Project Grant Program – Organizations

Grant Announcement Categories: Project Grant Program – Organizations

Project Grant Program – Organizations

Applying to the Project Grant Program for Organizations? Calgary Arts Development is pleased to offer this online and on-demand information session.

This program is intended to provide one-time project funding to registered non-profit arts organizations and current operating grant clients in Calgary.

The purpose of this session is to provide more context about the project grant program for organizations, and the specific goals and criteria. It will also provide 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 full guidelines and apply by 4:30pm MT on September 6, 2022. 

Please note that Calgary Arts Development staff continue to work remotely. If you have any questions about this program please contact Perpetual Atife, Grant Program Specialist at 403.264.5330 ext. 229 or with any questions.

Hello and welcome to the online information session for the 2022 Project Grant Program for Organizations. 

The purpose of this info session is to share some of the very important information that can already be found in the program guidelines and the FAQs online. We simply wanted to share and present this information to you 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 information can be found in the guidelines and the FAQ section on the website so whether or not you watch this session, please read those documents before you apply.

My name is Perpetual Atife. I use she/her pronouns and I’m currently 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 support 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 and/or the grants team. Van is also responsible for monitoring our general inbox which is a really useful email if you ever have any questions or curiosities about navigating the Smart Simple online granting platform

Before we begin, I want to take this time to acknowledge the land that we live, work and gather on, Mohkínsstsisi. 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 Îyâxe Nakoda Bearspaw, Chiniki and Wesley First Nations. This land is also the home of Métis Nation Region 3. I acknowledge that I am currently living and working in Mohkínsstsisi, or Calgary, which is Treaty 7 territory.

We believe that it is important to understand the long history that has brought each of us to reside on this land and seek to understand our place within that history. 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 and the original people and stewards, it inspires others to learn about the land they currently inhabit and their own relationships to that history, the people and the place, and consider what actions you can take towards acknowledging truth, reconciliation and healing. If you are ever seeking resources to begin that journey for yourself, please reach out to me and we will share anything that we have with you.

I also want to touch on a subject matter that is very important to us at Calgary Arts Development, something that we take very seriously and try to centre our work on — that is, our commitment to equity.  Commitment to equity has become, and has to be, an ongoing, never-ending commitment and learning journey.

While the intention to benefit all Calgarians has always been a guiding principle, we acknowledge that our actions at Calgary Arts Development — both conscious and unconscious, past and present, perceived or assumed, have benefited some communities while limiting opportunities and outcomes for Indigenous communities, Black communities, people of colour, persons with disabilities, Deaf communities, as well as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, two-spirit, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual and gender diverse individuals. We also acknowledge that our efforts to work towards equity to date have prioritized the lived experience and needs of some communities over others. Disability justice, accessibility and anti-ableism in particular have been left out of focus, creating a disparity of equity within the work itself. 

It is important to acknowledge that systems of granting and public funding are usually designed in a one size fits all way, meaning that they are designed for the dominant culture and 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 just to name a few.

Our Commitment to Equity

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.

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 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.

Recognizing these inequities, Calgary Arts Development is committed to the process of eliminating institutional racism, ableism and barriers in our programs, policies and practices by centring the creativity and leadership of those communities most impacted by structural inequities. 

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 a written document.

Verbal video or audio applications. 

Grant writing assistance.

So if you would prefer to answer the application questions verbally, please feel free to submit 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 application. 

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 means no later than August 23rd, 2022. 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 some 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 ranges from $160 to $600 dollars depending on the service. If approved, we will confirm the amount Calgary Arts Development is able to contribute. 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. 

Now 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 Mohkinsstsisi in Blackfoot). 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-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. 

The total pool of funding will be $500,000 and organizations may apply for up to $25,000. An application may only be submitted by one applicant per 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 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. 

July 11, 2022: Full guidelines published

July 18, 2022: Applications open

September 6, 2022: Application deadline (no application will be accepted after 4:30pm MT)

September – October 2022: Evaluation of grants/applications

Early November 2022: Notification of results

November 2022: Funds will be distributed

Project grant for non-provincially registered non-profits. 

If your organization is not a provincially registered non-profit, you may partner with another arts organization that is a registered 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 to discuss eligibility before applying. 

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 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 the 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 yes, what can you apply for? 

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 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, including projects related to the reopening, recovery and resiliency of the arts sector, 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

Bear in mind that applications or projects do not need to contribute to every single goal listed.

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. 

Program & Present

Create & Develop

Grow & Adapt

For this year, there are three program streams. You can either apply to the Create & Develop stream, the Program & Present, or the Grow & 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 each applicant. 

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 the three streams. 

Program & 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. If this is the case and the project will be shared publicly, the Program & Present stream would likely be the best place for you to apply. 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 & Develop

If your project will not result in presentation to an audience or the general public as part of this project timeline, the Create & Develop stream is the best choice. It may eventually be shared publicly, but it is not part of the project timeline and 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. 

Grow & Adapt

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, this would be the best fit. Organizations must demonstrate projects of this type or distinct from work typically considered to be 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.

 Here is a very specific example for the Grow & 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’s 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.

Program Criteria

All projects, regardless of the stream you apply to, will be evaluated and funded based on four criteria: 

  1. Artistic Impact
  2. Community Connection
  3. Planning
  4. Overall

Artistic Impact

The application demonstrates a deep understanding of artistic practice, artistic goals and what success will mean for them.

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. 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.

Be honest and 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 mean for your organization. Being able to recognize the challenges or barriers you may face as an artist 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 will speak directly about your organization’s artistic impact, but bear 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

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

While we know that many artistic practices and projects may not necessarily put a focus on community engagement or relationships, we want to open a conversation for every organization to say what community means to them and how they think their art contributes to that community, whether it be directly or indirectly, during the project or later on.

It is important to reflect on who your communities and relationships are, or who you would like them to be, how you might either connect and engage or simply consider them during this project or phase. Defining your communities will allow you to better understand what it means to have an impactful relationship with them.

Reflect on 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 how does this project support or impact your ability to deepen or grow your relationships and connections to your communities in the future?

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. 

We advise that you think about this, be intentional, highlighting how this relationship will benefit both the community and your organization. We do 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 it, who they make it with and what communities they make it for.

Please consider this concept holistically in your application.


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.

While the application is considered holistically, the primary elements that will relate to this are your project description, budget, 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 supported.


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 an authentic and complete narrative of who you are, what you want to do, how you will do it and why it’s important to your organization.

Tie & Equity Group

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 2SLGBTQIAP+, Black, Deaf persons, persons with disabilities, and persons living with mental illness, Indigenous, persons of colour. When we say ‘led by, with 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.

Let’s talk about Eligible Expenses & Activities

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.




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 this project (e.g., contractors, additional staff supports).

Contributions towards capital infrastructure projects, including the purchase of equipment, including hardware and permanent software (at the discretion of Calgary Arts Development — please contact the program specialist to discuss).

If you have looked at this section in the 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. 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. 

Ineligible Expenses & Activities

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 to capital projects not directly related to the project.

Salaries and wages for existing staff (e.g., salaries for permanent full-time employees, ongoing contracts, etc.).

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: 

Projects that are fully completed before the application deadline. 

Projects that have already received funding from another Calgary Arts Development grant program.

Projects related to post-secondary or credit, degree, certificate or diploma granting educational programs or artistic work related to those educational programs.

Fundraising activities (e.g., activities undertaken for the purpose of raising funds on behalf of a political party or charity).

Contests and competitions (e.g., grant funding cannot be re-granted in the form of prizes or awards).

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.

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 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 mid-September to late 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 agreement 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. 

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.

 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 of the arts community.

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 that assessors are asked to commit to. 


For each criteria, Assessors will rate the level to which they agree or disagree with each of the program criteria based on the information provided in the application.

Strongly Disagree



Strongly Agree 

PGO Application Deadline + Notifications 

The application deadline is Tuesday, September 6, 2022, at 4:30pm MT. 

Late submissions will not be accepted. 

We do have a deadline extension policy available on our website for more information about extensions. Please 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 necessary or helpful followups if your application is missing something or requires clarity. 

Notifications for this program will go out via email early November, letting applicants know if they were successful or not and confirming grant amounts. I recommend adding the email address, as well as mine, 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 2022, as signed agreements are received. This processing time can take a few weeks. And so this is important to consider if your project is fully reliant on receiving this grant. If cashflow is a concern for you, consider applying for something that occurs after December, because we cannot guarantee that funds will be distributed any earlier than that. Activities funded through this program must be complete by the end of December 2023. 

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 completed before the program deadline of September 6th. 

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

How to apply?

Applications are accepted through our online grant interface. The application form will be available on the date the program opens. That is July 18. 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.

For those of you who have applied to CADA before, you are probably quite familiar with our old grant platform. However, we have just switched over to a new platform called Smart Simple. We made this switch for several reasons, all of which we feel will be more beneficial to applicants, assessors and staff, but it will be a learning curve for staff especially so please be patient and gentle with us during this transition.

An organization who already had active accounts in our old system should have received an email notifying you of the switch and sharing instructions on how and where to login to the new system.

Basically, I believe you would use the email address that you previously used and select the forgot password option to reset your password and login to the new system. Later on we will be migrating historical information like past grant applications and past reports over to your new accounts.

Profiles will still ask for your current and up to date contact information like name, phone number, email and mailing address, but it will also now include things like your organization mandates, financial statements, etc. 

We’ve moved these particular items to the profile so that you don’t have to write, prepare and submit these things for every single grant application you submit to CADA. You can simply update this basic information about your practice whenever you need to. When you go to apply to a program like the project grant, simply make sure your profile is up to date, and then this information will automatically port over to your application.

Next, we talk about a checklist of everything you’ll be asked to provide in the application. Most of it is very straightforward but as always, you can reach out to me with questions, should you have any. You’ll be asked for your current contact information, project name, a description, the stream , etc.

Application Checklist

Organizational Mandate

Project Name

Brief Description (25 words or less)

Program Stream (Create & Develop, Program & Present or Grow & Adapt)

Start and End Date of Project

Funding Request

Project Description (150 – 450 words)

Describe your project including what will occur, when it will take place, where it will take place and who is involved.

Artistic Impact — exploring the impact on your work, mandate or discipline (150 – 450 words)

Describe your artistic goals for this project and what success will mean for you. How will this project impact your artistic work, practice or discipline(s)?

Community Connection — exploring the impact on others during and after your project (150 – 450 words)

Describe the direct relationships/communities connected to this project.

What are your relationship/community goals for this project and what will success mean for you? How will this project impact your relationships/community connections, either during or after the project?

Project Budget

Budgets will be typed directly into the application form and should include all relevant project expenses, revenues or in-kind contributions. Budget notes are where you will show calculations, reference rates, or share other important clarifying details.

Budget Support (upload)

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. Include dates and other relevant details for all important activities, tasks, events, milestones or process periods.

General Support Material (upload)

Additional files or links that strengthen your case or help assessors understand more about your project or your organization. For example: Samples of work, mock-ups/drafts/works in progress, relevant research, budget quotes, confirmation or planning documents, relevant letters of support, resumes/CVs of collaborators, etc.

The first written section is the project description. This is where you will describe your project including what will occur, when it will take place, where it will take place and who is involved. 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 you’ll have a chance to dig deeper into the why and the how in the following sections.

Artistic Impact explores the impact on your work, practice or discipline(s). 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 artistic work, practice or discipline(s)?

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 that you have 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’re at 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 actually means to you. 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 now as developing your own systems of evaluation can be highly beneficial to personal artistic growth and development and guiding your practice into the future.

Community Connection explores the impact on others during and after your project. This section is where you will describe the direct relationships or communities connected to this project.

When you think about community connection or relationships remember that this is also very broad. It could include artists, collaborators, partners, mentors, participants or audiences. It could also refer to discipline-specific, or geographical, religious, or cultural communities, or perhaps communities that share a particular interest, value, aesthetic or curiosity, as an example.

What are your relationship or community goals for this project and what will success mean for your organization? How will this project impact your relationships or communities, either during or after completion of the project?

Bear in mind that depending on your specific project and the program stream, you may answer this question differently. Some projects may involve a lot of engagement and sharing with the public, while others may only have collaborators or mentors, while others may be quite solitary at this point in time, and that is okay. We deeply value how a project might allow you to better connect with your communities in the future, just as much as we care about how you might connect through the project itself.

Some common questions we receive is  (just trying to find the right slide, sorry about that.) “Should I apply for the maximum grant amount available?” “Will I have a better chance for success if I apply for less?” 

Your planning will not be as strong if you start at the maximum request amount and work backwards. Instead, we encourage applicants to first think about a project that will fall within the general range of the grant, imagine how the project would run ideally, and then build your budget from that. If your project expenses go over the maximum request amount, then you can reconsider the scope of your project, look for where you can cut costs, or think about other funding to supplement your overall budget. Your best chances are to apply with the project you’ve done the best planning for. It is not necessarily helpful to ask for more than what you need and hope to get less. If your project can be scaled, make sure to explicitly state where you could cut expenses or you can provide an alternate budget. But assessors won’t be able to guess as to which pieces can be scaled. Assessors also can’t recommend an amount higher than what you’ve requested, so we also don’t suggest asking for less than what you need, as that might not show the greatest potential for impact. In most cases, we encourage the assessment committees to recommend full funding requests unless they see a major concern. 

Another question we often get is “What if my project costs more than the maximum grant amount available?” 

Here you will have to show how you will fund the remaining expenses, either through fundraising, other grants or sponsorships, or your organization’s reserve funds. It is okay if you are applying for additional funding outside of this program, but it won’t be confirmed before the deadline. 

General Tips

I’ll share with you some general grant tips we like to share. 

Remember that your organization is not expected to be everything to everyone, and 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 often is more clear and more concise. Avoid jargon or technical language, remembering that the assessment committee will be made up of people from many different practices and experiences. 

Don’t 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. (I will take that again, sorry for the pause) 

Assessors do appreciate being able to easily read and understand an application since they will be reading so many applications.

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 you might experience 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 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. 

We talk a lot at CADA about how grant writing is an act of storytelling. This again 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 line that connects all these pieces together to the overall goals of the program. 

We’ve come to the end of this session, and I’d like to thank you for listening. I really appreciate your time and commitment to  success, to achieve success with your application (sorry about that). My contact information for this program again. Please don’t be shy to reach out early and ask questions! The earlier you’re able to reach out, the earlier I am able to help. And if you do request feedback, please remember to do so at least two weeks before the program deadline and that will be August 23rd. We also encourage applicants to ask specific questions so that I can focus and direct my feedback on the areas or aspects of your application that you are most concerned about. 

Thank you once again. I look forward to receiving your applications. All the best!

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