City of London Community Grants Policy

By-Law Number
As Amended by

Legislative HistoryEnacted June 13, 2017 (By-law No. CPOL.-38-234); Amended June 26, 2018 (By-law No. CPOL.-283-274); Amended April 23, 2019 (By-law No. CPOL.-390-124); Amended February 2, 2021 (By-law No. CPOL.-402-35); Amended August 10, 2021 (By-law No. CPOL.-38(a)-236); Amended July 25, 2023 (By-law No. CPOL.-38(b)-169)

Last Review Date: July 25, 2023

Service Area Lead: Deputy City Manager, Neighbourhood and Community-Wide Services

1. Policy Statement

The objective of this Policy is to outline the criteria for the City of London Community Grants Program. Funding through this program will be aligned with the City of London’s Strategic Plan and will grant funding to community organizations to advance the priorities of the Strategic Plan.

2. Definitions

2.1           ‘Equity-denied groups” (also called equity-deserving groups) are groups of people who have been historically disadvantaged and underrepresented in positions of power and economic influence. These groups face exclusion due to societal and systemic barriers. These groups include, but are not limited to women and girls, racialized persons, those that identify as 2SLGBTQ2+, Indigenous, and people with disabilities.

2.2           “Funder” refers to an organization that provides money for a particular purpose. This includes but is not limited to foundations and other government sources (Federal and Provincial).

2.3           “Government of Canada 50/30 Challenge” is a federal approach to increasing diversity to ensure gender parity (50% women and/or non-binary people) and significant representation of other equity-deserving groups, including those who identify as Racialized, Black, and/or or People of colour (“Visible Minorities”), People with disabilities, (including invisible and episodic disabilities), 2SLGBTQ2+ and/or gender and sexually diverse individuals, and Aboriginal and/or Indigenous Peoples, including First Nations, Metis and Inuit, as founding Peoples of Canada and underrepresented in positions of economic influence and leadership.

2.4           Grant application” refers to the application associated with each granting category.

2.5           Grant agreement refers to the legal agreement that is signed after an application has been deemed successful under the City of London “the City” Community Grants Program. The Grant Agreement defines the terms and conditions under which the City of London grant will be made and cannot be altered without prior approval.

2.6           Host organization” refers to an incorporated not-for-profit organization that may act as a sponsor to an unincorporated organization in order for the unincorporated organization to be eligible for this grant. The host organization will be issued funding associated with the funding activity and will assume financial and legal responsibility for the funded activity and adhere to associated reporting requirements to be outlined in the grant agreement.

2.7           Newly-formed not-for-profit organizations” refers to organizations that have been incorporated for no more than three years. 

2.8           “Not-for-profit” refers to an organization that:

·       Is dedicated to purposes other than pursuing a profit.

·       Is incorporated without share capital.

·       May not distribute any profits to its members, directors, or officers (for more information, refer to section 89 of the Ontario Not-for-Profit Corporations Act, 2010).

·       Must use any profit exclusively for its not-for-profit purposes.

·       Includes both charitable and non-charitable organizations.

2.9           “Procedural error” in reference to the appeals process, refers to a mistake that may have been made a result of not following the process for the allocation of grants as outlined in this Policy.

2.10       “Strategic Plan refers to the current City of London Strategic Plan.

2.11       Unincorporated grassroots group” refers to a group of five or more individuals joined by mutual consent for a common, non-profit purpose. The group has not registered for incorporation, and is not bound to the legislative rights and responsibilities as set out in the Ontario Not-for-Profit Corporations Act, 2010.

3. Applicability: Funding Categories

Applications for City of London Community Grants will be considered under the following categories:

3.1       Multi-Year Grants

Multi-Year Grants are up to four (4) year agreements with the City of London for community organizations pursuing initiatives in alignment with the City of London’s Strategic Plan.

3.2       Annual Grants

a)         Innovation

Innovation grants are provided for initiatives that engage in one or more of the following:

  • New idea – proven or promising early stage innovations that need additional support to create the capacity and conditions to be effectively sustained;
  • Collaboration – new collaborations between two or more organizations that engage in dynamic community partnerships and innovative improvements to service delivery and system collaboration;
  • Transformation of service delivery – creative new approaches to social innovation that engage multiple partners in creative collaboration to improve system delivery OR do things differently.

b)         Capital

Capital grants are provided for projects involving construction or purchase of physical assets, including, but not limited to, land, building and associated renovation costs. 

c) Grassroots

For unincorporated grassroots groups or newly incorporated not-for-profit organizations that require support for a new initiative. Grants may be allocated towards a new initiative that includes a proven or promising early-stage idea that needs additional support to create the capacity and conditions to be effectively sustained. 

4. The Policy

4.1       General Program Requirements: The Grant

a)         The proposed initiative must meet the definition of the relevant funding category as outlined in Section 3 of this policy.

b)         Community need for the proposed project must clearly be demonstrated and indicate how the applicant organization is best suited to meet this need.

c)         The proposed initiative must be available to a broad cross-section of the London community unless specifically serving an equity-denied group.

d)         All projects must conform to all relevant legal standards and requirements and should be accessible to all persons.

e)         The amount of funding allocated to the municipal granting program will be confirmed each year as part of the annual budget process.

f)         A minimum of 25% of the total funding for Multi-Year and all Annual Grants will be allocated to applications whose proposals support anti- racism, anti-oppression, diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. Proposals may be inclusive of all equity-denied groups including but not limited to: Black, Indigenous and Muslim communities. If no applications are received that would support these initiatives, the funding may be allocated to those applications that meet the City of London Community Grants Program Policy.

4.2       Specific Program Requirements

a)         Innovation

i)          Considering the one-year term of funding for Innovation Grants, applications must demonstrate a clear plan for how the proposed program will be funded after the term of the grant.

b)         Capital

i)      Applications to the Capital category will be considered for the following purposes:

  • Purchase of Land and Buildings: Grants are made in this category only when the purchase is required for the immediate capital project.
  • Construction Costs: Grants in this category will be for costs associated with new facilities or renovation costs associated with increasing the program/service space available to create more programming opportunities.

ii)          The applicant must present information that demonstrates their long-term intent to remain in the building. If funding has been received to make capital improvements to the property, the organization may be required to repay a portion of the grant back to the City in the event the property is vacated. The exact terms will be laid out in the Grant Agreement signed upon notification of the awarded grant.

iii)         All Capital projects must be either tendered or open to competitive bidding by two or more parties.

iv)        Rehabilitation and replacement of existing facilities will be preferred as opposed to projects involving the construction of new facilities.

v)        Capital funding will not be granted for appliances or equipment. Funding will only be provided for construction costs for work that will be affixed to the building.

vi)         Preference will be given to organizations that demonstrate a willingness to cooperate with the community and other organizations to share the space.

vii)        Unincorporated organizations will not be eligible to apply for Capital funding.

viii)       Applicant must demonstrate they have applied to relevant Federal and Provincial government funding streams that align with the capital project deliverables.

c)    Grassroots

i)            Unincorporated grassroots groups and newly formed not-for-profit organizations are eligible to apply to the Grassroots Grant.

ii)          Grassroots groups that are unincorporated require partnership with a host organization.

iii)         An unincorporated grassroots group may apply for funding annually for the same initiative for up to four years or until the Multi-Year funding re-opens.  Exceptions may be approved administratively for projects receiving funding for the first time in the year preceding the opening of a multi-year funding cycle, based on outcomes achieved.

iv)        The City of London may be the sole source of funding for the Grassroots Fund.

v)          For purposes of the City of London Community Grants Program, an unincorporated grassroots group is expected to have functioned in London for at least one year.

4.3       Eligibility

a)         General Eligibility

i)          A City of London grant should not be considered as the sole source of funding for the organization with the exception of organizations applying through the Grassroots Fund. City of London grants are intended to be supplementary to other sources of funding. Organizations will be expected to leverage opportunities for funding from other funders and to provide information about other sources of funding, both received and applied to, to the City of London.

ii)         A grant made to an organization in any year is not to be regarded as a commitment by the City to continue the grant in future years.

iii)        In making grants, the City may impose conditions as it deems fit. Specific terms and conditions will be outlined in the Grant Agreement upon award of funding.

iv)        Project must be delivered within the City of London.

v)     Organizations are eligible to apply for both Multi-Year and Annual funding opportunities in the same funding cycle.

b)         Applicant and/or host Organization Eligibility

i)          Organizations must be located in London (this means the organization must have an office located in London, but not necessarily the head office, and that grant supported projects must take place in London) and may be asked to provide proof of address for verification with the exception of organizations located on surrounding First Nations (Chippewas of Thames First Nation, Oneida Nation of the Thames, and Munsee-Delaware Nation) provided that funded projects are delivered within the City of London..

ii)         Only registered not-for-profit organizations, with some exclusions (noted in 4.3(c) below) will be considered for a grant through the City of London Community Grants Program.

iii)        Organizations in receipt of City of London funding (including, but not limited to Purchase of Service Agreements) will not be eligible to receive additional City of London funding for the same project.

iv)        Agencies, Boards, and Commissions of the City of London are not eligible for grants through this program.

v)         Organizations seeking development and capital funding to support the creation of new community based supportive housing initiatives are not eligible.

vi)        Applicant organizations must have an active Board of Directors that is independent from senior staff of the organization.

c)         Eligibility Exclusions for Unincorporated Organizations

i)          An unincorporated grassroots group or organization may submit an application under the Annual Innovation Grant, but must officially become incorporated before any funding can be allocated to the organization.

ii)         An unincorporated grassroots group or organization may apply to the City of London Community Grants Program (Grassroots, Multi-Year or Innovation Categories) in partnership with a Host Organization. Under these criteria, City funding will be allocated to the Host Organization in support of the funded activity, with the host organization held to accountable for the terms and conditions outlined in the Grant Agreement.

iii)        There are no eligibility exclusions for an organization’s not-for-profit status under the Capital category of this program.

4.4       Financial Eligibility

a)         The organization must demonstrate strong financial responsibility and capability in carrying out the funded project.

b)         The City of London, through its grants process will not contribute to outstanding deficits.

c)         The financial state of the organization will be reviewed through the grant application process. The City of London will not fund organizations that have a structural deficit.

d)         The organization must indicate a clear financial plan and demonstrate efficient use of City funds in the project.

e)         The organization must show that it has thoroughly explored all other available sources of funding. The organization must identify the full cost of the project along with all sources and amounts of confirmed and pending revenue.  

f)          The organization must demonstrate fund-raising capabilities and illustrate a future plan for the project.

g)         In conjunction with a comprehensive review of the proposed initiative, funding will be directed to organizations in greater need of financial support.

h)         The organization must indicate other City of London funding or contributions that are made to the organization (purchase of service, tax exemptions, etc.).

4.5       Community Review Panel

a)         Grant applications will be assessed by the community review panel in accordance with the program’s respective guidelines.

i)          A community review panel of up to 11 individuals will be convened to make decisions regarding the allocation of London Community Grants. The community review panel will be comprised of the following members:

  • Community members who are experts or knowledgeable in subject matter specific to priorities of the City of London’s Strategic Plan (6-7)
  • Funder (1)
  • Outcomes measurement expert (1)
  • Financial expert (1)
  • City Staff (1-2).

b)         Selection

i)          Civic Administration will seek qualified London residents to be part of the community review panel based on the composition of the Panel defined above.

ii)         The community review panel composition will align with the Government of Canada 50/30 Challenge

c)         Decision Making

i)          Decisions about all funding allocations will be determined by the Community Review Panel in accordance with the relevant program guidelines with the exception of capital funding requests in excess of the approved budget for the Capital Category. Capital funding requests in excess of the available budget will be reviewed by the Community Review Panel and, if recommended, be referred to the budget process noting that a detailed business case must be submitted as part of the budget request.

ii)         All applications, regardless of the granting category, will be assessed for both alignment with, and ability to advance the City’s Strategic Plan.

4.6       Grant Appeal Process

a)         All decisions related to grant applications for the City of London Community Grants Program are open to appeal by the grant applicant.

b)         Applicants to the London Community Grants Program may appeal a decision based on two criteria:

i)          New Information: From the time the grant application was initially submitted, new information that could impact the grant decision became available that, for good reason, was not available at the time of the initial application; or,

ii)         A Procedural Error was made when assessing the grant application.

c)         The Director of Community Development and Grants or designate will review all appeals in accordance with the Appeals Guideline to determine which appeals meet the criteria for further review.

d)         Legitimate appeals will be referred to the Deputy City Manager, Neighbourhood and Community-Wide Services for consideration.

e)         The Deputy City Manager, Neighbourhood and Community-Wide Services may refer the funding appeal to any member of the Senior Leadership Team, depending on the relevant area of the City’s Strategic Plan under which the proposed initiative has been aligned.

f)          Decisions of all appeals will be final.

Last modified:Tuesday, April 09, 2024