Project Grant Program — Organizations: Info Session

Grant Announcement Categories: Project Grant Program – Organizations

Info session online graphic for Announcement pages

Project Grant Program — Organizations: Info Session

Applying to the Project Grant Program for Organizations? You can find more information and advice in this online and on-demand information session.

The Project Grant Program — Organizations is intended to provide one-time project funding to registered non-profit arts organizations in Calgary (known as Mohkinsstsis in Blackfoot). The Project Grant Program seeks to support projects that align with any of the following priority areas:

  • Projects that reflect and contribute to the vibrancy and vitality of Calgary’s arts sector and create opportunities for Calgarians to access artistic experiences.
  • Projects that create opportunities to attract, restore and retain jobs for artists and arts professionals.
  • Projects that support organizational development or strengthen the organization’s ability to connect with their community.
  • Arts-centred projects that encourage everyday creativity, including cross-sector collaboration, creative economy and neighbourhood-level community initiatives.

The purpose of this session is to provide more context about the project grant program for organizations, and the specific goals and criteria. It also provides some approaches, examples and questions that might be helpful to consider when determining if you will apply and how best to do so.

Be sure to read the Guidelines and apply by 4:30pm MT on August 30, 2023. 

Perpetual Atife: Hello and welcome to the online information session for the 2023 Project Grant Program for Organizations. The purpose of this session is to share some of the very important information that can already be found in the program guidelines and the FAQs online. We wanted to present this information in a more visual and auditory way with some added context, examples and approaches that might be helpful when considering if your organization will apply and how best to do so. Once again, this important information can be found in the guidelines and the FAQ so whether or not you watch this to the end, please read those documents before you apply. 

My name is Perpetual Atife. I use the she/her pronouns and I’m a Grant Program Specialist at Calgary Arts Development. This means that I am your primary contact person for this program. Reach out to me directly if you have any questions about this program or if you need help applying.  

My colleague Van Chu is our Grants Coordinator and will be available to help with any general or technical questions that you might have for the grants process or for the grants team. Van is also responsible for monitoring our general inbox which is a very useful email if you ever have any questions or curiosities about navigating the Smart Simple online granting platform.

Before we begin, please allow me to acknowledge this land that we live, work and gather on, Mohkinsstsis. I acknowledge that it is the ancestral territory of the Siksikaitsitapi — the Blackfoot people — comprising the Siksika, Kainai and Piikani Nations, as well as Treaty 7 signatories, the Tsuut’ina Nation, and the Îyârhe Nakoda Bearspaw, Chiniki and Wesley First Nations. This land is also the home of Métis Nation Region 3. I acknowledge that I am living, working and creating in Mohkinsstsis, Calgary, which is Treaty 7 territory.  

We know that land acknowledgements do not exist in a historical, past tense: colonialism is a current and ongoing process. We hope that when we pause to acknowledge the land like this and the original people and stewards, that it inspires others to learn about the land they currently inhabit and their relationships to that history, the people, and to the place, and consider what actions we can take towards acknowledging truth, reconciliation and healing together.  

I also want to touch on something that we take very seriously and try to centre our work on at Calgary Arts Development, and that is our commitment to equity. This has become an ongoing, never-ending learning journey. We know that our current practices and the dominant culture are rooted in colonial, Western European, academic systems which create barriers to access for many arts organizations in our communities who are seeking and deserving of support. One obvious example of this at CADA, is that we currently share our programs and accept applications primarily in an online, written format in English language. This creates barriers; technological, linguistic, communication and cultural barriers. 

As a public funder, we have a responsibility to ensure equitable access to public funding. We envision a city where all artists have the freedom, agency and platform to share and amplify their stories, art, cultures and experiences: a city where Calgarians of all backgrounds can access, create and participate in art as part of their everyday lives. 

So to that end, we are dedicated to addressing and working to eliminate institutional inequity in our programs, policies and practices. Our staff are accountable to ensuring that lines of communication are welcoming, clear and open, and that our application and assessment processes are fair and deeply considerate. 

While we have been continuing to expand and improve our processes and policies around equity, accessibility and accommodation, we know that we still have a long way to go. We aim to continue building relationships and learning from our communities, particularly those most directly affected, about the specific challenges that exist in granting and working to create more equitable systems. 

In light of existing barriers and our commitment to equity, part of my job as grant program specialist is to work directly with applicants who experience barriers to access and to develop accommodations that suit unique abilities and situations. The following are some examples of accommodations: translation of written materials into other languages, including ASL, transcription of verbal meetings or audio and video recordings into written documents, verbal video or audio applications, grant writing assistance.

So if you would prefer to answer the application questions verbally, please feel free to send me an audio or video recording of yourself providing responses or our staff can help record your responses using an online platform, such as Zoom. We can also offer language interpretation for phone or video meetings and grant writing assistance if you need help. As the program specialist, I will make myself available to answer questions or provide feedback on your draft applications as well.  

You may also be eligible for assistance to pay someone to help you complete an application if you are: An administrator who is Deaf, hard of hearing, has a disability or is living with a mental illness, or an administrator facing language, geographic or cultural barriers. To request application assistance please contact at least two to four weeks before you plan to submit your application, which also means not later than August 17, 2023. If this date has passed and you need assistance, please reach out anyway and we will do our best to accommodate your request. 

If requesting assistance, you will need to provide the name and contact information of someone or professional service provider who can help you. We may be able to make recommendations depending on the service being requested. We will also need to know the amount you are requesting, including the service provider’s hourly rate. Depending on the type of service or assistance you are requesting, Calgary Arts Development has outlined the maximum amounts that we are currently able to provide towards our granting programs. This maximum allowable amount for the Project Grant Program range from $160–$600 depending on the service. If approved, we will confirm the amount Calgary Arts Development is able to contribute, and the service provider must send an invoice to us for the approved amount, and then staff will then process the invoice and pay the service provider directly.  

Let’s dive into the Project Grant Program for Organizations with a quick summary. The Project Grant Program is intended to provide one-time project-based funding to support registered non-profit arts organizations and current operating grant clients located in Calgary (known as Mohkinsstsis). Organizations must demonstrate that the arts are at the core of their mandate. Individual applications from registered for-profit corporations or businesses, post-secondary institutions and artistic projects by non-profit organizations, or non-arts organizations will not be eligible for this funding. Applications for projects which are not led by arts organizations but which collaborate with and/or primarily support artists or arts organizations may be eligible as outlined in the Collaborations with Artists section below. This program cannot support individual artists or non-registered artist collectives. Once again, the total pool for this funding will be $600,000 and organizations may apply for up to $25,000.

An application may only be submitted by one applicant per program, or for program deadline. For example, if a project is being undertaken by your organization, or in partnership with another organization, only one application can be submitted for that project. Multiple organizations cannot submit for the same project to the same program deadline. Projects (or distinct phases of a project) may only receive one grant in total from Calgary Arts Development, regardless of calendar year. An example of this might be if you received a grant last year to do the pre-production phase of a project, you could not apply to the Project Grant to continue the pre-production work of this activity. However, you could apply for the post-production phase which might include marketing, outreach, distribution or other costs associated with presenting and sharing the work, as long as the first grant you received did not include any of those activities, and it is clearly a distinct or discrete phase of the project. You may also reapply for the same project if a previous application was unsuccessful, regardless of calendar year.

Here is a quick overview of the program timeline. June 20, full guidelines published. July 4, applications open. August 30, application deadline. September to October, evaluation of grants. Early November, notification of results. November 2023 funds are distributed.

If your organization is not a provincially registered non-profit, you may partner with another arts organization that is registered as a non-profit in the province. The partner organization you are working with must lead the application. The organization must also be arts-based, and you must clarify why this partnership is meaningful to both organizations. It is also important that it is clearly stated how the organizations will work together to achieve this project, and how responsibilities and tasks within the proposal are being shared. If you are unsure, please reach out to me and we will discuss eligibility before applying.  

Collaborating with Artists & Arts Organizations. We will consider applications from organizations who do not meet the definition of a non-profit arts organization as long as they can demonstrate the following, and at the discretion of Calgary Arts Development staff. Artists are core collaborators or participants in the planning, development, and implementation of the project. The project and budget provides financial and non-financial support to artists. The applicant has a demonstrated history of working with artists and/or the arts sector. Applicants not registered as a non-profit society, company or charity must be collaborating with an organization with non-profit status who can receive and manage the grant funds. 

A note for our Operating Grant clients — you also will need to demonstrate how the proposed activity is outside of your usual operating activities. For example, applying for a strategic planning session would not be eligible, as this is a type of activity that is reasonably considered part of regular operations for which you already receive funding from us. If you have any questions about eligible expenses or if you are curious if your project is a good fit for this program, please reach out to me and we can talk about your proposal more specifically.  

So who can apply? Sorry, what can you apply for? So yes, the Project Grant Program for Organizations is designed to support projects that align with any of the following priority areas. Projects that reflect and contribute to the vibrancy and vitality of Calgary’s arts sector and creates opportunities for Calgarians to access artistic experiences. Projects that create opportunities to attract, restore, and retain jobs for artists and arts professionals. Projects that support organizational development, including projects related to the reopening, recovery and resiliency of the arts sector, or strengthen the organization’s ability to connect with their community with EDIA, or with an EDIA focus. And finally arts-centred projects that encourage everyday creativity, including cross-sector collaboration, creative economy and neighbourhood-level community initiatives.

Please bear in mind that applications or projects do not need to contribute to every single goal listed above. In this program, a “project” is something with a specific outcome, a specific set of goals, and a distinct beginning and end date. This could include a distinct phase of an overall larger project. Projects might include the creation, research, development or production of work. They might also include the presentation, dissemination, curation or sharing of artistic work. In fact, your project could include a number of these various activities at the same time. There is a full list of eligible expenses in the program guidelines that are all relatively straightforward and include things such as artists fees, marketing or outreach expenses, and so on. Please be sure to take a look at those.

Let’s talk about program streams. For this year, again, there are three program streams. You can either apply to the Create and Develop Stream, the Program and Present or the Grow and Adapt stream. The intention of streaming is to help manage volume by grouping projects that are similar together in assessment and to have criteria and weighting that align to that stream. If you have difficulty deciding which stream fits best, please feel free to reach out to me. If you apply to a stream and I review your application and feel it would be a better fit for the other stream, I will contact you to discuss this, but the final decision will always lie with you. All projects, regardless of stream will be evaluated and funded based on the four criteria of Artistic Impact, Community Connection, Planning and Overall. All streams will require you to talk about these criteria, however there are a few small differences between each of the three streams.  

Program and Present. If your project will result in something that will be shared with an audience or the general public as part of the project timeline and goals for this grant application, then this is the perfect fit. If this is the case and your project will be shared publicly, the Program and Present stream is most likely your best fit. Projects in this stream may still have aspects of creation, research, development, etc. but they are more externally focused and involve sharing your work with the public.  

Create and Develop. If your project will not result in presentation to an audience or the general public as part of this project timeline, then the Create and Develop stream is the best choice. It may eventually be shared publicly, but it is not part of the project timeline and the goals for this grant application. Projects in this stream might include some aspects of engagement with individuals or communities as part of the creation or development process, but the focus of your application at this time is more internally focused on your organization, like internal workshopping of new works, research, or improvements to your administrative practices.  

And then the Grow and Adapt stream. If your project is focused on the experimentation or development of new or adapted approaches to how you work, including artistic, operational, administrative, or governance practices, then this would be the best fit. Organizations must demonstrate projects of this type are distinct from work typically considered as part of regular operations, or build upon this work in a meaningful or transformative way. This project may not have an artistic outcome or clear end result, but there should be clear reasoning with potential for learning and change in how you work. For instance, strategic planning, business adaptations, professional development, projects related to organization’s physical infrastructure and projects related to strategic planning with an Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility (EDIA) focus, internal learnings or trainings around bias, intercultural competency, anti-racism, Treaty education and other related matters. 

Here is an example for the Grow and Adapt stream: say your organization wants to experiment with hybrid processes to share your work, but the goal isn’t necessarily about the work itself, but rather the platforms and approaches that your organization is testing. Maybe your organization is looking to adapt stage work for the screen and the goal is to have the time and space to figure out if it’s even possible or ideal, and the result could be that it is not. Maybe you’re interested in setting up a long-term mentorship project with someone where the goal isn’t about making or sharing new work, but really about the development of certain skills, knowledge or relationships. 

Let’s talk about Program Criteria. There are four criteria by which your grant application is assessed by the committee. Basically, they have to answer four questions as the read through your application and these are the Artistic Impact, Community Connections, Planning and Overall. 

For Artistic Impact — The application demonstrates a deep understanding of the organizational mandate, artistic goals and what success will mean. 

Community Connection — The application demonstrates a deep understanding of the relationships and communities connected to this project, the goals around this and what success will mean. This can include future relationships and community connections, as well as those occurring during the project itself. 

Planning — The application demonstrates a deep understanding of what is required to undertake the project. This is demonstrated by a clear, achievable, well-researched and supported project description, timeline and budget.

Overall — The application has clear, detailed and thoughtful responses and includes all the relevant information required to create overwhelming trust and confidence that the project will be completed as described.

We know there is some overlap between relevance and impact and that’s okay – the application will be assessed in a holistic way. Different aspects of your application will speak to all of the criteria in both direct and indirect ways. There might be something in your artist statement that speaks to impact or speaks to relevance or a support material that speaks to feasibility. 

Artistic Impact — The application demonstrates, this is a much broader definition or breakdown, a deep understanding of the artistic practice, artistic goals and what success will mean. How the assessors understand what artistic impact means and how you are meeting this criterion, is based on what you tell us about what is important to your organization and the practice, what your goals are, and how this project will allow your organization to achieve them. So ensure that you’ve provided enough information and context for the assessors to draw these connections. It might seem obvious to you but if you can provide rationale or context, it helps to fill in the gaps so that assessors don’t need to guess or make assumptions.

Please be honest, show an awareness of where your organization is in its practice, where and how you fit in or even don’t fit into an artistic community or discipline, and what artistic quality, growth or success might mean for your organization. Being able to recognize the challenges or barriers that your organization is facing can actually demonstrate potential, thoughtfulness and intentionality about the way that you undertake your work. It creates an opportunity to see how an investment in your organization’s practice might in fact support you into finding solutions to those challenges.

While it is tempting to only paint a rosy picture to funders in a grant application, and we understand that, it’s actually helpful to demonstrate that you’ve taken the time to think about and reflect on how you undertake your work or challenge your own assumptions. It shows the committee how you are well set up to steward public investment in an effective way. There is a specific section in the application where you also speak directly about your organization’s Artistic Impact but keep in mind that assessors will be considering your application holistically, meaning there may be other parts of your application that speak to artistic impact more indirectly. 

Community Connection — a little more breakdown. The application demonstrates a deep understanding of the relationships and communities connected to this project, their goals around this and what success will mean. This can include future relationships and connections, as well as those occurring during the project itself. We advise that you think about this, be intentional, highlighting how this relationship will benefit both the community and your organization. Reflect on how or why your organization’s chosen project is important to those you’ve identified whether they’ll be experiencing the work now or later. If the project doesn’t involve creating or sharing work at all, then you want to show how this project supports or impacts your ability to deepen or grow your relationships and connections to your communities in the future. 

The concept of nothing about us without us — This concept speaks to the need to actively engage any community that you are specifically creating work about or for, from the very beginning or planning phase of the work. So we value lived experiences and how the unique perspectives of different people and communities can intersect. Please note that CADA will not tolerate hate speech, cultural appropriation and active exclusionary behaviours so please be aware that any applications or projects that contain these will not be supported. We also ask assessing committees to consider if organizations are being thoughtful and intentional in the work that they make, how they make, who they make their work with and what communities they make it for. Please consider this concept holistically in your application. 

Planning — The application demonstrates a deep understanding of what is required to undertake the project. And this is demonstrated by a clear, achievable, well-researched and well supported project description and budget. While the application is considered holistically, the primary elements that will relate to this are your project description, you project budget, your timeline, and some of your support material. These planning pieces should clearly outline who your organization will work with, how you will work with them, what it will cost, how much time it will take, and what tasks and activities are required. You want to show that the project is achievable, well-researched and well-supported. 

And then Overall — The application has clear, detailed, and thoughtful responses and includes all the relevant information required to create overwhelming trust and confidence that the project will be completed as described and the applicant will reach their goals. This last criterion basically asks if the overall application has addressed the criteria of the program and if after reviewing the entire application there is a sense of confidence and trust in investing in this project. Assessors should not be left with lots of questions, confusion, or doubt. Every part of your application should work together to tell the same story and paint the same authentic and complete narrative of who you are, what you want to do, how you will do it and why it’s important. 

Let’s talk about Tie & Equity Priority Groups. In the event of a tie, priority may be given based on the following considerations, at Calgary Arts Development’s discretion. Representation across all artistic disciplines, communities, and types of programming. Opportunities proposed by organizations who have not historically received funding from Calgary Arts Development. Opportunities or organizations led by, with and for equity priority groups.

The guidelines include a link to definitions of each equity priority group, which are Black, Deaf Persons, Persons with Disabilities & Persons Living with Mental Illness, Indigenous, Persons of Colour and 2SLGBTQIAP+. And for ‘equity priority groups’ we mean that the organization’s mandate and programming exist for and with that community, and they are led by and in relationship with individuals from that community. 

We acknowledge intersectionality which recognizes how an individual may face multiple types of overlapping barriers, oppression or discrimination based on gender, age, sexuality, race, ethnicity, class, physical or cognitive abilities, and many other characteristics. Rather than being defined solely based on one characteristic, intersectionality reinforces that we are complex human beings with a multitude of identities that define and influence us. We will consider each application within their own context with this understanding. 

And now let’s talk abut eligible expenses. Funds from this program may go towards almost any expenses that are directly related to your eligible project and its goals, for example: accessibility expenses, artist fees, training fees, documentation, honorariums, materials, marketing, publicity, or outreach, professional fees (e.g., fees paid to individuals offering professional services such as web design, publicity or marketing, facilitation, financial, accounting, or legal services, consulting services, etc.), rental of equipment or space, salaries and wages directly related to the project (e.g., contractors, additional staff supports), contributions towards capital infrastructure projects, including the purchase of equipment, including hardware and permanent software, and this is at the discretion of Calgary Arts Development, so please contact the program specialist to discuss. 

If you have looked at this section in previous years, you would recall that we put a cap on the amount that can be budgeted or spent as capital expenses such as purchasing equipment, contributions towards the purchase of land or buildings. We have now removed this cap. And this is because we recognize that our circumstances and conditions in the last few years have changed and may require more expenses related to infrastructure that will enable organizations to successfully pursue and achieve project goals. We also acknowledge that more than ever, external factors beyond control such as supply chain disruption can affect our work.  

So, if your project and budget include significant expenses related to capital infrastructure please reach out to me to discuss the eligibility for this program. We will assess whether the project is in line with the purpose and intention of this program and can be reasonably assessed within the context of the criteria. Please note that if this cost is just a small portion of your budget, such as the purchase of a couple pieces of equipment related to a larger project that isn’t specifically focused on a capital project, you do not need to check with us, but I am always happy to look at your budgets and proposals and provide feedback.  

Now let’s talk about Ineligible Expenses. As shared in the guidelines, funds from this program are not intended to support any of the following: debt or loan repayment, purchase of any equipment or contributions as you can see listed in the slide, expenses related to regular administration (e.g., fixed operating expenses such as rent, mortgage payments, utilities, etc.), expenses not directly related to the project, including retroactive expenses. 

This program is not intended to support any of the following: For instance, projects that are fully completed before the application deadline. , projects that have already received funding from another Calgary Arts Development grant, projects related to post-secondary or credit, degree, certificate, or diploma granting educational programs or artistic work related to those educational programs, fundraising activities, contests and competitions, activities that do not comply with or respect cultural protocols, activities that use or present Indigenous cultural material, traditional knowledge, or stories without permission from the community, activities that promote hatred or intolerance, activities that are illegal or contravene provincial or federal law, activities that contravene municipal bylaw, activities related to campaigning for a specific political candidate or party in an election. 

And now let’s talk about Assessments. All applications to the program will be peer assessed. This simply means that they will be reviewed and scored based on the program criteria, by a committee of peers and community members from a variety of disciplines, identities and backgrounds. Peer assessment committees help ensure that Calgary Arts Development is fairly and responsibly distributing public funds, or public dollars to artists and organizations on behalf of the citizens of Calgary. The assessment committees for our programs have the same guidelines and criteria as you do to work from – there are no hidden criteria. The assessment committees will read and score applications online between early September and mid-October, then meet to discuss all applications together as a committee, adjust their evaluations as needed and make final funding recommendations.  

As the program specialist, I am responsible for facilitating these discussions, holding space for organizations and ensuring that the conversations are fair and appreciative, and that assessors are acting within the Group Agreements and process outlined in the Terms of Reference. Our group agreements and Terms of Reference are also available to you on our website. Assessors are kept confidential and anonymous until next year, when a full list of assessors is posted as part of our annual report. If a committee member has applied to the program, they will not assess their own application, or any applications where there is a conflict of interest. We are paying assessors an honorarium for doing this work, ad the assessment committee is made up of five to seven members. Each program stream will be assessed by a different committee. The volume of applications received will determine the number and size of committees required. 

Let’s talk about Committee Membership. Individual artists and arts workers with experience and knowledge from a variety of artistic disciplines and practices, who actively participate in, experience, and advocate for the work in the arts community. These are the committee members who assess your application. If you know of anyone who would be a good assessor for our programs, there is a nomination form on our website, or you can send us an email. We have also posted the full assessment committee Terms of Reference on our website with the guidelines, and I would encourage you to read those terms in full to understand the responsibilities and expectations of assessors.  

A quick description, a quick look at the project title and project description. The first written section is your project title and description. This is where you write a one-sentence brief title describing your project including what will occur, when it will take place, where it will take place and who is involved. So for the brief description, please be clear, straightforward, and specific here. When it comes to this section you may want to include some information or rationale for how your organization came to decide the who, what, when and where of your project. For example, why the dates you’ve chosen are the most feasible, how you came to decide the location or venue for your project, or why you’ve chosen to work with specific collaborators. This should be a helpful, relatively detailed description of the project details, but keep in mind that you’ll have a chance to dig deeper into the why and the how in the following sections. 

So let’s talk about a few things. The Artistic Impact explores the impact on your work, practice, or discipline. This section is where you will describe your artistic goals for this project and what success will mean for you. How will this project impact your work, practice, or discipline? Depending on your project, this section could include a variety of things. It might include specific artistic goals you have for the work itself or around your artistic processes and approaches. You could talk about specific goals around skill development, learning or growth in your practice. You might talk about where you see yourself within an artistic community or the impact you see this project having within a particular discipline. There are many types of artistic impacts so be sure to tell assessors what is most important to you and why. How will this project allow you to achieve your artistic goals? Consider how you measure success, learning or impact? What is helpful and meaningful to capture given this project, given your goals, and given where you are right now in your practice? Granters and funders don’t just want you to talk about how you will evaluate your work to tick a box. This is not about saying what you think we want to hear, but about defining what success would mean for you. So think about what your artistic goals are and how you will know if you’ve achieved them. It’s good to start thinking about this ahead of even starting your application.

Let’s talk about Scoring. For each criteria, assessors will rate a level to which they agree or disagree with each of the programs criteria with the information provided, and they will respond to each of the four criteria questions by selecting one of the following: strongly disagree, disagree, agree, strongly agree. And these make up your scores.

A quick rundown on Applications and Notifications as well. The application deadline is Wednesday, August 30, 2023 at 4:30pm. Late submissions will not be accepted. We do have a Deadline Extension Policy available on our website, so for more information about that please check the website. I would advise that you submit your application as early as possible, as this will allow more time to review your application in advance of the committee and may also allow me more time to do any review of your application in advance of the committee, and highlight maybe any helpful follow-ups if your application is missing something or requires clarity.  

Notifications for this program will go out via email by early November, letting applicants know, organizations know if they were successful or not and confirming grant amounts. I recommend adding the and my email address to your email address book to ensure any correspondence from us isn’t ending up in your spam or junk folder by mistake. Successful applicants will also receive an investment agreement outlining the terms of the grant which they’ll need to review, sign and return. Funds will be released via electronic fund transfer beginning in late November to early December 2023, as signed agreements are received. This processing time can take a few weeks. And so it is important to consider if your project is fully reliant on receiving grants. If cashflow is a concern for you, consider applying for a project that occurs after December, because we cannot guarantee that funds will be distributed any earlier than that.  

We are unable to fund retroactive projects, which means that your project may already be underway before you submit your application or receive the results, but you cannot apply for a project that will already be fully complete or completed before the program deadline of August 30th.  

If anything regarding this program timeline must shift, applicants will be notified as soon as possible.  

How to Apply — For new applicants, applications are accepted through our online grant interface. This application form will be available on the date the program opens which is July 4.  First create your profile, and that’s two profiles. One is profile for the primary contact or staff, and the other is the organization’s profile. Applicants must create an organization profile in order to apply. If the organization’s primary contact also has an individual artist profile, they must use a different email address to create the organization’s account. Remember to complete all sections or reach out to myself or Van for help.

For Returning Applicants — For those of you who have applied to CADA before, you are probably quite familiar with our old grant interface, and some of you have used the newest grant interface. However, we have just switched over to Smart Simple, so for those of you who haven’t been here in a while, we have switched over to Smart Simple and this is just to make the process easier for you, so if you already have an active account in our old system and should have received an email notifying you of the switch. Basically, I believe you would use the same email address as before  and maybe just do the forgot password to reset the password and have access to your account.  So for returning applicants, returning organizations may have to update their profiles, including updating contact person if the previous staff has changed, if there has been any change to that, or to mailing address, you may have to update your profile. And finally I would encourage once you have downloaded and you have done your profile, both new and returning applicants, use the checklist to follow your application.

Application checklist. Here are a few things for you to check before you submit: organizational mandate, project name, brief description of your project, program stream, start and end date of a project, funding request, project description – and this is where you describe your project including what will occur, which we’ve already spoken about, artistic impact exploring … as well as community connections, and your project budget. So prepare for all of these as you prepare to submit an application. Other things to check before you submit are budget support – this is very important – budget-related support material to help demonstrate your budget estimates. For example, research, quotes, standard fee schedules, correspondence that confirms rates, past examples of revenue, etc., project timeline – a timeline that clearly outlines how you will accomplish this project. Including dates and other relevant details for all important activities, tasks, milestones or process periods, and general support material – please feel free to attach things that show or speak to your work, samples of work, mock-ups, works in progress, relevant research, budget quotes, confirmations, anything that supports your application generally.

And finally, let’s talk about these Common Questions asked. One of them is “Should I apply for the maximum grant amount available?” My advice is request for only what your organization requires to complete your project. Do your research and find out what you need. Some have requested as low as $3,000, some organizations go for $7,000 and some request for the full amount. It totally depends on what you need. 

Another question we get often is “Will I have a better chance for success if I apply for less?” Now this is a great question, one that I can not answer because there are so many factors that determine your chances being better, but I would advise and say read through the guidelines, do your research, find out what you need, and be honest about it. Ask for what you need. Again, and some would ask what if I do not have all the budget support materials here it would be my advice try your best to get it. It is, it definitely reduces doubt, confusion or you know questions that assessors have, and it speaks a lot to your organizations readiness to complete the projects. So the budget is a key piece of any project. Please try to get it. You are welcome to refer to similar receipts from the past for previous purchases that may help you or communications conversations with providers, service providers, but please try to include that. And next we go to Grant Tips just very briefly, remember that your organization is not expected to be everything to everyone or to serve every community, so be specific.

Your application will not benefit from trying to write or represent your organization in a way that you think assessors might want to see. Be authentic and true to your values. We really recommend using plain language rather than academic or ‘artist speak.’ Plain language is often is more clear and more concise. Avoid jargon or technical language, remembering that the assessment committee is made up of people from many different practices and experiences. Do not assume that assessors will understand your specific discipline or practice. If you are speaking about something that is unique to your discipline, please define it. Assessors really appreciate being able to easily read and understand an application since they will be reading so many. It can be really tempting to paint a rosy picture of your organization and project but having to have an appreciative sense of what challenges and barriers your organization might be experiencing in your work will really demonstrate capacity, awareness and potential. Do your research and make sure that you can back up what you are stating in your application. It is also very helpful to have someone who may not be familiar with your organization to read your application. The questions they ask may uncover gaps or assumptions you are making in the story you are telling. Board members can also be a good resource for you before you submit your final application. Now, we talk a lot at CADA about how grant writing is an act of storytelling. This does not mean that the application should be an artistic expression in and of themselves, or a demonstration of your incredible writing skills. Rather, your goal is to paint a full and complete narrative of your organization’s mandate, what you do and how, why it’s relevant, and how it will impact your practice and communities. The assessors should be able to see a logical through line that connects all these pieces together to the overall goals of the program.  

That said, thank you for listening. I really appreciate your time and commitment in order to succeed with your application. Here are the two contact information that you may need for this program. Please don’t be shy to reach out early and ask questions. The earlier you’re able to reach out, the earlier we are able to support you. And if you do request feedback, please remember to do so at least two weeks before the program deadline and that will be August 17th. We also encourage applicants to ask specific questions, so that we can focus and direct our feedback n the areas or aspect of the application that you’re most concerned about.

So here’s my number, and my email address and here is that for my colleague Van Chu, thank you once again, thank you, thank you so much once again. Please remember that the more specific you are in your application in your request for feedback, in your reaching out, the better results we are able to get. I look forward to receiving your application and I wish you all the very best. Thank you.

If you have any questions or need any help completing an application, please contact Perpetual Atife, Program Specialist, at or 403.264.5330 ext. 229.

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