Operating Grant Program 2018

Operating Grant Program 2018

The Operating Grant Program invests annually in non-profit organizations with year-round, arts-driven operations, prioritizing organizations that demonstrate high artistic impact, public impact and organizational resiliency. Organizations may allocate these funds to any areas of their overall budgets.

The Operating Grant Program involves both artistic peers and community members in assessing grant applications and making recommendations for investment in the arts in Calgary. Artists, cultural workers, and community members serving as assessors provide a valuable perspective on arts organizations and their activities, while using the program’s criteria as a framework for learning about and articulating the value and vibrancy of the arts sector.

Description of Role

Assessors will be required to carefully consider applicant organizations and their projects, presentations or performances.

The core criteria for the Operating Grant Program are:

  • Artistic Impact: The quality of an organization’s artistic programming and artistic operations.
  • Public Impact: The quality of an organization’s public engagement and participation. “Public” is defined as any community impacted by the organization, including audience, artists, arts professionals and volunteers.
  • Organizational Resiliency: The ability of the organization to deliver on its mandate as indicated by the organization’s practices in governance, financial management, planning and marketing.

Assessors should consult the Operating Grant Guidelines for further information.

Each member of an assessment committee will be required to read and comment on all applications, after which assessors will meet as a group to discuss, assess and prioritize applications to provide final investment recommendations to Calgary Arts Development.


Assessors are responsible for:

  • Making funding recommendations to Calgary Arts Development in keeping with the stated criteria for the Operating Grant Program.
  • Participating in assessor training and orientation sessions hosted by Calgary Arts Development.
  • Attending arts events in Calgary for the organizations in their specific program stream when possible.
  • Advocating for the arts in Calgary.
  • Encouraging their respective communities to participate in Calgary’s arts sector.


Calgary Arts Development optimizes the composition of the Assessment Committee to ensure that it represents a diversity of specializations, artistic practices, backgrounds and perspectives. Assessors should have an exemplary track record of professional, business or community-minded ethics and a strong commitment to the continued growth and vitality of the arts in Calgary. Assessors are appointed by staff through a public nomination process. Candidates are screened for qualifications in line with program needs, as well as any potential conflicts of interest.

Qualifications and Required Skills

Community Members: Calgarians with an appreciation for the arts (any discipline) who actively attend arts performances and presentations. Community members should possess skills that are transferable to the non-profit arts sector, including, but not limited to:

  • Non-profit board governance
  • Organizational management
  • Business planning and project management
  • Marketing and communications
  • Event production
  • Investment and resource development
  • Community and government relations
  • Design or creation within the broader creative industries

Peers: Artists and arts professionals who possess professional experience and knowledge directly relevant to the arts sector. Calgary Arts Development follows the definition of “peers” established by the Canada Council for the Arts: “people who, by virtue of their experience, knowledge and open-mindedness, are capable of making a fair and informed assessment of the comparative merits [of submissions]. … Peer assessment ensures that artistic quality is (able to be considered) in decisions made and thus protects diversity of opinion and artistic freedom.”

Additional Skills

  • Peers: A background in the arts (dance, music, theatre, literary arts, film, media arts, visual arts and/or festivals and events) that demonstrates a profound commitment to an artistic discipline and/or reflects a high level of artistic and aesthetic experience and accomplishment.
  • Community Members: An understanding and familiarity with the arts (dance, music, theatre, literary arts, film, media arts, visual arts and/or festivals and events).
  • Relevant skills, experience and knowledge that will accommodate the range of applicants to be juried.
  • A generous spirit, exceptional listening skills and a willingness and ability to embrace change, complexity and different viewpoints.
  • An understanding and awareness of Calgary and region, and an insight into our social and cultural climate.
  • The respect of peers in the community.
  • The ability to function well within a committee structure.


Assessors will meet for training and orientation sessions and will attend the arts activities of the applicants they will be assessing, if possible. Assessors will be asked to participate for a term no shorter than one year and no longer than three years. Assessors’ time commitment for the Operating Grant Program is:

  • February 2018: One training and orientation session in preparation for the review process.
  • April/May 2018: Two full-day review meetings to discuss each application and make recommendations for funding.
  • January 2018 to January 2019: Experience arts activities of the organizations being assessed.

Committee members are encouraged to view the work of Operating Grant Program applicants as much as possible for the duration of the term.

Lines of Accountability and Communication

Assessors will report to Calgary Arts Development staff. All deliberations of the Assessment Committee as well as all records, material and information obtained by a member and not generally available to the public shall be considered confidential. Adhering to the Terms of Reference, assessors shall maintain the confidentiality of their deliberations and shall safeguard such records and information from improper access.

Conflict of Interest

Assessors will follow Calgary Arts Development’s Policy on Conflict of Interest and Code of Conduct (excerpt from Calgary Arts Development’s Governance Manual below). All assessors are required to sign a statement agreeing to fully disclose any actual or perceived conflict with any applicant whose submission they have been appointed to review. Assessors with an actual or perceived conflict with an applicant will be removed from the assessment process for said applicant.

“Upon consideration of any proposed activity with the potential to benefit an organization or initiative with which the director or volunteer committee member shall participate in the decision making process where there is a potential or actual conflict of interest. The individual so affiliated shall leave the room during discussion and shall not vote or use personal influence in the decision-making process.”


Protecting the Anonymity of Assessors During the Granting Cycle
Calgary Arts Development requests that individuals engaged as assessors maintain their own anonymity and the anonymity of other assessors in order to prevent the possibility of pressure being applied from grant applicants and the community that could affect assessments.

Disclosure of Assessor Names by Calgary Arts Development
Calgary Arts Development will release assessor names as part of its annual Accountability Report published the subsequent year. In the case where assessors are engaged in programs that contain a verbal presentation from applicants, assessors will be introduced to applicants at the time of the presentation, before the program cycle is complete.

Protecting the Confidentiality of Applicants and Applicant Information
All deliberations of assessors, all corporate records and material submitted by applicants as part of their applications that is not generally available to the public shall be considered confidential. All assessors are required to safeguard such records and information from improper access and to sign and adhere to a confidentiality agreement prior to accessing any confidential information.


Calgary Arts Development will provide an honorarium to assessors. The intention of this gift is to recognize the volunteers in dedicating their time and expertise to the investment process. The honorarium will be mailed to assessors after the reviewing process is completed. Honorariums are $6 per application and $50 per meeting. Food, parking, and transit costs are also covered for any meetings. Transportation and parking costs will be added to the honorarium provided assessors submit a copy of their receipts on or soon after the completion of the review process.

Contact Information

Please contact the Community Investment team with any questions about the assessment process at 403.476.2031 or grants@calgaryartsdevelopment.com.

Download Assessor Terms of Reference as a PDF


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