Organization Opportunity Grant Program 2016

Organization Opportunity Grant Program 2016

Deadline Extension Policy

Calgary Arts Development intends its granting process to be open, fair and transparent.

Calgary Arts Development has a fiduciary responsibility to the citizens of Calgary to ensure the security and value of their investments.

  • Within one week of the grant application deadline, Calgary Arts Development staff will contact existing clients who have not started their applications to remind them of the deadline. If contact information is out of date, staff will use their best efforts to find correct contact information.
  • Within two days of the grant application deadline, Calgary Arts Development staff will contact existing clients who have not started applications or who have not submitted applications.
  • For clients who intend to submit applications but will miss the deadline, a written request for extension must be received by Calgary Arts Development before the deadline.
  • Requests not received in time will result in ineligibility for that granting year. The request must state the reason(s) the application deadline cannot be met. Acceptable reasons may include:
    • Personal health or family crisis
    • Birth or death of a family member
    • Unforeseen organizational priority
  • Recent personnel change related to the organization’s internal grant application process and capacity
  • Calgary Arts Development staff will review the request for extension. If in Calgary Arts Development’s sole discretion the reason for the extension is compelling, a deadline extension will be granted. A written notice explaining Calgary Arts Development’s decision will be sent to the applicant. Extensions will only be granted if doing so will not materially affect the planned assessment process.
  • If no application has been submitted and if no request for extension has been approved or received, the client will be ineligible for that granting year and will be considered a new applicant in the subsequent granting year.
  • Notwithstanding the foregoing, Calgary Arts Development, in its sole discretion, may grant an extension in extenuating circumstances.

Download Deadline Extension Policy as a PDF

Fair Notice Policy

As the steward of important community cultural assets on behalf of the citizens of Calgary, Calgary Arts Development has a fiduciary responsibility to the citizens of Calgary to ensure the security and value of their investments. This Fair Notice Policy supports Calgary Arts Development’s commitment to open, fair and transparent processes, as well as encouraging strong artistic impact, public impact, and organizational resiliency in its investment recipients.


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


Calgary Arts Development Staff Assessment

Calgary Arts Development staff will conduct an objective resiliency assessment for all organizations that receive an investment before the Peer Assessment process. Though resiliency is a main criterion of our programs, organizations that are flagged at this stage will not automatically receive an investment reduction. An organization will receive a resiliency flag if it shows one or more of the following conditions:

  • An operating deficit of 10% or more in the last full year of operations.
  • A current assets to current liabilities ratio of less than one (unless mitigated by other assets or investment strategies).
  • A decline of 15% or greater in public attendance or public activities in the last full year of operations (unless the decline is part of the organization’s stated intentions).

Organizations flagged for resiliency must meet with Calgary Arts Development staff to discuss their plans to remedy the flag condition(s). Minutes will be taken from the meeting, approved by the organization and then added to the organization’s investment application file. This information will be provided to the peer assessors at the next assessment for that organization. Flagged organizations must also address the resiliency flag in their next application or required report.

Flags will be retired when the identified risks have been reasonably mitigated. A record of the organization’s progress in retiring the flag will be kept and provided to the peer assessors.

Resiliency flags may be removed entirely at Calgary Arts Development’s sole discretion.

During years where only an interim report is required, only the Staff Assessment will be applied.

Applicants will be notified of any conditions meriting a flag through the usual process.

Peer Assessment

Whenever a program is peer-assessed committee members are asked to notify Calgary Arts Development when they identify one of the following four conditions, provided they are related to an organization’s ability to successfully deliver on the criteria for the program being assessed:

The organization’s impact as measured by the program’s criteria is reduced compared to past years or in relation to other organizations within the investment stream. The peer assessors must use the organization’s application and mandate as context for this evaluation.

The organization does not have the ability to achieve its goals as outlined in its application, or has failed to achieve its programming or organizational plan as outlined in the previous year without reasonable explanation.

There is a lack of transparency or information in the application such that the peer assessors are not confident that the organization merits the current investment.

The organization’s resiliency is questionable, which may include an inability to demonstrate planning for the future, sound management practices, or a compelling plan to retire an existing resiliency flag.

Investment Reductions

During assessment, the peer assessors will indicate if conditions require Calgary Arts Development to issue a warning to an organization and may also recommend a reduction of up to 10% of the organization’s most recent investment allocation.

If the same organization submits an application in the following assessment year, the condition(s) of concern will be re-evaluated by the peer assessors. If there is evidence that the condition(s) persist or are worsening, the assessors may recommend a further reduction of up to 15% of the previous year’s allocation.

If, in the third successive year of assessment, there is evidence that the condition(s) persist or are worsening, the peer assessors may recommend a reduction up to 100% of the previous year’s allocation.

Note that any reductions in the Operating Grant Program resulting from the 5% holdback of the previous year’s allocation to allow for competitive assessment are not governed by this policy. However, this 5% holdback will not stack with Fair Notice reductions. For example, the maximum reduction an organization could receive in the first year that it is flagged is 10%.

Additional to this Policy

  1. Notwithstanding the foregoing and in keeping with its fiduciary responsibility, Calgary Arts Development reserves the right to reduce, delay, suspend or withdraw an organization’s investment at any time if:
    1. The assessment panel notifies Calgary Arts Development that an organization is a high-risk investment.
    2. There is reliable evidence obtained by Calgary Arts Development staff that indicates an organization presents a risk to default on the obligations stated in its Investment.
    3. Agreement for any given program. In Calgary Arts Development’s sole discretion, a third party audit of the organization may be required to determine if the organization is an acceptable investment risk. The cost of the audit will be deducted from that organization’s subsequent investment (if any).
  2. Calgary Arts Development’s suspension or withdrawal of an organization’s investment requires majority approval by Calgary Arts Development’s Board of Directors.
  3. Organizations that do not reapply to the program in a given assessment year will be assessed as new applicants in any subsequent years.
  4. Should Calgary Arts Development’s funding for the program be reduced, organizations may receive reductions to their investment that may not adhere to this policy.

Download Fair Notice Policy as a PDF

Grant Appeals Policy

Calgary Arts Development intends its investment process to be open, fair and transparent. If a case can be made that an Assessment Committee has misunderstood an application or that due process was not followed, Calgary Arts Development offers an opportunity for applications to be reconsidered through an appeals process.

All applicants will be emailed and/or mailed a notification letter with the peer assessors’ decision regarding their investment amount. Any applicant may appeal to the Appeals Committee if a case can be made pertaining to the eligible reasons listed below.

Eligible Reasons for Appeal

Appeals will be heard in cases only where it can be demonstrated that:

  • The Assessment Committee was in error in its understanding of the application.
  • Due process was not followed.

Ineligible Reason for Appeal

The following matters will not be considered grounds for appeal:

  • Changes in an applicant’s circumstances after the date of the investment application. The scope of the appeal must be limited to the content of the original investment application and the deadline date for filing the investment application, not facts or circumstances subsequently arising, including but not limited to:
    • Actions of City departments that have affected the applicant since the application deadline date (e.g. complaints about taxes, utilities, rentals, etc.).
    • Changes in the application since the application deadline date.
  • An appeal regarding program eligibility (e.g. late submission, incomplete application, applicant not properly registered as a not-for-profit society, etc.).

Appeal Procedures

  • A maximum of 2% of total investment funds available in streams that are being reviewed by an arm’s-length Assessment Committee may be retained pending appeals.
  • Applicants will have 10 working days from the date that investment notification letters are emailed or postmarked to notify Calgary Arts Development’s Community Investment Manager of their intent to appeal the Assessment Committee’s decision. (See below: “How to Make an Appeal.”) In addition to stating their intent to appeal, applicants will be required to state the basis of their appeal.
  • All appeals will be reviewed by an Appeals Committee consisting of five assessors from the relevant stream, one of whom is from the original committee that assessed the application.
  • Successful appeal applicants will be awarded funds from the 2% holdback retained for pending appeals.
  • After the completion of the appeals process, funding agreements will be issued with any funds remaining from the 2% holdback allocated to all other applicants of the program funding stream on a pro-rated basis.

How to Make an Appeal

  1. Request Feedback: Upon receiving a letter of notification of the investment assessment, applicants may contact Calgary Arts Development’s Community Investment team for feedback from the assessment meeting.
  2. Meet with Calgary Arts Development Staff: An applicant must state their intention to appeal the investment decision by informing the Community Investment Manager no later than 10 business days from the date that investment notification letters are postmarked. For the purposes of expediency, email notification is acceptable. A meeting, via conference call or in person, will be set up with Calgary Arts Development’s Community Investment team. The purpose of the meeting will be to provide the applicant with information about the step-by-step procedures that were followed for the assessment. The meeting will also provide verbal and written comments from the assessment.
  3. Provide Written Appeal Statement (max. two pages): If applicants wish to continue submitting an appeal following the meeting, a written statement must be submitted outlining the grounds upon which the appeal is based, within the parameters of the original application. If applicants make a clear and compelling case that the Assessment Committee was in error in its understanding of the application or where due process was not followed, the application will be re-activated for appeal. Again, an emailed letter is acceptable as written notification.
  4. Presentation to Appeals Committee: Applicants with active appeals will be offered a time-specific opportunity to verbally present their case directly to the Appeals Committee (via conference call, to allow assessors to remain anonymous). Appeal decisions will be based on the original application, comments from the first investment assessment, the appeal statement, the appeal presentation and available funds.
  5. Notification of Decision: Notification of appeal decisions will be sent by mail to applicants.
  6. All appeal decisions will be final.

Download Grant Appeals Policy as a PDF

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