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Field of Interest Grants
Since 2015, we have focused our Field of Interest Grants program on funding projects that address the root causes of pressing issues, and have referred to these kinds of projects as social innovations. We believe these kinds of projects can make meaningful and lasting impacts in communities.
Over the last three years, we’ve listened to feedback from grant applicants, our volunteer expert advisors who evaluate applications, our board members, and many other stakeholders. We heard that while many people understood our funding intentions, others did not. We also heard that the language associated with social innovation was a barrier for some, as was choosing a field of interest for others.
This spring, we’re making some changes so that the purpose of our funding is clearer, and to improve the application process.
Evolving Field of Interest Grants to two new grant programs
Starting in July, Vancouver Foundation is enhancing the way we respond to community needs by evolving our current Field of Interest Grants to two new grant programs.
(1) Participatory Action Research Grants — will support research that is co-led by community members and researchers to learn more about the root causes of pressing issues impacting the health of communities.
The research must be a collaboration between community organizations and institutions with access to an ethics board, such as universities.
There will be two different grant types available under Participatory Action Research Grants, depending upon the stage of your project.
- Convene: short-term grants to help teams develop a participatory research project plan that can be submitted to funding organizations.
- Investigate: multi-year grants to help teams answer a research question, analyze their findings, and share knowledge in a way that supports the community to take action in the future.
(2) Systems Change Grants – will support projects that take action to address the root causes of pressing issues by influencing the behaviours of populations, organizations, and institutions.
There will be three different grant types available, depending upon the stage of your project.
- Develop: short-term grants to help teams generate ideas and a project plan for systems change that can be submitted to funders.
- Test: multi-year grants to help project teams test their influence on systems, and learn what works.
- Scale: multi-year grants to help project teams extend the influence of an existing systems change project to a different scale within the system.
Applications for Systems Change Grants will still be accepted from any of our previous fields of interest, and from any other charitable purpose as well.
Improving support for grant applicants
Over the coming months we will make several improvements to support grant applicants. Our new grant programs will provide clearer guidelines, more staff support, fewer documents to review, more predictable grant cycles, and a new online application process.
In the meantime, all current grantees will continue to receive funding according to their existing agreements.
What happens next
Throughout the spring we will provide further details on our website, host community workshops, and answer questions on the new grant programs.
We will add more information to our website in May, and open for applications in July 2018. We will also publish updates regarding our new grant programs, as new information becomes available.