Applications Open for Vancouver Foundation’s Systems Change Grants (Canada)
The Vancouver Foundation is seeking applications for its Systems Change Grants to support projects that take action to address the root causes of pressing social, environmental, or cultural issues by influencing the behaviors of populations, organizations, and institutions. Systems change projects tackle the root causes of issues by disrupting the ways that systems work – sometimes this means challenging the way things have worked for generations.
Systems Change Grants fund charitable projects in and across any sector. In addition, some of the funding is to specific sectors: social services, children and youth services, health, vocational or technical training, education, arts and culture, environment, and animal welfare.
Types of Grants
Develop Grants (Up to $20,000, for up to one year): Develop grants are short-term grants to help teams to unpack a complex issue and to identify the systemic behaviors that have created that issue, or that are holding the issue in place. Develop grants help teams to generate ideas for a project plan to influence or change these behaviors that can then be submitted to funders in the future. They offer up to $10,000 towards the project’s process, and up to an additional $10,000 to support the community’s participation in the process. Develop grants are a one-stage application.
Test Grants (Up to $100,000 per year, for up to three years): Test grants are multi-year grants to help project teams test their influence on systems and to learn what leads to change. Test grants are a two-stage application. Applicants begin their application by completing the first stage of questions, and if successful, are then invited to complete the remaining questions.
Scale Grants (Up to $100,000 per year, for up to three years): Scale grants are multi-year grants to help project teams extend the influence of an existing systems change project to a different scale within the system. Scale grants are a two-stage application. Applicants begin their application by completing the first stage of questions, and if successful, are then invited to complete the remaining questions.
The Systems Change Grants Program funds projects that:
are led by, or are in the care and control of, qualified donees listed by the Canada Revenue Agency
collaborate within and across sectors by breaking down the silos between health and social services, education, employment, environment, or arts and culture, among others
are bold, creative, and ambitious in their approach to systems change
are socially innovative, such as by grounding a project in cultural knowledge and practices, by doing something new or using existing resources in a new way, by doing something that has worked elsewhere, or by trying something again under different conditions
have the potential to create lasting change for communities across British Columbia Systems Change grants fund charitable projects in and across any sector.
Systems Change grants don’t fund
projects that focus exclusively on providing services or programs to a group or community, without also aiming to influence change at a systems-level (e.g., community kitchens, peer navigators/mentorships)
projects that take place primarily outside of BC
an organization’s core operational expenses (including its cost to fundraise), unless the systems change work is its core operations
project expenses that have been incurred prior to the application date or that we
feel should be covered by other funding sources
event sponsorships (unless part of a broader systems change project)
bridge funding, debt retirement, reserves, or mortgage pay-downs
endowment matching grants.
Tips for A Successful Grant Application
Complete the eligibility quiz: It will help you to assess whether your organization is eligible to apply to the Vancouver Foundation and whether your project is likely to be funded.
Read through the Application Guide section before you start: Reading through the Application Guide will help you to choose which grant type you’re ready to apply for, and to help prepare you to answer the questions we ask you in their application form. It may also help you get a sense of the amount of time the application is likely to take, and the type of information you’ll need to have ready.
Talk to one of our Grant Managers: Their Grant Managers are available to help you think through your proposal. You can contact them to talk through your idea, to help understand how your project might fit within the different grant types, or to arrange for them to meet with your project team.
Be sure you’re applying to the right program and grant type: Review the At a glance table for an overview of the different grant types. If you’re not sure which grant type is right for you, then please contact one of their Grant Managers.
Paint a clear picture of your project: Make sure your systems change work is the focus of your narrative. An application that describes a systems change project that will also provide mentoring support to youth is a far more compelling proposal than an application that describes a youth mentoring program that will also try to influence systems change.
For more information, visit https://www.vancouverfoundation.ca/grants/systems-change-grants