Guidelines: Cornerstone Program Guidelines 2015

Guidelines: Cornerstone Program Guidelines 2015

Application Deadline: May 15, 2015, 4:30pm MDT


  • Program Goal
  • Program Description
  • Operational Funding for 2015
  • Eligibility
  • Assessment Process
  • How to Apply
  • Application Checklist
  • Fair Notice Policy
  • Notification of Results
  • Contact Information

Program Goal

Along with our Operating Grant Program, the goal of the Cornerstone Program is to ensure that Calgary arts organizations have the opportunity to excel and strategically achieve their mandates with a stable base of resources.

Program Description

The Cornerstone Program provides stable investment in arts organizations that play an integral role in sustaining Calgary’s overall arts ecosystem. Because of their size and scale, contribution to their discipline and history of ongoing engagement with Calgarians, these organizations are civic institutions enriching the artistic and creative vibrancy of Calgary.

Operational Funding for 2015

Organizations seeking operational funding through Calgary Arts Development may apply through the Operating Grant Program or the Cornerstone Program. However, the competitive context of the Operating Grant Program is likely not the ideal assessment process for organizations that meet the criteria for the Cornerstone Program.

More information about changes to the Operating Grant Program is available here.


To be eligible to apply to the Cornerstone Program, an organization must:

  • Have received an Operating Grant in the previous assessment year of that program.
  • Operate under an arts mandate.
  • Be registered as a non-profit organization, corporation or society in the Province of Alberta.
  • Maintain operations throughout the whole or majority of the year.
  • Maintain a majority of activities that support Calgary artists or are accessible to Calgary citizens.

Calgary Arts Development staff review all potential applications for eligibility. For organizations that also have non-arts-related programming or operate in areas outside of Calgary, Calgary Arts Development will determine eligibility through the organization’s commitment to the arts and the scope of its activities within Calgary’s arts community.

The following groups are ineligible for operational funding through Calgary Arts Development:

  • Political, trade union or fraternal lodge organizations.
  • Degree- or diploma-granting educational institutes such as colleges and universities.
  • Organizations that receive operational funding directly from The City of Calgary.

Assessment Process

Applicants will be assessed within the context of each organization’s arts mandate and strategic plans.

An independent, arm’s-length assessment committee made up of artistic peers (1) with a national or international perspective will consider all parts of the application related to the artistic aspects of the program criteria. Calgary Arts Development staff will consider each applicant’s organizational resiliency, its strategic plans as outlined in the application, and the activities it undertakes in the context of Living a Creative Life: An Arts Development Strategy for Calgary.

1) Artists and arts professionals who possess professional experience and knowledge directly relevant to the arts sector.

Applicants to the Cornerstone Program must:

  • Offer programming that is recognized as integral to our city’s artistic identity (locally, nationally and internationally), demonstrated through their history and future artistic aspirations.
  • Be leaders in Calgary by mentoring, collaborating and aligning with other artists and arts organizations, as well as stakeholders in other sectors.
  • Have attained a size and scale of operations and programming where they can intentionally drive results in all five focus areas of Living a Creative Life: An Arts Development Strategy for Calgary.

Those who would like to nominate an artistic peer to be considered for this assessment committee may contact Community Investment staff at 403.476.2031 or by March 13, 2015.

How to Apply

There are three components to the Cornerstone Program application:

  • An online application form.
  • A site visit
  • An in-person presentation

Online applications are due May 15, 2015; however, the Programming List, Statistical Form, Financial Form and most recent audited Financial Statements must be uploaded to the online granting interface by April 10, 2015.

Community Investment staff will contact all applicants to schedule site visits and in-person presentations to take place the last half of June 2015.

Online Application

Organizations must apply using the online granting interface account.

If you have questions about how to access your organization’s account, please contact us at or 403.476.2031.

All applications must be submitted through the online granting interface by 4:30pm MDT on May 15, 2015. If a deadline extension is required, Calgary Arts Development must receive a written request before this deadline. The see the full Deadline Extension Policy here.

Site Visit

Calgary Arts Development staff and peer assessors will visit a single site of your organization’s choosing (within Calgary city limits) for up to three hours. This visit is intended to inform the peer assessors about your organization’s artistic mandate, artistic work (past, current and future) and the role you play in the Calgary arts sector.

Calgary Arts Development staff will work with each organization to create an itinerary for its site visit. The itinerary may include:

  • Meeting and conversation with artistic staff.
  • Meeting and conversation with executive staff and/or board of directors.
  • A facility tour.
  • A collections or archive tour.

In-Person Presentation

Applicants will make a formal presentation to Calgary Arts Development staff and artistic assessors. This hour-long presentation will be broken down into three sections:

  • Applicants speak to their contribution to Calgary’s artistic identity (locally, nationally and internationally)—15 minutes.
  • Applicants speak to anything else they feel is relevant to their application—15 minutes.
  • Assessor Q&A—30 minutes.

Application Checklist

Applicants must provide the following:

  • Organization information (applicant contact information, organization mandate).
  • Most recent audited financial statements (must be uploaded in PDF format).
  • 2015 Financial Form (use standard form or CADAC if available).
  • 2015 Statistical Form (use standard form or CADAC if available)
  • 2015 Cornerstone Programming Form (use mandatory form); additionally, organizations have the option of also uploading their own programming lists or typing them directly into the form).
  • List of earned media (cover up to the last two years; upload as a PDF or type directly into application form)
  • Organizational structure (must be uploaded in PDF format).
  • List of board members (can be uploaded in PDF format, or through the standard form).
  • Most recent proof of filing from Alberta Registries (must be uploaded in .pdf format).
  • Certificate of Accuracy (use mandatory form).
  • Strategic Planning (type directly into application form):
    • 1. Give a high-level overview of your organization’s current state, as it relates to your most recent strategic plan(s).
    • 2. What are your organization’s future aspirations, related to your most recent strategic plan(s)?
    • 3. How does your organization measure progress on your strategy? What are the current methods you use to evaluate and communicate the impact of your work? What other measurement methods would you like to use but currently don’t have access to or resources for?
    • 4. Statement of Resiliency (only applicable to organizations flagged for resiliency in 2014)
    • 5. Upload a PDF of your most recent Board-approved Strategic Plan.
  • Living a Creative Life alignment (type directly into application form; please consult the Living a Creative Life overview here):
    • 1. How does your organization currently drive results in each of the following Living a Creative Life focus areas? What future plans does your organization have that align to each focus area?
      • Creative Communities
      • Centre City Arts District
      • Arts Incubation
      • Artistic Exchange
      • Youth & Education
    • 2. (Optional) Does your organization focus substantial energy or resources on current or future activities in areas not covered by Living a Creative Life? If so, please tell us about those activities and how they are important to your organization’s vision and strategy.
  • Support Material: Provide materials that relate to your application such as text, digital images, audio or video. Limit your support material to a maximum review time of 10 minutes, or 10 pages of written text. You may include up to four attachments with a maximum size of 1MB each. Please provide short descriptions of each attachment in the fields provided. Acceptable file types are PDF, JPG, DOC, DOCX, XLS, and XLSX. For audio and video, please enter a YouTube or Vimeo link with specific instructions on what portions to view. Keep in mind that you may present hard copies and other material during the site visit and in-person presentations.

Fair Notice Policy

This policy ensures that organizations that receive annual operational funding from Calgary Arts Development do not see major fluctuations in their grants in any single assessment year. This policy also limits an assessment panel’s ability to remove an organization from a program or significantly decrease an organization’s operational grant without notice. It also creates a platform to measure and record risks within the Calgary Arts Development’s portfolio of investments and encourages grant recipients to work with Calgary Arts Development to create strategies that remedy high-risk conditions.

In addition to the assessment process above, Calgary Arts Development staff and assessors will review applications to ensure that there are no significant risks to an organization’s resiliency. Identified risks may result in a resiliency flag and open the organization to reductions to grant amounts as outlined in the Fair Notice Policy.

The full policy is available here.

Organizations Flagged in 2014

All organizations flagged in 2014 met with Calgary Arts Development staff and received notes outlining resiliency concerns (contact Calgary Arts Development staff if your organization requires a copy of these notes). Flagged organizations must provide an update on these resiliency concerns as part of their 2015 Cornerstone Program application in the Statement of Resiliency section. The Fair Notice Policy addresses ongoing resiliency concerns.

Key Dates

  • March 13, 2015: Deadline to submit nominations for artistic peer assessors.
  • April 10, 2015: Programming List, Statistical Form, Financial Form and most recent audited Financial Statements must be uploaded to the online granting interface.
  • May 15, 2015: Deadline to submit applications through the online granting interface.
  • June 2015: Site visits, in-person presentations and assessment meetings held.
  • July 2015: Applicants will be notified of the results of their applications in writing.

Contact Information

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

The team includes:

  • Emiko Muraki, Director, Community Investment & Impact
  • Jordan Baylon, Community Investment Manager
  • Kari McQueen, Community Investment Officer
  • Melissa Tuplin, Community Investment Assistant

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