In recent months, the Covid-19 pandemic has placed unprecedented strain on the non-profit and charitable sectors in many industries. In response to this, government funders have issued new grants and contribution programs to support the sector and keep it sustainable. In this article, we will discuss the diverse trends in granting, and a forecast of the season ahead, to prepare and educate you, moving forwards.

Capacity building is hot 

One of the most ideal ways to support community organizations – while adhering to social distancing protocols – is capacity-building grants. This funding is focused on internal learning, and the development of systems to support growth. Many organizations have hired consultants, attended online training sessions, and improved their knowledge and expertise through various avenues. This makes the sector even more resilient and able to bounce back vigorously when we are able to return to regularly scheduled programming.

Operational support is back 

We are often asked by clients, “Do you have any operating grants?” The answer to this, is that in recent months the governments have been moving away from this type of dedicated support, towards time-based project and program funding. However, in a surprise move, the Province of Ontario just announced a $105 Million investment through the Community Building Fund. This is unbelievably exciting and will provide much-needed support for arts, culture, and heritage organizations, which have been devastated and negatively impacted by lockdown restrictions. Organizations can expect more of these types of grants in the coming month, as governments attempt to stimulate the economy.

Project or program funding is restricted 

Some categories of funding will remain restricted, specifically until governments ease controls and allow populations to openly frolic once again. This means that many institutional funders, including foundations, corporations, and governments, are shying away from funding programs and projects. The caveat of online programming is that while online programming is currently being supported extensively, in-person programming is not. This is demanding for organizations such as recreational groups, music programs, and many youth-serving groups, which rely on teamwork and comradery to engage their participants.

As we move into the summer, we will experience eased restrictions, and (hopefully) a gradual return to in-person programming. Funders will likely support this transition, with a return to funding in-person activities both indoors and outdoors. We anticipate that grants such as the Ontario Trillium Foundation’s Seed Grow and Capital will return, along with traditional granting from steadfast funders across foundations, corporations, and government.

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