The 2024 Foundation grant application cycle is now closed.
Thank you to all organizations who applied!
The evaluation process is now underway. We expect to announce our grant recipients in early December.
Who can apply for a Foundation grant?
We will consider funding projects, programs and activities of not-for-profit and charitable organizations which align with the charitable aims of the Foundation. The applicant’s project, program or activity must also demonstrate a fit with our funding guidelines and priorities. Please see our 2024 Foundation grant funding guidelines or 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 consider applying for a neighbourhood small grant here. The next application cycle for the Neighbourhood Small Grant program will take place in Spring 2024.
What’s the timeline?
Foundation grants are made annually. The chart below details the typical timeline for a Foundation grant cycle:
|Mid-August||Mid-October||October – November ||End of November/early December ||Early January |
|Application cycle begins.||Application cycle ends. All applications must be received by 5pm on due date.||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.|
- View our Recent Grants page to learn about past grant recipients and their projects.
- We encourage you to plan your application in advance using the documents below.
- Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you have.
Read through the 2024 Funding Guidelines before you start your application:
Read a copy of the grant application questions below:
View examples of project summaries here:
Completing Your Application
You will only be able to complete your application during the application period, which runs from August 19th to October 15th, 2023.
Applications will only be accepted through our online application system. If you need help navigating the application process, please contact email@example.com.
When you are ready and the application process is open, click on the button below:
The “Start Your Application” link will take you to the system’s sign in page. If you’ve applied for a grant from us in the past, you should already have your organization’s profile in our system.
Your profile will be associated with the email you used previously to apply. To sign in, simply use that same email, along with the password that was established for the system. If you don’t remember the password, click the “Forgot password?” link to reset it.
If your organization hasn’t applied for a grant previously, click the “Create New Account” button and follow the instructions.
If you’re unsure about any of the above, please contact us and we’ll be more than happy to help.
Frequently Asked Questions
How are grant decisions made?
Grant decisions are made by a volunteer Grants Committee that reviews applications received. The Grants Committee is made up of 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.
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?
We provide grants to charities and non-profits for projects, programs and activities taking place within the boundaries of the RDOS. If you are unsure of your eligibility based on this criteria, please contact us before applying.
Do demographics play a role in deciding who will get money?
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.
What happens if I forgot to submit last year’s grant report?
If you forgot to submit your report for a previous year’s grant, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org 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 (because the project for which previous funding was received is not yet complete, for example).
How soon do we receive the money?
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.
How are the applications reviewed and judged?
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 several 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.
How long does it take to decide who will receive funding?
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.
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 project, wages associated with a specific program, bridge financing, organizational development activities, 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 each year?
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.
What are ineligible expenses?
- Establishing or adding to endowment funds
- Establishing or adding to operating reserves
- Establishing or adding to a capital campaign
- Sponsoring a general fundraising event
- Projects that have a primary purpose of promoting political or religious activities or beliefs
What is the value of a typical grant?
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, program or activity.