Capacity building program

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Program guidelines

Deadline for application

  • Wednesday, September 18, 2024 at 4 pm 

Late or incomplete applications will not be considered.

The application must be filled and submitted through our Portal.

The application for this program will go live 2 months prior to the deadline date. Applicants are responsible to submit a complete application by the deadline date. The Cultural Funding Support Unit will not be responsible for any discrepancies or upload errors in additional information submitted after the deadline.

Contact information

Adrija Kličius
Cultural Funding Officer

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.

The City of Ottawa will provide funding to successful organizations to a maximum of $15,000.

Grant writing assistance

Cultural Funding Officers are available to help you prepare your grant application in the following ways:

  • Discuss eligibility of your activities, requirements of the program and answer any questions about the application and evaluation process.
  • Review a draft version of your application prior to the deadline. Applications in progress can be reviewed at any time up until Friday, September 1, 2023.
  • Provide peer assessment committee feedback on a previous application.

Important information for funding recipients reapplying in 2023! 

You will NOT be able to begin a new application in the portal if you have an outstanding report. Your final report must be submitted in the portal and approved by the Cultural Funding Support Unit before proceeding with a new application.  

Your final report must be submitted by Friday, September 1, 2023 so that it can be approved by the Cultural Funding Support Unit. It may take up to 2 weeks for your report to be approved. Once approved you will receive a notification.  

If you have questions about reporting, please contact your Cultural Funding Officer. 

For more information on reporting, go to Report on previous funding – Capacity Building. 


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 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
  • If applying as an incorporated not-for-profit organization, you must:
    • have a Board of Directors consisting of a minimum of 3 members 
    • at least 50% of members must reside in the Ottawa Region
  •  If applying as a collective, you must:
    •  have a minimum of 3 members living in the city of Ottawa, Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation or Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation 
    • be a group of professional artists, cultural arts workers, community connectors, elders or cultural keepers recognized by their peers 
    • have at least 50% of the collective members residing in the Ottawa region 

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 organizational initiatives focused on building:

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

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

  • Creating space and opportunities for knowledge sharing, learning, and networking that leads to engagement, collaborations, and partnerships in the community
  • Development and implementation of strategies and/or policies around Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Accessibility, Anti-racism and others
  • Developing a professional strategic plan for your organization
  • Review of an existing strategic plan in order to adopt a new approach, a new working model, adapt to a change of management, revisioning leadership and governance practices, realigning board of directors' priorities and roles with new organizational direction, etc.
  • Adapting to new technologies, increasing digitalization and online presence 
  • Website development and design (can include: the documenting and archiving of artistic/creative work, online ticketing system, membership and subscription portal, etc.)
  • Creation of a marketing plan for development of new audiences

What is not eligible

  • Projects for which the organization has already received municipal funding
  • Projects that are already part of an organization’s mandated programming and operations
  • 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 or 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
  • You must submit a final report before reapplying. If your final report for previous funding has not been submitted by the deadline date, subsequent applications to this program will not be considered.
  • City of Ottawa's 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 your request for funding. Applicants are assessed based upon their respective mandates, size and scope, and according to the criteria outlined below:


  • 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
  • Commitment to engage with local equity-seeking communities


  • 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

Funding priorities

Following the peer-assessed evaluation of submitted proposals, the Cultural funding support unit will look at prioritizing applications from the following Indigenous and equity-seeking communities:

  • Anishinabe Algonquin Nation
  • First Nations
  • Inuit
  • Métis
  • IBPOC (Indigenous, Black, People of Color)
  • People with visible and invisible disabilities
  • Non-ambulatory persons
  • D/deaf people
  • Refugees / Immigrants / Newcomers
  • People living in poverty
  • Rural residents
  • Francophones
  • Seniors / Older adults
  • Women+
  • Youth

The City of Ottawa recognizes that people identify themselves in many ways. Terms used to self-identify are continually evolving. With this understanding, the Cultural funding support unit uses terms recommended by community members through various consultations.

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 through the online application portal by 4 pm on the deadline date.

Applicants must read and abide by the Terms and conditions.

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.

If you are not awarded funding

Try again! If you do not receive funding you are encouraged to try again. The program’s limited envelope cannot fund all applicants, regardless of their merit.

Application questions and required materials

Before you begin:

  • Read the Program Guidelines and refer to them while completing the application.
  • Make sure the following is ready before applying in the application portal:
  1. Written answers to the questions below. (It is much easier to edit your responses on a word document and you can simply copy/paste your answers to the online form when ready to apply)
  2. All required material listed below.
  • Fill out and submit your application in our Portal. Applicants must answer all questions and attach all required documentation.

Application questions

  1. Mandate of your organization or collective
  2. Brief history of your organization or collective (250 words maximum)
  3. Provide a full description of the proposed project, including your objectives and desired outcomes. Note: You cannot be funded for the same project twice through City of Ottawa cultural funding programs. (750 words maximum)
  4. Provide a workplan and timeline for the project (200 words maximum)
  5. What are your organization's challenges and pressures relating to the project? (400 words maximum)
  6. What are the short-term and long-term impacts of this project on your organization? (250 words maximum)
  7. How does your organization reflect and engage equity seeking communities listed in our funding priorities? How do you ensure access for all? (250 words maximum)

Required material

  • Curriculum vitaes and bios of the leaders involved in the project
  • List of the members of your board of directors or collective, including city of residence, email address, phone number, board/committee position and area of expertise
  • List of staff
  • Completed project budget. Submit your documents in Excel format (numbers files are NOT accepted).
  • Approved financial statements
  • Support material (3 maximum). This may include quotes for professional services, strategic planning documents, images, examples of marketing materials, and so on.


Report on previous funding - Capacity building


All funding recipients are required to submit a final report detailing how they used the funding awarded to them. This report must be submitted through the online portal and approved by the Cultural funding support unit either:

  • following completion of the funded activities; or
  • twelve months after receipt of the funds; or
  • at the time of subsequent application to the program.

It may take up to 2 weeks for your report to be approved. Please keep this delay in mind when re-applying to the program. Without a final report approved by the Cultural funding support unit, you will be deemed ineligible for subsequent funding.  

All reports must be submitted through the online portal. Exception: Capacity Building reports submitted for funding received prior to the 2021 cycle.

Should you require accessibility accommodations, please contact

Report on Capacity building project funding received prior to 2021

If project funding was received from the City of Ottawa's Capacity Building Program, prior to 2021, a final report detailing how the funds were used must be submitted by email to Applicants who fail to provide a final report on previous funding will NOT be eligible to apply for subsequent City of Ottawa funding.

Your final report must be submitted by Friday, September 1, 2023 so that it can be approved by the Cultural Funding Support Unit. It may take up to 2 weeks for your report to be approved. 

Once approved you will receive a notification. If you have questions about reporting, please contact your Cultural Funding Officer

Please write to to obtain a copy of the report form.

Reporting Questions 

Interim Report (for projects that have been delayed or not yet completed) 

  1. Provide a description of the current status of the project. Include timelines and an estimated completion date. * (max 1000 words) 
  2. Provide a description of any changes to the scope of the project. (max 500 words) 
  3. Interim project budget 
  4. Upload relevant supporting documentation.

Final Report 

  1. Provide a summary of the final project, including challenges, achievements, and any changes to the original proposal (if applicable). (max 1000 words) 
  2. Provide a description of outcomes and results. (eg, benefits to your organization and the community in which you work, tangible results, ongoing impact) (max 500 words) 
  3. Final project budget 
  4. Upload relevant supporting documentation. (proof that project occurred) 

Contact information


For general information and technical issues, contact

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

Adrija Kličius
Cultural Funding Officer

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.