for the school’s Subsidized Lunch Program for students experiencing food insecurity.

Purchase of portable and adjustable tables to improve the accessibility of Club House programs.

Dishwasher upgrade to improve the safety and environmental sustainability of the school’s meal programs.

“Family Get Together” peer to peer support program for families of children with disabilities and complex care needs.

“Making Kaleden and the KVR More Welcome” project.

Support for seniors’ services and programming in Keremeos.

Holiday outreach program for isolated and vulnerable seniors.

Support for Summerland Youth Centre operations and programming.

Strategic planning and associated organizational development activities.

Support for continued delivery of Produce Rescue and Collaborative Harvest programs.

Upgrading the Society’s computers and technology.

Expansion of the Harm Reduction Peer Supports program.

Upgrades to the Centre’s building security system. 

“Hand in Hand” Parent Peer Support pilot program for parents of children with developmental challenges.

Funding to increase staffing for the Council’s “Arts Matter” program. 

Support for the Society’s music and dramatic arts education and programming.

Funding for the Centre’s Triage Receptionist service: improving clients’ timely access to appropriate resources and assistance. 

Support for the “Ignite the Arts” Festival of art and culture.

Smart board purchase to improve learning opportunities for children with autism spectrum disorder.

Building the food production capacity of School District 67’s Brown Bag lunch program.

Walk-in freezer repair and food supplies purchases to sustain this daily free meal program for people in need.

Support for “Maggie’s Lunch,” a free student meal program for students experiencing food insecurity.

Upgrading the Society’s computer hardware.

“Family Play Time” physical literacy project for schoolchildren and their families. 

Funding for this food security program for schoolchildren and their families.

Supporting the operations and programming of the Cindy Taylor Safe Home. *

(*denotes multi-year funding commitment)

Grief counselling program for children, youth, and their families.

Improved health and wellness benefits for Society staff.

“SNUG Club” program for older youth facing issues such as mental illness, isolation and poverty.

Hiring a Coordinator to support expansion of the Council’s Summer Arts Program. 

Continued operations and expansion of the “Seed To Feed” food security program. 

Before and after school care program for students in need of additional academic and social supports.

Support to subsidize a primary addiction recovery treatment bed at Discovery House.

Who can apply for a Foundation grant?

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 grants@cfso.net for more information. If you’re an individual hoping to host a neighbourhood event or fund a small local project, please consider applying for a neighbourhood small grant here.

When can I apply?

This year’s Foundation grant cycle is now closed. The chart below details the typical timeline from application cycle through to a grant’s availability for payout.

Mid-August Mid-October October – November
End of November/early December
Early January
Application cycle beginsApplication cycle ends. All applications must be received by 5pm.Grants Committee reviews applications and make recommendations.Community Impact Committee & Board of Directors receive and approve grant recommendations. Applicants are notified.Grant payments can be made to successful applicants.

Initial Steps

  • Learn how to write a more effective grant application by visiting our Grant-writing Workshop page.
  • View our Recent Grants page to learn about past grant recipients and their projects.
  • 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. 
  • For questions or inquiries, please contact grants@cfso.net.

Planning Documents

Please read through the Funding Guidelines before you start your application:

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 here:

Completing Your Application

Note: you will only be able to complete an application during the current year’s application cycle.

Applications will only be accepted through our online application system. PDF files or hard copies are not permitted. If you need help navigating the online application process, please contact grants@cfso.net.

When you are ready, and the application process is open, click on Start Your Application button below.

If you applied for a grant in the past, you will already have your organization’s information in the system.  Your profile will be associated with the email you used last year to apply. Simply use that same email and the password you chose for the system. If you don’t remember your password, click the “Forgot password?” link to reset it.

If you haven’t applied for a previous grant, click the “Create New Account” button and fill out your profile.

Frequently Asked Questions

Grant decisions are made by a volunteer Grants Committee that reviews applications received. The Grants Committee is made up of 7 to 9 independent community members from across the South Okanagan Similkameen.  Smaller, community-specific committees may also contribute to the process by evaluating applications from their community/area and providing the Grants Committee with their non-binding recommendations.

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.

No. We provide grants to charities and non-profits operating within the boundaries of the RDOS.

We have more than 100 endowment funds, and all have the opportunity to assign grant criteria to 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 can play a role in granting decisions. However, these decisions are made based on the criteria chosen by the donors, not by the CFSOS.

The Foundation is only able to fund qualified donees as defined by Canada’s Income Tax Act. If you are not a registered charity, it is in your best interest to ensure you have a sponsoring charity 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.

If you forgot to submit your report for a previous year’s grant, 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 application deadline or you have made prior arrangements with the Grants Manager.

Grant awards are generally approved at the Board meeting following the Grants Committee’s decision-making process; this Board meeting is usually held in late November. Grants are payable starting in January of the following year, 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.

Applications are initially reviewed by Foundation 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 a history of past grants and other background details that may assist the Grants Committee in making its decisions.  

Grants Committee members first review and rate the applications independently. 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 individual rankings are combined by staff to create an aggregate ranking of all applications. 

The Committee then meets to discuss the specifics of who will receive grants, and for how much.  A initial review of the aggregate rankings takes place, which sometimes results in an application moving up or down the rankings list.  After this initial review, the Committee begins to make its funding recommendations. The process generally moves from the top of the rankings list downward until all available funding is allocated. 

As the Committee recommends a grant amount for an applicant, staff immediately confirm which endowment fund is available to grant for their application.  Because most endowment funds have some grant criteria, it is possible funds will not be available 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 potentially not receive funding. 

Foundation staff take the Grant Committee’s funding recommendations to the Community Impact Committee, a sub-committee of the Foundation’s Board, for review and approval. Finally, the Foundation Board confirms the Community Impact Committee’s decision.  

From application deadline date (usually mid-October) to final approval by the Foundation’s Board (usually end of November), the decision making process typically takes 7 to 8 weeks.

After the Board’s approval, all applicants (successful and unsuccessful) are notified by email. This generally happens in the first week of December.

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.

The total amount of funds available for granting is determined annually. In 2023, we had over $375,000 available to grant.  However, about 1/2 of this annual granting was pre-designated by donors.

Keep in mind that the Foundation doesn’t usually have FULL discretion with its grant decisions.  Most of our 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.

• Establish or add to endowment funds
• Establish or add to operating reserves
• Projects whose primary purpose is to provide political or religious activities

In 2023, most of our grants fell in the $5,000 to $15,000 range. However, we encourage you to apply for the amount you need to successfully run your project or program.

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