Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How is the annual funding envelope (or budget) for each Advisory Committee determined and where does the money come from? [View answer]
Q: Is there a minimum and maximum grant size in proportion to the annual budget for each Advisory Committee? [View answer]
Q: What is a "qualified donee"? [View answer]
Q: When and why do you fund municipalities or other government (tax supported) bodies? [View answer]
Q: How are decisions made about which applications go to a particular Advisory Committee? [View answer]
Q: How often can organizations apply for funding? Why do we sometimes see multiple applications from one organization to different committees in a year? [View answer]
Q: What is the difference between "core" funding and "project" funding? [View answer]
Q: What percentage of a proposal do you normally fund and what can be considered eligible matching contributions? [View answer]
Q: How do you view the operating surplus for an organization when assessing their request for funds? [View answer]
Q: Do you consider multi-year grants; what are the criteria? [View answer]
Q: Do you fund salary and administration costs? [View answer]
Q: How do Advisory Committee members determine if they have a conflict of interest regarding applications and should be absent from the discussion? [View answer]
Q: What are some of the conditions Vancouver Foundation may impose on a grant? [View answer]
Q: What is the process for monitoring and payment once a grant is recommended? [View answer]
Q: How is the annual funding envelope (or budget) for each Advisory Committee determined and where does the money come from?
A: The Distribution Committee (a standing committee of the Board) makes allocation recommendation with input from Vancouver Foundation staff, taking into consideration Vancouver Foundation's strategic priorities, the previous year's demand for grants, anticipated need for funding within each funding area and broader funding trends. The money comes from annual income generated from those endowment funds which were either established as unrestricted or as directed to a specific field of interest such as education, health, arts, etc.
Q: Is there a minimum and maximum grant size in proportion to the annual budget for each Advisory Committee?
A: The minimum and maximum grant size for each individual Advisory Committee is determined by each Committee. Generally, grant sizes are based on grant amounts for past proposals of a similar nature, the size of the total proposed budget, availability of funds and the importance of the proposal relative to the priorities established by the particular Advisory Committee.
Q: What is a "qualified donee"?
A: A public charity can only make grants to qualified donees which are organizations that can issue official donation receipts according to CRA standards under the Income Tax Act.
These organizations include:
- a registered charity;
- a registered Canadian amateur athletic association;
- a housing corporation resident in Canada constituted exclusively to provide low-cost housing for the aged;
- a Canadian municipality;
- the United Nations and its agencies;
- a university that is outside Canada that is prescribed to be a university the student body of which ordinarily includes students from Canada;
- a charitable organization outside Canada to which Her Majesty in right of Canada has made a gift during the fiscal period or in the 12 months immediately preceding the period and Her Majesty in right of Canada or a province
Q: When and why do you fund municipalities or other government (tax supported) bodies?
A: Vancouver Foundation does not fund activities which are normally supported through public funds such as the operation of schools and hospitals. Occasionally, we will consider grants to support arts institutions which function under the auspices of the local government, such as museums, theatres, youth activity parks, and so on. These community infrastructures are often located on city owned property and may receive some core support, but they are not entirely funded with tax revenue. We also accept applications from Health Regions for health research grants carried out by healthcare professionals in their hospitals.
Q: How are decisions made about which applications go to a particular Advisory Committee?
A: Decisions are made by Grants and Community Initiatives staff when applications are received. Directors have the discretion to determine which Advisory Committee reviews particular applications based on Committee priorities, availability of funds, and volume of demand for the different areas of funding. Sometimes an application may be appropriate for more than one area of funding. For example, environmental education projects may be considered by the Environment Committee or the Education Committee. Occasionally, an application may be put before two Advisory Committees because the amount of the request is too large for one Committee or because the proposal is particularly relevant to more than one committee.
Q: How often can organizations apply for funding? Why do we sometimes see multiple applications from one organization to different committees in a year?
A: Generally, an organization may apply to Vancouver Foundation once every two years unless there are particularly compelling opportunities to consider special proposals. Some large organizations with programs serving multiple and diverse populations may also apply once a year for proposals from different areas of the organization. In the case of a collaboration or coalition, one member in the group may step forward as applicant for a project involving multiple partners, without risking their opportunity to apply for their own projects.
Q: What is the difference between "core" funding and "project" funding?
A: Vancouver Foundation grants are not intended to be sustaining grants to support the general operating costs of organizations committed over several years. However, through our grantmaking, it is our intention to be useful to charitable agencies at critical junctures and times of particular need which may include the organizations requiring funds to reorganize their work, policy and/or practice. During these times of transition, the greatest need for funding support may be grants that enable agencies to strategically manage or adapt to changes that significantly impact their scale, mandate or core services. Committees may consider grants towards these types of activities. In addition, we also consider requests for time-limited operating/core funding for new 'start-up' agencies when it can be demonstrated that such funding will enable new initiatives to meet emerging needs not currently served by existing organizations.
Q: What percentage of a proposal do you normally fund and what can be considered eligible matching contributions?
A: Vancouver Foundation usually funds no more than 50% of the budget for a proposal. Both cash contributions and in-kind donations of services or goods are considered valid matching components. We ask applicants to list the sources and amounts of potential and confirmed cash contributions. For in-kind donations, we require specific breakdown of the total calculation.
Q: How do you view the operating surplus for an organization when assessing their request for funds?
A: It is good financial management for organizations to maintain a reasonable amount of operating surplus to meet cashflow demands and contingencies. Proposals are evaluated on their merit based on relevance to the sector. Organizations are not be penalized for maintaining a healthy bottom line.
Q: Do you consider multi-year grants; what are the criteria?
A: Committees may consider multi-year grants for compelling and appropriate proposals. The size and duration of these grants are dependent on the availability of funds and the amount of commitments already made against future year's allocations. In general, these grant amounts decline over the time period with the largest commitment in the first year.
Q: Do you fund salary and administration costs?
A: Yes, Vancouver Foundation will fund salary and administration costs for hiring new staff or extending the existing hours of current staff required to carry out the project. A reasonable proportion of management staff time for supervision will also be considered.
Q: How do Advisory Committee members determine if they have a conflict of interest regarding applications and should be absent from the discussion?
A: Our Conflict of Interest Policy is very explicit about the need for Advisory Committee members to absent themselves from discussion pertaining to applications when they, or a family member, are on the board of, or employed by, the applicant organizations. In addition, applications where conflict of interest is identified are reviewed by external reviewers.
Q: What are some of the conditions Vancouver Foundation may impose on a grant?
A: The most common condition is requiring written confirmation of sufficient funding to proceed. Committees can establish other conditions to safeguard the viability of the grant as long as they are reasonable and practical.
Q: What is the process for monitoring and payment once a grant is recommended?
A: Once grants are approved, authorization letters are sent out with instructions on payment and reporting requirements. Depending on the nature of the funded proposal, some grants are paid out in two or more installments and some are paid out upon submission of receipts (usually for capital grants). Directors and Coordinators monitor grants, review interim and final reports, attend project-related events, and report highlights to the Advisory Committee.