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Capacity building program

Program Guidelines

Deadline for application

September 2021

Applications must be submitted by email, by 4 pm on the deadline date to

Late and incomplete applications will not be considered. 

Program objectives

  • To assist Ottawa’s local arts, heritage, festival and fair organizations build organizational capacity and sustainability at key milestones in their development.
  • To support all cultural communities in Ottawa build organizational capacity.

Funding priorities

In addition to the evaluated merit of submitted proposals, the CFSU will look at prioritizing applications from the following equity seeking communities:

  • Algonquin Anishinabe Host Nation
  • First Nations
  • Inuit
  • Métis
  • Francophones
  • Immigrants / Newcomers
  • People living in poverty
  • People of colour
  • People with visible and invisible disabilities
  • Deaf People
  • Rural residents
  • Seniors / Older adults
  • Women+
  • Youth


Who is eligible

Local not-for-profit organizations, including professional collectives, with an arts, heritage, festival, or fair mandate, including organizations representing and/or celebrating First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities and equity-seeking communities that: 

  • Serve their local community
  • Have a Board of Directors consisting of a minimum of 3 members, at least 50% of members must reside in the Ottawa Region
  • Have their office/mailing address and the majority of their programming and event(s) within the limits of the city of Ottawa, Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation or Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation
  • Have the ability to receive payment in the organization’s name

Who is NOT eligible

  • For-profit organizations
  • Government agencies
  • Organizations whose activities come under the jurisdiction of other levels or departments of government, including school boards, hospitals, universities, social services, military programs, business improvement associations.
  • Political parties
  • Organizations with accumulated surpluses greater than 100% of total revenue (excluding capital assets)

What is eligible

Eligible capacity building projects must be new initiatives focused on one of the following objectives:

  • Building community engagement and outreach capacity
  • Building fundraising capacity
  • Building leadership and governance capacity
  • Building marketing and promotional capacity
  • Building overall strategic and/or organizational capacity

Examples of eligible capacity building projects include (but are not limited to)

  • Creating a networking platform that increases access to cultural opportunities for all
  • Establishing a donor database
  • Professional development (workshops, seminars, conferences, training, board retreat, etc.)
  • Developing a professional strategic plan for your organization
  • Planning a community-wide conference on accessibility needs
  • Seeking professional expertise from a member of the Host Nation
  • Promoting access to Algonquin language retention programs

What is NOT eligible

  • Projects for which the organization has already received municipal funding
  • Minor and major capital projects, purchase of equipment, and/or feasibility studies related to capital projects. (Please consult the Cultural Facilities Funding Program Guidelines for funding related to these types of projects.)
  • Projects that are completed before the application deadline date
  • Funding for direct deficit reduction


  • The City will provide funding to successful projects to a maximum of $15,000
  • The City will not fund more than 90% of the total cost of the project; the project budget must include sources of revenue other than the City’s contribution
  • Applicants with accumulated surpluses greater than 100% of total revenue (excluding capital assets) are ineligible to apply
  • Applicants that receive operating funding from the City of Ottawa cannot apply for activities that are included in their ongoing programming/operations
  • Applicants may only submit one project application at a time within this program
  • Applicants cannot receive more than one funding allocation for the same activity
  • Returning applicants must submit a final report before reapplying. if your final report for previous funding has not been submitted and approved by the deadline date, subsequent applications to this program will not be considered
  • Recreation, Cultural and Facility Services Department staff may not hold a key position within an organization requesting cultural funding from the City. Exception: where staff participation has been approved as one of the duties of their position. City of Ottawa staff are required to act in compliance with the City of Ottawa Employee Code of Conduct and all applicable laws and regulations. For further inquiries, please contact your Cultural Funding Officer.

Meeting all eligibility requirements does not guarantee funding

Assessment criteria

Peer assessors will use the following assessment criteria to evaluate requests for funding:


  • Clear alignment of project with program objectives
  • Strength of leadership; suitability of human resources (i.e. staff, consultants, specialists) engaged in the project


  • Project’s impact on applicant’s operations
  • Potential for the project to meet applicant’s current needs and increase applicant’s effectiveness
  • Contribution of the project towards applicant’s long-term sustainability
  • Impact on the broader local cultural community the applicant represents


  • Applicant’s ability to implement the project
  • Applicant’s ability to monitor project outcomes and results
  • Effective work plan
  • Appropriate fiscal management and realistic budgeting
  • Need for financial support

Application process

Applicants must read and abide by the Information for applicants.

Applicants must complete the application form and attach all required documentation. Applications must be submitted by email, by 4 pm on the deadline date to

Your Cultural Funding Officer can provide additional information regarding this program, your organization’s eligibility, and the application process.

Availability of City of Ottawa funding is subject to the approval of the annual City budget by Ottawa City Council.

Application Forms & Contact Information

2020 Application Forms

Please read the program guidelines above before completing your application.

Please note: You must download the form onto your computer and open it with Adobe Acrobat Reader to complete. Any information added to the form through a web browser will be lost when the form is downloaded, printed, or saved.

Activity Report on Previous Funding

If funding was previously received from the City of Ottawa, an activity report detailing how the funds were used must be submitted at the completion of the project, or attached with a subsequent application. Applicants who fail to provide an activity report on previous funding will NOT be eligible to apply for subsequent City of Ottawa funding (exception: 2020 Recovery Fund).

Please note: You must download the form onto your computer and open it with Adobe Acrobat Reader to complete. Any information added to the form through a web browser will be lost when the form is downloaded, printed, or saved.

Contact information 

For general information and technical issues, contact

For specific information on your application, or to discuss eligibility, contact:

Marlène Barré
Cultural Funding Officer

How to submit support material

Support material is an essential part of your application and plays a vital role in the jury’s assessment. Include examples that relate most closely to the proposed project. 

Support material must be submitted via links. You may NOT include any support material as attachments to your email submission. You can submit your support material one of three ways:

  1. Submitting support material through a file hosting platform, such as Google Drive, Onedrive or DropBox: Create one folder of your application that includes all supporting documents required: artistic samples, CVs, board list, financials, and promotional material. You must grant us permission to edit and download the files so that we may retrieve them. Include the link and description of your items on the support material pages in the application.
  2. Submitting support material using a file transfer service, such as WeTransfer: If you do not want to upload your support material to a file hosting platform, you can send your application documents using WeTransfer. Create one folder for your application on your desktop. Include all supporting documents required, including artistic examples, CVs, board list, financials, and promotional material. Insert as the recipient. WeTransfer will allow you to select this folder from your computer and send it directly to us, regardless of the size.
  3. Submitting audio and video files through YouTube, Vimeo, soundcloud, bandcamp, etc. links. Include the links to your audio or video recordings on the support material page in the application.

For all submissions:

  • Include your name on each file and folder.  
  • Make sure we have a description of what we are looking at on the material support page.
  • Adhere to the program’s limits on submitting support material. If the supporting documents provided exceed program application limits, assessors will be instructed to restrict their review time.
  • The total time allotted to review all audio and video files in jury cannot exceed 7 minutes per application. Please select your recordings with this time constraint in mind. 
  • Accepted file formats:
    • Text-based documents: PDF
    • Images: .jpg or .png
    • Audio files: .mp3
    • Video files: .mpeg, .mp4 or .wmv
  • All files must be compatible with Windows OS. QuickTime files are not accepted (.mov or .aiff) .
  • Mailed submissions are not accepted. 
  • Test all electronic materials to ensure readability and quality.
  • Please note that the City of Ottawa is not liable for files saved to any of the above mentioned platforms.

Direct deposit information

Please be advised that the City of Ottawa’s Financial Services Unit is moving to the use of an automated Direct Deposit system solely in providing all payments, including Cultural Funding allocations.

If you have not already registered your organization’s banking information, please complete the Direct Deposit Form. PDF opens in a new tab or window and mail it with a physical original voided cheque or a physical original encoded deposit slip, or a physical original letter from the vendor's bank to the following address:

City of Ottawa
Accounts Payable, PO Box 3426 Stn D
Ottawa ON K1P 0B9

No photocopies will be accepted. Questions may be directed to Accounts Payable at 613.580.2424 extension 27888 or by email to mailbox.