Guidelines Released: Future Focus Granting Program

Grant Announcement Categories: Future Focus Granting Program

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Guidelines Released: Future Focus Granting Program

Guidelines for the Future Focus Granting Program have now been updated for 2023–2024.

The Future Focus Granting Program is a pilot program developed in collaboration with and funded by three partners: Calgary Arts Development, the Rozsa Foundation and the Calgary Foundation.

The past three years have seen significant upheaval in the arts, and many arts organizations are now grappling with the question “what is this moment asking of us?” by exploring new directions, priorities and identities in response to their changing context. 

In support of this work, the Future Focus Program is aimed at supporting arts organizations to investigate, plan and implement significant strategic adaptations in their operations. 

On June 27, 2023 Calgary Arts Development held an information session on this year’s Future Focus Granting Program. The video and transcript of the session are below.

Melissa Tuplin: Great. Thank you so much, everyone, for for joining us for this information session on the Future Focus Program. My name is Melissa Tuplin, I’m the director of Community Investment and Impact at Calgary Arts Development, and I am joined today by my colleagues from Calgary Arts Development, as well as the Rozsa Foundation and the Calgary Foundation, who are joint partners on this program.

So maybe I’ll just do a quick kind of run of introductions from the folks who are here. So perhaps I’ll have Jason start us off. Just to quickly introduce yourself.

Jason Bates: Hi, my name is Jason Bates. I use he/him pronouns and I am the Vice-President of Grants and Community Initiatives at Calgary Foundation. Thank you for joining us this afternoon.

Melissa Tuplin: Thank you. Brigitte?

Brigitte von Rothemburg: Thanks, Melissa And thanks, Jason. Yeah, I work on the grants team here at Calgary Foundation and I am also supporting a volunteer program. I really appreciate you all taking the time to join us today.

Melissa Tuplin: Thank you.

Brigitte von Rothemburg: Thank you, Melissa, for taking this on.

Simon Mallett: Hi, everyone. Simon Mallet, he/him pronouns and the executive director of the Rosza Foundation.

Melissa Tuplin: Thank you. And Alan.

Allan Rosales: Hi everyone. Allan Rosales, Manager of Community Investment at Calgary Arts Development. And my pronouns are he/him. A pleasure seeing all of you today.

Melissa Tuplin: Wonderful. Thank you, everyone. So before we get started, I, of course, want to acknowledge that we’re all joining virtually, I assume, from Mohkinsstsis, here in Treaty 7, the ancestral territory of the Blackfoot people, the Siksika, the Kainai and Piikani Nations, as well as the Treaty 7 signatories, the Tsuut’ina Nation, and the Îyârhe Nakoda Bearspaw, Chiniki and Wesley First Nations, and that today this land is home to the Métis Region 3. We acknowledge that there has been art, music, dance, storytelling and ceremony on this land since time immemorial. And it’s in the spirit of this land and the people that live here that we do our work. And this is something that I think is really important to us as we think about a program called the Future Focus Program, that part of looking into the future is telling the truth about the past and that reconciliation journey that each of these funding organizations are on is absolutely foundational to the programs that we run and the investments that we make in this city that we share.

So a little bit of housekeeping. I’ll be doing the majority of the presentation today. My colleagues at the foundations are going to be monitoring the chat. So if any questions come up, feel free to throw them into the chat. I’m going to run through the entire presentation because we are recording today and then I will, we’ll stop the presentation, sorry, stop the recording before we get into question and answer. So there’s no need for you to worry about your face or questions to be captured for posterity. But we will be posting the recording for reference on our website and then at the end of the session there will be time for questions and answers, either to go through the questions in the chat or for you to unmute and ask your question verbally.

We are also joined today by Angèle Bleakley who is Calgary Arts Development’s digital specialist, who is very kindly running this Zoom session for us as well as the recording. And so if you do have any IT issues or problems with this Zoom, please feel free to either privately chat Angèle or post that in the chat and they will help you out.

I think that is everything so far. So I think we will get started, if we can go to the next slide, please, Angèle that would be awesome. Great. So I think something that was really important to us as we talk about the Future Focus Program is talking a little bit about where we came from and why this program came into existence.

So individually, each of our organizations have been offering grant investment programs over the years that do offer support for strategic initiatives and opportunities for the development of future focused work and for lifecycle management, in particular the Rozsa Foundation and the Calgary Foundation have been running these programs for strategic development for many years. And those programs really do encompass much of the work that the Future Focus Program intends to cover. In 2021 Calgary Arts Development launched our Organizational Structural Change program, which was a pilot program that very specifically focused on life cycle, so organizations that were looking at mergers and amalgamations, hibernating their operations or even fold, closures. And this was in response to the pandemic when we were hearing that upwards of 20% of nonprofit organizations across Canada and even beyond the arts might eventually have to close their doors as a result of the pandemic. And the program wanted to step in and provide support for organizations who were going to do that.

Alongside that program, we began to do a long term case study and evaluation project because we acknowledge that funding this type of work is something that requires us to really be looking at the impacts of it long term. While we were doing that, the Rozsa Foundation was running their Aspirations Program, the Calgary Foundation was running the Strategic Opportunities Programs and funding other types of strategic work.

And we came together and said there’s an opportunity here for us to think a little bit differently about how we provide support for the arts sector undertaking this work, that there was a lot of alignment between the goals that each of us had for supporting the sector and an opportunity to build upon the existing work to find efficiencies for the sector, you know, not having to apply to three different programs, expecting maybe to get one or two of those grants, but also for us to come together and really think about how we could support knowledge sharing and learning for these types of initiatives.

The other reason why we came together and created the Future Focus Program was that Calgary Arts Development has the ability to direct funding to nonprofit organizations as well as to charities. And so for the Rozsa Foundation and the Calgary Foundation, to be able to direct their funds through CADA meant that they could expand beyond funding non-qualified, sorry, just charities to funding more of the non-qualified ones.

And so the Future Focus Program expanded to include business model evaluation, strategy, development, succession planning, the types of things that are really needed for organizations to put into place or to consider perhaps even before they’re able to ask themselves whether or not the life cycle of their organization has been completed. And so we ran that program last year. We were really excited about the types of opportunities that were coming forward from organizations, and 2023 is now the second year of this joint initiative. Our focus this year is continuing to deepen our understanding of how the resources and knowledge that we’re developing through this or that the organizations that we’re funding specifically are developing can be shared more broadly in the community. Next slide, please.

So to put a finer point on why this program, I think a real instigating factor for us is the pandemic increased the need for arts organizations to be able to explore and undertake structural change. We have always known that this is a need in the community, but the pandemic circumstance is really acutely pointed out where some of the cracks in these systems were and how even funding organizing contributed to those cracks. So the need for non-outcome based, open-ended exploration that allow organizations to access the expertise and the resources to support strategic transformation. And we know that that is time consuming and we know that that is expensive. Looking at legal reviews, accessing consultant expertise to run an organizational audits, the financial audits that might be necessary to understand the long term future of an organization. All of these things take time and can’t necessarily be tied to a project grant. Right. We’re not looking at a specific ‘I know this is going to happen’ outcome here.

We also know that funders need to be able to be flexible to try new ways of accepting and assessing applications. So, you know, in this program, having a shared application across three different funders that looks to invest through quick and flexible turnaround times and that this is a non peer assessed process, are new ways of thinking in different ways for all three of our organization. And so that was kind of the hypothesis that we had around why a program like this might be needed in the community. Next slide, please.

So what is this program for? Ultimately, the Future Focus Program is intended to give organizations the time, the money and the space to think deeply about the core challenges and questions that you are facing about the future of your organization.

The program is for projects and the time for you to engage the expertise that you need to build organizational capacity and make plans for the future and to explore new directions, priorities and identities without being tied to an expected outcome. And that piece is really critical for us. This program is really intended for you to come to us and say, we have this question that we need to figure out an answer too, and we don’t know what that might be. This is not about prebuilt solutions or putting into place a plan that you, you think is going to work. This is around the time in this space to really explore what the future could be.

The program is intended to support nonprofit arts organizations and arts charities that are operating in Calgary, as well as arts organizations that are Indigenous-led and Indigenous-serving in the Treaty 7 Nation. In some cases, this program may be open to organizations that are operating in different models. So a grassroots collective, let’s say, who are really thinking about how they might formalize their activities and what the business model or structure needs to be for that work, or for organizations who are operating in a nonprofit model or are thinking about perhaps moving away from that.

There’s definitely some options here, but this is around organizational work.

Simon Mallett: Sorry we’re just slightly behind on the presentation.

Melissa Tuplin: Okay. Next slide. Thank you. So we are offering this program in two phases. Phase one, Exploration, is for the ideation phase: imagining, discussing, strategizing, researching, and really the focus on this exploration phase is what is this core question, defining the core question that you’re looking to answer about your organization.

For this phase, we generally will offer grants up to $15,000, but are absolutely open to having a conversation about a slightly higher grant amount for the exploration phase, depending on where you’re at. That is a conversation that you can have with the funder representative, but that’s generally the amount that we offer for that phase. Next slide, please.

And then the second phase is the Implementation phase, and this phase is for responding to what you learned through exploration, developing a plan to respond and putting that plan into action. One thing to note here is that you are not required to go through the exploration phase in this program in order to access the implementation phase. But what we are looking for is that you have gone through and are able to demonstrate the exploration that you went through in order to get to implementation. And I’ll talk a little bit more about that later on in the presentation. But again, we really want to understand what that core question is that you were looking to answer and how you got to that answer in order to access the implementation phase, and we will offer a grant generally up to $25,000 at that phase. Next slide, please.

This program we have kind of broadly bucketed into five major kind of focus areas for what the program is intended for. So we’ll talk about each of those focus areas, and I have, we’ve given some examples of the types of projects for each of those that might fit into exploration or implementation to give you a bit of a sense of what we’re looking to fund.

So the first major focus area is organizational strategy, development and planning to explore new directions. So an example of of an exploration phase project could be for an organization to undertake deep strategic planning that considers the organization’s role in the ecosystem and what your future mandate, mission and vision might be. And I say deep strategic planning, because I will say in general, there are a lot of programs that exist through funding agencies that support regular strategic planning that happens in the kind of usual cycle of an organization’s operations. What we’re looking for here is it might take the form of a strategic planning process, but the questions that you’re asking may be a little bit deeper, maybe about considering your role in the ecosystem, maybe about validating whether or not your mission, mandate and vision is still accurate and valid and relevant to your communities. So it’s digging a little bit further than a regular strategic plan that might be looking, you know, one or two years ahead to the types of programs that you’re you’re going to be offering.

An implementation example is then addressing the capacity and the system needs that have been identified through that new direction. If you could go back Angèle, thanks. So you’ve developed this new direction, a new vision. What are the systemic needs in the organization that need to change in order to support that? Next slide, please.

The next big focus area is business model evaluation and shifts and structural changes. So an example for an exploration phase might be a feasibility study or a research project to change your business model. For example, if you’re currently operating as a nonprofit organization, is there an opportunity to look at what’s shifting to a social enterprise model might be. So a literal kind of investigation of whether or not a new business model is going to be meaningful and important for your organization. The implementation phase could then look like making those structural changes to the operations in order to embed that new model. Next slide, please.

The third is sustained inter-organizational collaborations and resource sharing. So long term partnerships that structurally and foundationally change the way that you’re operating. So that might look like exploring and researching a possible resource sharing model for staff and volunteers across multiple organizations. Looking at whether or not job sharing is something that’s helpful. Looking at shared office spaces or other types of resources that better leverage each of your organization’s resource capacity and financial management. On the implementation side, that could look like formalizing then, a memorandum of understanding to partner on that resource sharing model or to partner on core programming without undertaking a formal amalgamation or merger. Next slide, please. Thank you.

Succession planning, to transition from founding and longstanding leaders. I think a quick note about succession planning here in terms of the Future Focus Program is we also acknowledge that coming out of the pandemic, we are looking at some pretty significant shifts within those who are working in the arts sector here in the city and what that might mean for the future of organizations.

So exploration could be the development of a succession plan. As a founding leader steps away, implementation could look at putting that succession plan into action, then, to support existing and incoming staff. And finally, organization lifecycle questions. That includes the explorations of mergers and closures. So exploring in phase could be exploring whether the organization has served its purpose and is ready to to go. Implementation could look at legally formalizing a merger with another organization.

And I think something that all of us really want to emphasize here, and which really kind of is the core reason specifically why Calgary Arts Development created the Organization Structural Change Program in the first place is we never wanted the idea of closing an organization or amalgamating or merging to be considered a failure. That, you know, there’s this fallacy of perpetuity in the in the nonprofit sector, in the arts sector that says if you close, you’ve failed, if you’ve closed you haven’t served your purpose. And none of us believe that, we believe that part of working in an ecosystem model and really responsibly thinking about how we support our communities and our artists and create space for new ideas and new organizations to come in. And sometimes that means closing and celebrating the legacy of an organization and doing that in a way that creates space for the knowledge or the deep history of an organization to move into another organization or to be shared and and celebrated by the community. And so this is something that was really important to us when we created this program, is we want everyone to know that coming forward to us and saying we might be considering closing is not something that we are going to respond to negatively. And in particular for those who receive operational funding from Calgary Arts Development, absolutely not something that is going to impact your access to funding from any other program while you’re going through that process. So I just wanted to say that out loud to the community here.  Next slide, please.

What isn’t this program for? So at the high level, this program is not intended to support program development and delivery or kind of out of the box solutions for projects in the realm of like, say, fund development or marketing. And it can’t fund activities or projects that are already being funded by one of the partners through a really specific grant.

So on the program delivery side, we really understand and acknowledge that the development and delivery of programs are aresponse to an organization’s future needs, right? We we create and develop, develop programs to respond to your future needs or to respond to your aspirations. But the intention of this program, and especially in the exploration phase, is to consider the strategies, aspirations, goals and needs that lead to or may lead to, and underpin the creation of programs to serve those needs.

So one way to think about it is that this Future Focus Program is intended to help you think about the why of your work. Why do we exist? Why do we serve the people and the artists that we serve? Why are these the strategies and goals that we’ve identified for ourselves to move into the future. The types of activities that build the foundation for your what and your how? So the programs are the what and the how. This funding program is intended to help you answer the why. That said, we know there may be an opportunity for us to look at, let’s say, experimentation within this, and that might look like implementing a small experiment in order to test your why, that kind of at its face it’s not intended to support ‘we’re going to create a new program because we think the community needs it’ and it’s for the development of that. Again, speak to your funder representative about that. And then we also don’t intend to use the program to support kind of pre-built fee for service marketing or fund development projects. So, for example, this this program isn’t intended to help you just hire a firm to deploy a out of the box marketing campaign or to plan and run a fundraiser.

Again, these we know these are things that might help you move towards the future, but are not necessarily about deeply investigating your identity or your role in the ecosystem. Where we might look at projects that relate to marketing or fund development, is is this a core question about who your community is, who you’re seeking to connect with? Why existing strategies are not working, or how a different strategy might better position you into the future? Those are the types of questions that we’re really asking for. Next slide, please. Thank you.

So you’ll note when we publish the guidelines that this program will ask you to speak to how you’re considering reconciliation, equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility in this work. And the reason for that, and I mentioned it off the top, is we really believe that you cannot think about the future without considering how you are addressing these five things. That moving forward means considering how your organization is undertaking reconciliation work, is considering how your organization is embedding equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility inside your organization, inside your mandate, inside the way that you think about program aiming or connecting with your communities. So we’ve provided some definitions here. I’ll just note that the definitions for equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility, those are the definitions that Calgary Arts Development uses and are listed in our strategic framework for the next four years. If you have other questions around how the Calgary Foundation and the Rosa Foundation consider and address these values and principles in their own work, Jason, Simon, Brigitte and Ayla will be happy to talk to you about that, but kind of our working definitions here for reconciliation is that we believe in building a renewed relationship with Indigenous peoples based on the recognition of rights, respect and partnership and in the context of the land that we are on, Treaty 7, in renewing the spirit of that Treaty and acknowledging the land that we live and work on. Equity is about creating equitable access for Calgarians who have less opportunity for philanthropic and government support due to systemic barriers that exist in our community or have less opportunity for access to arts experiences because of those systemic barriers. Diversity is about supporting artistic endeavours that reflect our diverse community and supporting the work of artists of diverse backgrounds, that the arts ecosystem in Calgary reflects the citizenship of Calgary, those who live and work here. Inclusion is about engaging a wide variety of voices and perspectives in shaping and furthering the work that we do, that ensuring that people feel included, that they see themselves in our work, that they’re not only invited to the party, that they are also invited to dance in a way that is authentic to them. And accessibility is about eliminating the systemic barriers that prevent people who encounter physical, mental or cultural barriers to spaces, programs and services from participating in the arts. Go to the next slide, please.

So what do we really mean by that for this program? What does considering reconciliation and equity diversity, inclusion and accessibility mean when you are thinking about your organization? So these are just some guiding questions that may help you in considering this. A guiding question that we have here at Calgary Arts Development, and that has been a part of the Future Focus Program design is what is the moment asking of us as we look ahead to the future? What are the conditions that we’re living in? What are the communities around us calling for and asking for? What is our responsibility when considering our role and our position in the ecosystem and then our responsibility to the sector? Who is your community? How do you serve your community? How do you want to serve your community? And then how might we work towards reconciliation and embed equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility in our day to day operations, programming and long term strategies?

And I think something here that is important to remind ourselves of is, this does not mean that we are asking organizations to be everything to everyone, that your organization may in fact have a very specific community that you serve, a very specific mandate and focus. And that’s absolutely okay, what we’re asking is that organizations are thinking then about what these words that have become very jargony really mean to you in your work. So what does equity mean in the context of the communities and the artists that you serve? What does equity mean in the context of how you want to be in the future? You know, that might mean looking at your hiring practices, that might mean looking at what you’re programming, what does inclusion mean? How is it that you’re in relationship with your community? How is it that you’re engaging with your community to ensure that they’re welcome to your work? You know, accessibility is important for all of us to consider, how are audiences and artists coming to us, do they have access to the tools or the spaces that they need to have access to in order to experience your work? So you know, these things are big questions, and that really is what this program is intended to support.

We are not expecting you to have answers to all of these questions, but we do want you to think about how you might get there and again, in a way that is relevant to the project and the core question that you were seeking to answer. And that’s really where the conversation with your funder representative will really come in handy is is being able to talk through that with us in a in a kind of thoughtful and considerate way. Next slide, please.

So the program this year, this year we have a $300,000 budget for the program across all three funders. That money is distributed by Calgary Arts Development on behalf of the joint partnership. We are running the program in three intakes this year. And essentially what that means is we will accept applications all the way up to those dates in July, September and November, and then all of the applications that we have received to that point we’ll review, we’ll assess, and we’ll make decisions shortly after each of those intakes.

The budget is generally going to be split across all three intakes just to ensure that this isn’t necessarily a first come, first served situation. We really want to balance being able to respond to the needs that the community has right now, while also creating space for organizations who may come to us later in the year to be able to access funding as well. And so the first kind of review will happen at the end of July into August, the second at the end of September into October, and the third at the end of November and into December. Next slide, please.

So the process for this, and I guess I should note that the guidelines are just being finalized right now and they will be updated shortly on the website. There aren’t a lot of changes from last year’s guidelines and so if you do want to take a look at the kind of general process and overview, what is currently on CADA’s website for 2022 is basically the process that we will follow this year. But those guidelines will be up and updated shortly and we’ll announce those in our newsletters.

So for this program, we do ask that you meet with a representative from one of the funders to discuss your core question and what you’re seeking to do. That is something that we have put in place for a number of reasons. The first is time saving, that we want to ensure that we can talk to you about what you’re thinking of and determine whether or not it’s eligible for the program or if there’s another program that will better serve your needs so that you don’t waste your time creating an application for something that might not be a good fit.

That’s one of the reasons. The second reason is really so that we can sit with you and have a conversation about what you’re looking to do and how you might frame your application in a way that really aligns with the program and to ensure that we can get you set up for as much success as possible with the types of support material that might helpful or the types of questions that we might ask. So we can really help you put that together. So that representative will work with you to develop, determine that eligibility. And then if they determine, yep, this is a great fit for the program, they will give you access to the online application form. You’ll complete that application form and then we’ll meet shortly after each intake as a group to discuss applications and make decisions.

And so I mentioned at the beginning of this that this is not a peer-assessed program. For those of you who are familiar with at least Calgary Arts Development’s work, you’ll know that most of our programs are assessed by an arm’s length group of peer assessors who are asked to review each applications and make the decision. We know that the Calgary Foundation, of course, has their own volunteer assessment process as well, for this program, one of the reasons why we have kept it to being staff assessed is a) because we know a lot of these conversations are vulnerable, that some of the questions that you might be asking about your organization, you’re not ready to share with a broader community yet, or it may be confidential information, particularly if you’re looking at something like a merger or an amalgamation.

You know, of course, those of us who run peer assessment and volunteer programs have confidentiality agreements in place. But, you know, as staff of each of these organizations, you know, we are committed to ensuring that the confidentiality of your work is really honoured and that you have space to work through some of these vulnerable questions or kind of like deep conversations at the board and staff level about your role in the community, your identity, and it’s important to us that you feel safe and brave and being able to ask those. So that’s one of the reasons why. The other reason is that as staff of each of these organizations and having that initial conversation with you, we have the ability to kind of have the context about who you are as an organization and what your work is. We have the kind of high level systems view of an ecosystem to be able to look at what’s happening in Calgary and in the sector from that kind of 30,000 foot level. And that context can be really important to thinking about, you know, where an investment into an organization is going to be beneficial. And so that’s one of the reasons why we’ve decided to keep it at the staff level for assessment.

The other reason is expediency. Is we have the then to turn this around fairly quickly without having to convene groups of volunteers. One thing we will say, though, is we don’t know everything. We are not experts. Each one of us as funders and each one of us as individual staff, that there may be situations for certain applicants where we’re going to have to go out to a community member or someone who has expertise to ask whether or not this a reasonable response, whether or not this plan is is something that is going to be successful.

And in those cases, we will out to experts in the field and, you know, very specifically things around like nonprofit law or, you know, experts who are really, really knowledgeable about mergers and closures, those types of things. And in those cases, we will fully anonymize your application to the extent that we can ensure that your information is still confidential, but we’re able to kind of pass that through folks who may have more lived experience in those projects. So we do reserve that right, and we will let you know if we have shared your information. But just to say that that’s the reason why we have decided on that assessment process. Next slide, please.

Okay. So the application checklist for this program, the big change that we have made to the 2023 Future Focused Program is the addition of this first question: What is that fundamental question and you are seeking to answer for your organization by undertaking this project? In past years, we have not included this and have discovered that what we need as funders is to really just understand succinctly what is, what is the thing that you’re trying to address and that having organizations really define that is helpful context for us as we go through rest of the application process.

Now, that question, if you’re coming in at the exploration phase, might be a little bit easier to define. If you’re coming in at the implementation phase, which means that you have gone through some form of exit or exploration, at that point we’ll have you at tell us what the fundamental question was that you were seeking to answer. So basically, what is the implementation and phase responding to again, so that we know the context of how you got there? What led you to this point? We also know that for those who perhaps had previously received an exploration phase grant through a grant last year, you weren’t asked that question last year. And so if you’re coming at implementation now, you’ll you’ll be asked to define that for us now. And it might have shifted, right? The result of the exploration might result in a question that is actually different than what you thought you were seeking to answer in the first place.

And again, that’s what this program is for. It is not about holding you to something that you used to know. It is about creating space for you to really, really think about what a possible future might be. You’ll also be asked then to tell us kind of what led you here and what you hope to learn. Again, that context of what have you already undertaken? What have you explored before? Why is this the question now? What has led to this point? So, describing any previous activities, factors, decisions or conditions that led to this work. In that section, you’ll also be asked if any previous phases of the work has been funded or is being currently funded by any one of the three organizations, including through the Future Focus Program.

You’ll be asked to describe what success might look like. Again, not to say that we will hold you to it, but have you thought about what you want to come out of this with? What do you hope to learn? What do you hope to achieve? You know, and that might just be we better understand our current circumstances. We don’t need to be looking at an answer to a hypothesis here.

Describe how, what you might hope to come up with support your mandate and your organizational goals. So how is this work tied to the way that your organization currently operates? How is this work tied to your aspirations or goals or your current strategic framework or strategies or whatever that looks like? We also want to know how this might be divergent and or different from previous practices or work.

And I think a really important thing to state here is, this isn’t about new, right? This isn’t about just focusing on work that is new or innovative, but we do want to know, again, if there’s a core fundamental question that you’re trying to answer, is this a different approach? Right? Like, is this an opportunity to try something new or take a different way into it if previous practices or approaches may not have been as successful or got to where you needed to go? And then describe, of course, how you measure, evaluate or track your learnings. So how will you know. This doesn’t need to have a deep evaluation to it, but how will you know if you’ve been successful, how will you capture your discoveries for your staff or your board or your volunteers, particularly in the exploration phase, where if you come back to us for the implementation phase, you’ll then need to be reflecting on how you know this is the next step.

In addition to that, of course, you’ll be asked for background info on your organization including your mandate, as well as what phase of the program you’re applying to and the amount of money that you’re asking for. Next slide, please.

And then tell us how you’ll complete the work. Describe what the project plan, timeline and budget will be. You’ll also be asked to provide a full budget for the grant request. Are you working with or intend to work with any other organization or individual? So if part of the project is engaging a consultant to lead your organization through the development of a strategic plan, you’ll be asked to provide a kind of high level work plan and a quote from the consultant or the consultants that you’ve sought out to take you through that work. It doesn’t mean that you have to have confirmed working with that consultant, but we do need to see what that plan is. And if you are engaging with another organization, whether that’s looking at a possible partnership or a merger or amalgamation, a letter of support from that organization to indicate that they are in on the plan is great and then we discussed in detail before, describing how you’re ensuring that this work considers and embeds reconciliation, equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility in its planning, implementation and community context.

The funder representative that you speak to will let you know what kind of support material will benefit the project that you’re applying for. So we don’t assume that financial statements or an org chart is necessarily going to be helpful for us. And so when you talk to the funder representative, they’ll say, okay, based on what you want to apply for, it would be great if we could see a cash flow forecast and a letter of support from the, you know, a community member. They’ll kind of list out what they think might be helpful. And you, of course, are welcome to provide any other support material that you think is going to be helpful to as we make our decisions. Next slide, please.

So there are six program considerations for this program. Really, what you’ll see through this is that we really just want to see that you have thought about the current state of your organization, your current role within the community. Where are you at right now? Because that helps us understand how you’re going to get to where you want to get, so understanding the now really sets that context for us to also imagine what the future might be. So that the organization defined and understands your current state of your operations and programming you defined, it understands what the priority is that you’re responding to within the context of your work. You’ve demonstrated why this work, this will help you achieve your organizational goals or learning needs, that we’ve got a clear and reasonable design for the project, including your timeline and budget, in order to accomplish your goal. This doesn’t mean we need high level Gant charts and day by day project plans, but there’s just been a reasonable approach to the general project plan. That you have a clear plan to learn from and evaluate your work and that you understand where you’re at with undertaking meaningful work for reconciliation, equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility within the context of your organization and within the context of the project. So those are the the program considerations that we’ll be discussing and looking for as we assess the applications. Next slide, please.

So for the reporting aspect of this work, I mentioned earlier that in 2021 Calgary Arts Development began a long term case study and evaluation project on our Organization Structural Change Program. And that case study and evaluation is continuing. I know we have a few former grantees in the room with us today, and you’ll have already been in contact with the consultant who is doing that work. We’ve done surveys on the program design to understand what is needed and if the program is actually serving those needs. And we’re now moving on to doing actual case studies of each of the grantees who have already received the funds. And that’s really to ensure that as we’re looking to the future, there is an opportunity for us to know what others in the community are doing, that there may be other organizations who have already started trying to answer the question that you want to answer that have been collecting and working with resources in the community to do that. And we’re really committed to trying to find ways to pull people together to have these conversations that we know, one of the significant challenges in the sector is this idea of siloing ourselves that that we’re not talking to each other. And, you know, as I mentioned, even as funders, we realized that we were all running the same program. And so we’ve come together to try to find those alignments and those opportunities to learn from each other. And so instead of like a generalized final report, you know, we’ll still ask you what you did and where you spent your money. You’ll also be asked or given the opportunity to participate in case studies, to participate in focus groups or surveys or to, you know, come together in a room with other people who have gone through this program to talk about what you’re working on. And for 2023 that is our development goal for this program is to figure out how we can better compile and share those resources across the community. Next slide, please.

And so building on that just to kind of finish off the presentation, we wanted to share some of the things that we’ve already heard from the community through this evaluation work. And just to give you again, more context of where we’re coming from and the types of things that you might be thinking about or considering right now. So just kind of at a high level, we know that part of this Future Focus Program is also about funders understanding our role in normalizing change as a function of organizational lifecycle, right? Saying out loud that we don’t think it is a sign of failure to ask yourself whether or not you still have a place in the community, that in fact is and can be a sign of really developed, nuanced understanding of your organizational operations. We know that there’s a need for additional resources beyond funding to help understand these processes and practices. So again, that that bringing of the community to develop this kind of resource library or knowledge sharing opportunities of what is needed to support this work.

We’ve also heard that there’s a lack of artists, that there are not a lot of artists involved in decision making processes as around the future forms of the organization. So, you know, where is there an opportunity to ask yourself how you’re including your artists in helping you define the future of your work, considering what it means for them to be in community with you? Next slide, please.

That we know that conversations about change is vulnerable and confidential. And again, I mentioned earlier that that is part of the reason why we’ve structured the design of the program the way that we have. And with that said, we also know that building a trusting relationship with a funder in order to actually feel comfortable coming to us and saying this isn’t going well takes time. And so we do recognize that, you know, you’re not always going to be in a trusting relationship yet with CADA, or the Rozsa Foundation, or the Calgary Foundation, and that we’re committed to finding ways to help make that process safer for you or to create an opportunity to build that trust before leading up to having that conversation. And you know, want to to work as hard as we can of removing those barriers as much as possible.

We also know that when it comes to this work, it’s really hard to imagine what is possible and what the outputs might be. And so, you know, go back to that example of this program not being for the development of programs or program delivery is is always really hard to think what is our core question and what does success look like when we don’t know what an outcome will be, we don’t know what an output might be, and that leaving room for that kind of open-endedness is something that we can help you work through when applying to this program. Right? It’s it’s non outcome based in the sense that we don’t have any conditions or expectations of coming out with a product, but there’s going to be an outcome. And so we’re here to talk through what that might be for you. Next slide, please.

And finally, we know that funders have to consider their role in convening communities to share learning and knowledge. So again, that’s where we’re thinking about opportunities to bring folks together, whether that’s in a focus group or in a community convening or room to talk about it, and that we need to really think about what the role of the funder is and creating that space that in order for the arts ecosystem to transform, funders and organizations need to be open to new types of business models and structures and be really considerate about how is that we resource that or have conversations about that. And then finally, we know that structural change can’t be achieved with access only to short term funding. And so in this program, what that looks like right now is we’ve got phase one exploration, phase two implementation, but we know that there’s a question of what’s next, right? What do we do after we implement that? How do we ensure this structural change sticks? And that is something that I know that each of us, as funding organizations are considering in the design of our programs. And again, where having a conversation with a funder representative kind of creates an opportunity to think about what the pathway after that might be, whether that’s being directed to one of our other programs or considering, you know, what a future grant application to us may look like. But it’s definitely kind of at the core of of how we are thinking about structural change in the community. Next slide. Thank you.

So finally, I’ve been talking about funder representatives this whole time, and so to let you know who you might be able to contact, we have identified one person from each of our organizations who is available to take meetings, to answer questions, to have conversations, and you are welcome to reach out to any one of these. You do not have to talk to all three. If you’d like to, you want to talk to a couple of folks at a time, feel free as well. There is absolutely a benefit to having, you know, a few of the representatives in the room because, you know, something that we know is we’re going to have our own biases and interpretations of questions, and so we will be kind of sharing questions back forth with each other. And if you come to us with a possible project, one of the reps might say, I’m going to run this by the rest of the group and see how they feel. But from Calgary Arts Development, you are free to reach out to Allan Rosales, who is the Manager, Community Investment. Allan is also working with program specialists on our team here and may direct you to speak with one of the program specialists if he thinks they may have a perspective to share with you from the Rozsa Foundation. Ayla wasn’t able to join us today, but Ayla Stephen who is the funding manager at the Rozsa Foundation, and Ayla will also be the person managing the online application process. So if you do end up submitting an application, Ayla will be the person to troubleshoot that with you. And then Brigitte von Rothemburg from the Calgary Foundation will be available as well. All of those contact will be in the updated guidelines that’ll go up shortly. So that is all I’ve got today and I’m happy to open it up to questions.

If you have questions about this program, please contact Allan Rosales, Manager, Community Investment, Calgary Arts Development: allan.rosales@calgaryartsdevelopment.comAyla Stephen, Funding Manager, Rozsa Foundation: or Brigitte von Rothemburg, Grants & Volunteer Program Associate, Calgary Foundation:

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