Grow Grant

Take a successful project to a new level. Grow grants provide a higher level of funding over 2-3 years to help proven community projects increase their impact.

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Next deadline

No upcoming deadlines

Term length

Minimum 24 months

Maximum 36 months

Amount awarded (per year)

Minimum $50,000

Maximum $250,000

Make existing projects even better

Apply for a Grow grant to support a project already making an impact in your community, but that needs funding to grow, develop, and achieve even more.

  • Expand your successful project to reach new communities
  • Improve the quality and increase the impact of your project
  • Recreate or adapt a project you can prove works elsewhere

Plan your application

A Grow grant can help your organization make an impact in your community. OTF receives a lot of applications, so it is vital that you submit a strong request. Make sure your organization’s project is a good fit with what we fund.

Take a look at our step-by-step guide to giving your Grow grant application the best chance of succeeding. This is not a guide to filling out your application. It's all about ensuring your project aligns with the purpose of Grow grants.

Learn more about submitting a good Grow grant application.

Eligibility

Discover if your organization and project are eligible for funding.

Organization requirements

Please ensure your organization meets all of the following criteria:

Project eligibility

Please ensure your project meets all of the following criteria:

  • The project information is complete and includes all of the attachments
  • The project strongly aligns with your chosen Grant Result (all grants) and metric (Grow and Capital grants only)
  • The project complies with OTF policies
  • The project aligns with the Grow, Seed, or Capital Investment Stream

Board of directors requirements

All organizations must meet OTF’s Board of Directors requirements. However, Municipalities, First Nations, Métis, Inuit or other Indigenous communities are not required to submit Board of Director information with their grant application.

Please ensure your organization meets all of the following criteria:

  • Your organization has a minimum of three board members with active terms. Their terms need to be active as of the application deadline date.
  • At least 50% of the board must maintain an arm’s length relationship to each other. This means that board members and executives are not married or related to each other and do not work as business partners or are in another relationship where interests may be compromised.

Financial statement requirements

While all organizations must meet OTF’s Financial Statement requirements, Municipalities, First Nation, Métis, Inuit or other Indigenous communities are not required to submit financial statements with their grant application.

  • Organizations must upload their most recent completed financial statements based on their fiscal year-end date and total revenues. 
  • Financial statements must be completed within 12 months of the organization’s most recent fiscal year-end.
  • For the December 8, 2021 deadline:
    • 2019 financial statements are required (including 2018 comparative details) if your organization’s fiscal year end date falls between December 1 and December 31.
    • 2020 financial statements are required (including 2019 comparative details) if your organization’s fiscal year end date falls between January 1 and November 30.
  • Additional information pertaining to a surplus or deficit will need to be uploaded along with the financial statements, if applicable.
  • Organizations must have at least one year of financial history from their incorporation or charitable registration date based on their organization's fiscal year-end date.
  • Financial statements must be Board approved (draft statements are not accepted).
Review additional financial statements requirements

Policy requirements

Our policy requirements define eligibility for OTF funding and outline exclusions. Funds are granted to eligible applicants delivering eligible project activities that directly align with OTF Priority Outcomes and Grant Results.

View our policies

Collaboratives eligibility

We recognize and support collaborative arrangements that will achieve positive community impact.

Read more about collaborative agreements

Application process

OTF's application process involves various steps for organizations.

Application submission

Visit the grant application deadline page. Once the online application portal opens, you can begin the application. 

Review and assessment

OTF staff will first review your application as well as information available on your organization’s website and social media accounts, to make sure you are eligible to apply, that your application is complete, and is a fit with the grant requirements. Our experienced staff and local volunteers score your application against the grant assessment criteria.

Recommendation and selection

Local Grant Review Team volunteers make funding recommendations. OTF’s Board of Directors approve these recommendations.

Notification

The final list of approved grants is sent to Ontario Members of Provincial Parliament (MPPs) to give them the opportunity to congratulate successful recipients directly, when possible. OTF then notifies all applicants of the final decision.

Orientation

Successful applicants take part in a mandatory orientation session with their OTF Program Manager.

Confirmation

Successful applicants are sent an email with their OTF Contract.

Activation
  • Grants are activated once OTF contracts are signed and returned electronically. 
  • Next, in order for OTF to release the first grant payment through electronic funds transfer (EFT), the organization’s banking information needs to be confirmed in OTF’s online portal. 
What happens at the end of your grant?
  • Reporting & monitoring: In addition to grantee engagements throughout the life of a grant, at the end of each year grantees complete a Progress Report. Grantees also submit a final report when the project is completed. This covers the achievement of the project, metric, and learnings.
  • Completion: After OTF staff approve a final report, the grant hold-back funds are released and the grant is closed.
  • Grantee compliance: A random sample of grants are subject to a Grantee Compliance Audit. Grant files can be audited for compliance at any point within the grants life, or after the grant has been closed.

Choose Your Project Type

Grow grants can help you improve or expand your own project, or recreate or adapt another project, that has proven to be successful elsewhere. Three types of projects qualify for a Grow grant. Choose the one that most closely aligns with your project.

This is a project you have already been successfully delivering. Now you want to reach more people and expand its reach and impact. Choose this project type if:

  • This is a program you currently deliver
  • You have strong evidence of the program's success and impact
  • You can demonstrate how you can expand its reach and achieve your chosen Grant Result

This is a project you have already been successfully delivering. Now you want to make it even better to increase its positive impact. Choose this project type if:

  • This is a program you currently deliver
  • You have strong evidence of the program's success and impact
  • You can demonstrate how you can improve and develop it to deliver even more positive change in your community

This is a project that has been proven to work elsewhere. You now want to recreate it or adapt it to your community. Choose this project type if:

  • This is another organization's program, not one you deliver or have delivered
  • You have strong evidence it can deliver the results you are seeking and it fits your chosen Grant Result
  • You can demonstrate how you can recreate or adapt it successfully within your community

Choose a Grant Result

OTF has outlined specific Grow Grant Results it will fund. Therefore, the results you hope to achieve with your project need to fit one of these Grant Results. The Grant Result you choose identifies the impact your project will have. As you fill out your application, you should link back and align your answers to the Grant Result your project will achieve.

What is the connection between Grant Results and the Investment Strategy?

The Action Areas are broad areas that OTF invests in. For each Action Area, the Priority Outcome is the long-term change your project will contribute to achieving for Ontarians. The Grant Result is what your project will specifically accomplish to support the Priority Outcome.

Successful Grow grant applications:

  • Have a clear alignment with the chosen Grant Result
  • Can demonstrate growth or increased impact in relation to the Grant Result
  • Have evidence that the expected growth and increased impact can be achieved, in relation to the Grant Result
  • Are existing projects that are ready to grow

For 13 Grow Grant Results, you are required to measure the outcome of your project using a data collection tool provided by OTF. Those Grant Results are noted in the drop down below with an asterisk (*).

Active People: Fostering more active lifestyles

Priority Outcome 1: Higher quality programming & infrastructure to support physical activities

  • Grant Results:

    • Trained and certified coaches, officials and volunteers
    • Programs are safe, inclusive, fair, and age- or ability-appropriate

Priority Outcome 2: More people become active

  • Grant Result:

    • Ontarians participate in an active lifestyle *

 

Connected People: Building inclusive and engaged communities together

Priority Outcome 1: Diverse groups work better together to shape community

  • Grant Results:

    • People have a say in shaping the services and programs that matter to them
    • People who are marginalized take on leadership roles in their community *
    • Diverse groups work together and improve community life *

Priority Outcome 2: Reduced social isolation

  • Grant Result:

    • People who are isolated have connections in their community *

 

Green People: Encouraging people to support a healthy and sustainable environment

Priority Outcome 1: More ecosystems are protected and restored

  • Grant Results:

    • People participate in ecosystem conservation and restoration efforts
    • Conservation and restoration efforts are better planned and more sustainable

Priority Outcome 2: People reduce their impact on the environment

  • Grant Results:

    • People connect with the environment and understand their impact on it *
    • People and resource users take deliberate action to benefit the environment
    • Mechanisms are developed to promote responsible resource stewardship

 

Inspired People: Enriching people’s lives through arts, culture and heritage

Priority Outcome 1: Better quality programming and infrastructure to experience culture, heritage and the arts

  • Grant Result:

    • Skills and knowledge are transferred to the next generation of artistic leaders

Priority Outcome 2: More people connect with culture, heritage and the arts

  • Grant Results:

    • Access to arts-based learning opportunities and compelling artistic, cultural and heritage experiences
    • People are engaged in community-based arts creation
    • Preservation and animation of cultural heritage

 

Promising Young People: Supporting the positive development of children and youth

Priority Outcome 1: More children and youth have emotional and social strengths

  • Grant Results:

    • Parents, caregivers and adult allies have the skills to support children and youth who are facing barriers *
    • Children and youth who are facing barriers develop strong emotional and social skills *

Priority Outcome 2: More youth are meaningfully engaged in the community

  • Grant Results:

    • Youth facing barriers volunteer and are in leadership roles *
    • Youth are involved in creating solutions for challenges facing their community *

Prosperous People: Enhancing people’s economic wellbeing

Priority Outcome 1: Increased economic stability

  • Grant Results:

    • People who are economically vulnerable are able to meet their basic needs *
    • People who are economically vulnerable have access to community services that enhance financial stability *

Priority Outcome 2: Increased economic opportunity

  • Grant Results:

    • People have the skills and knowledge to achieve greater financial independence *
    • People become and stay employed *
    • People become entrepreneurs

Eligible Expenses

Grow grant expenses cover eligible activities you need to undertake to achieve your Grant Result through your outlined project. If your project has a large capital component, it may be better suited to a Capital grant.

Costs that can be funded by a Grow grant include:

Direct personnel costs : Salaries, mandatory employment related costs and employee benefits for staff positions funded specifically to carry out the project.

Direct Non-Personnel Costs: All non-personnel costs directly related to project delivery

  • Purchased services : Services purchased including the services of consultants / contractors / subject experts specifically relating to the delivery of the project.
  • Workshops and meetings: Meeting/convening costs incurred relating to the delivery of the project.
  • Supplies and materials: Items purchased specifically for use in the delivery of the project.
  • Travel: Travel costs incurred by employees, volunteers and participants, that are directly related to delivering the project.
  • Evaluation costs: Evaluation costs such as project evaluation, survey administration, evaluation reporting can be included in your OTF Grant Budget. Up to a maximum of 10% of the total OTF Grant Budget can be used for project evaluation.
  • Capital costs: Repairs, renovations, equipment purchased specifically for use in the delivery of the Grow project. A maximum of 20% of the total OTF Grant Budget can be capital costs.
  • Overhead and Administration Costs: OTF will support overhead and administrative costs directly associated with the funded project, to a maximum of 15% of the total OTF Grant Budget.

All costs funded by OTF must be eligible and directly attributable to the project.

Please note that 10% of the awarded funding will be held back, to be paid upon satisfactory review of the final report.

Application Assessment

The project outlined in your Grow grant application is scored by experienced OTF staff and local volunteers based on four areas of the application: Strategy, Process, People, and Value for Money.

Strategy

Ensure that the need for your project, how you plan to meet that need, and your end goals align with one Priority Outcome and one associated Grant Result.

Scoring weight: 40%

Key areas of your application to focus on:

• Clearly describe your project

• Clearly outline the need and target audience for your project

• Align your project need and description with your selected Grant Result

• Ensure any capital components of your strategy are needed for the delivery of your project

Process

Create a Project Plan that includes the processes and steps needed to make it a success and achieve your Grant Result.

Scoring weight: 30%

Key areas of your application to focus on:

• Use a strong evidence-based model, appropriate for the project and suitable for achieving the selected Grant Result

• Create a detailed, well thought-out Project Plan that aligns with the project description and evidence-based model, and that will help you achieve your selected Grant Result

• Create a realistic timeline to execute your Project Plan

• Include the resources and budget necessary for achieving the selected Grant Result

• Identify any areas of risk and include how risk will be managed

People

Ensure you have people with the right experience and skills to help your project succeed.

Scoring weight: 20%

Key areas of your application to focus on:

• Identify core team members with the skills, knowledge, experience, and competencies needed to lead/manage your project

• Identify any collaborators or partners with the right experience to make your project a success

• Create a suitable evaluation plan to help people learn from your project

• Identity the most capable people to collect the evaluation data and administer your evaluation plan

Value for money

Demonstrate how your project can deliver value for money.

Scoring weight: 10%

Key areas of your application to focus on:

• Detail the cost-per-output for your project

• Ensure your Financial Workbook clearly details the financial resources needed to bring your project to life

Discover the impact of past Grow projects

Innovation Initiatives Ontario North

With high youth unemployment and a pressing need for business education and resources, these programs help young people unleash their inner entrepreneur.

Grow Grant