What’s really important is not what’s wrong, but what is right… No community was ever built on the needs and problems of its people. It has always been built on their gifts and capacities, and the use of the assets that are there…
—Professor John L. McKnight, Director of Community Studies, Northwestern University, Illinois
Through its Community Grants Program (CGP), the Community Foundation solicits and accepts grant applications from organizations that meet its funding guidelines. Each year, the CGP provides more than $1 million to well over 100 projects and initiatives that serve the residents of Ottawa. This typically represents in the order of 15% of the total amount of funding annually distributed through the Community Foundation to qualified donees.
The CGP funds across a broad range of needs and opportunities in Ottawa — social services, arts and culture, education, environment, health, and animal welfare. In making its grant decisions, the Foundation relies on the expert advice of a Grants Committee, which is made up of volunteers who are knowledgeable about local issues and activities.
The funds available to the Foundation to apply at its own discretion are limited. To support more community grants and to further donor engagement, we selectively share approved applications with donors based on their interests. They can then choose to support these through their individual funds at the CFO. This approach has proved very successful. Over the past three years, donors have picked up more than 50% of the total grants recommended by the Grants Committee.