Guidelines: Cornerstone Bridge Funding Program

Guidelines: Cornerstone Bridge Funding Program

On July 31, 2017 City Council approved a one-time allocation of $2M to Calgary Arts Development for immediate investment in the 10 Cornerstone Companies. In addition to providing $2M in funds, City Council has directed Calgary Arts Development to work with the Cornerstone Companies to develop a sustainability framework, which will be reported back to City Council through the Priorities and Finance Committee no later than Q2 2018.

Process and Criteria

This program does not use a traditional application-based grant process. Instead Calgary Arts Development will work with each Cornerstone Company to develop a case for investment that demonstrates how the company contributes to the City of Calgary’s goals of:

  • Retaining jobs in the not-for-profit arts sector and on-going direct economic impact.
  • Supporting Calgary’s economic development and diversification efforts.
  • Revitalizing and animating the downtown core.
  • Demonstrating a responsibility to improve equity, diversity and inclusion in Calgary’s arts sector.
  • Committing to artistic and operational sustainability through adaptive thinking and critical self-awareness.

Investment cases will be reviewed by a peer assessment committee. Peer assessors will rate investment cases on each of the above stated goals on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being ‘does not contribute meaningfully to this goal’ and 10 being ‘the highest degree of impact on this goal.’

Calgary Arts Development will complete a comprehensive analysis of each Cornerstone’s liquidity and risk of insolvency based on financial statements going back to 2012. This will be provided as a report to the peer assessment committee in advance of the assessment meeting for consideration against each company’s operational sustainability.

Program Timeline

  • September 1 – October 1, 2017: Calgary Arts Development staff meet with board and leadership from each Cornerstone Company to discuss their investment case. Cornerstone Companies can use this opportunity to present their initial case material in this meeting, based on the program guidelines.
  • October 13, 2017: Deadline to submit investment case through grant interface*
  • October 18, 2017: Investment cases provided to peer assessors for review and scoring
  • November 6 – 9, 2017: Assessment meeting (exact date TBD)

*Calgary Arts Development staff requires a minimum of two business days prior to the deadline to provide feedback and advice on an investment case.


The subsequent cases for investment will be reviewed and recommended for funding by a peer assessment committee comprising:

  • The President & CEO of Calgary Arts Development (non-voting chair).
  • A representative of Tourism Calgary.
  • A representative of Calgary Economic Development.
  • A community member-at-large.
  • The Manager of Arts & Culture from The City of Calgary (non-voting).
  • A representative from each of the 10 Cornerstone Companies*.

*Each Cornerstone is asked to appoint one individual to sit on the peer assessment committee. It is recommended that this individual be a member of the senior leadership or board of directors who has a strong understanding of their company’s operational model and the context of the Cornerstone Companies in Calgary’s arts ecology.

After discussion of the merits of each application on an individual basis, assessors will begin their allocation process from a proposed investment schedule that is based on each Cornerstone receiving at least 5% of their annual budget from Calgary Arts Development in 2017 as a starting point. The 5% is calculated by adding the regular annual operating investment and the funds provided through this additional $2M.

Based on the strength of the investment case and the assessment discussion, a company may receive more or less than the amount proposed in the investment schedule.

Conditions of Receiving a Grant

Cornerstone Companies will receive a notification via email and will be required to sign and return an investment agreement within 30 days of notification to receive funding. The investment agreement will outline interim and final report deadlines. These reports will provide evidence that the outcomes articulated in the case for investment have been achieved, or in the case that they haven’t, will provide information on the company’s current state and learnings obtained through the investment period.

Each Cornerstone Company will be required to appoint one representative to a Sustainability Framework Working Group as a condition of their grant.

Sustainability Framework Working Group

Calgary Arts Development will establish a working group to create a Cornerstone Sustainability Framework, to be completed and presented back to City Council no later than Q2 2018. As a condition of receiving funds through this program, Cornerstone Companies must appoint one representative to sit on the working group. The working group will be chaired by a member of Calgary Arts Development’s leadership team and will meet a minimum of once a month from September 2017 to June 2018.

Calgary Arts Development will accept Letters of Interest (LOI) to participate in the working group from representatives of non-Cornerstone companies that receive operational funding from Calgary Arts Development. Calgary Arts Development will review all LOI’s and invite appropriate applicants to join the working group.

Contact Information

Contact the Community Investment Team at or 403.476.2031 if you have any questions about the program.

Download the guidelines as a PDF

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