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Community funding

Community funding

Community Funding Program

The Community Funding Program invests in non-profit community social service agencies that offer services for residents facing the greatest needs and barriers.

Community Funding Framework

In 2019, the City of Ottawa approved a new, updated Community Funding Framework with a new vision, mission, mandate, funding priorities and funding streams.

NOTE: due the evolving COVID-19 situation and the focus of both agencies and the City on responding to it, the implementation of the new Community Funding Framework is postponed to 2022. The current Funding Framework will remain in place for one additional year in 2021, and the allocation processes for all the funding streams under the new Framework will begin anew in 2021, starting with the Sustainability Fund (renewable, 5-year) in January 2021.


Ottawa has a strong and sustainable non-profit social services sector working collaboratively to ensure an equitable and socially inclusive city for all residents.


Community Funding improves community well-being by investing financial and capacity building resources in the non-profit social services sector to address the root causes of poverty and increase equitable access to services for residents facing the greatest needs and barriers in our community.


Community Funding invests in a sustainable social infrastructure of community non-profit social services that:

  • provides equitable access to programs and services;
  • responds to community needs;
  • demonstrates measurable outcomes and financial accountability;
  • collaborates to build community capacity and development; and
  • aligns with City of Ottawa strategic priorities

Guiding Principles

Guiding Principles for community funding are:

  • Equitable and Inclusive: Applying an intersectional Equity and Inclusion lens in all decisions and steps.
  • Strengths-Based: Focusing and building on the strengths of individuals, communities and organizations
  • Forward Looking: Prioritizing forward-looking approaches such as prevention, promotion, and awareness building
  • Systems Focused: Recognize residents’ lived experiences and structural issues as interrelated and work to improve both
  • Collaborative: Prioritize collaborative approaches to improving residents’ lived experiences and addressing social issues

Priority Groups

  • Francophone: Persons with French as their first official language spoken and persons who understand French but can no longer conduct a conversation in that language. This definition was adopted by the Ontario government in 2009.

  • Immigrants/Newcomers: Immigrants are defined as those who landed in Canada in the last nine years, while newcomer includes those who landed in Canada in the last five years.

  • Indigenous: Persons who identify as First Nations, Métis or Inuk (Inuit) and/or those who are Registered or Treaty Indians and/or those who have membership in a First Nation or Indian band. Aboriginal peoples of Canada are defined in the Constitution Act, 1982, section 35 (2) as including the Indian, Inuit and Métis peoples of Canada.

  • LGBTQI2+: Individuals who identify as belonging to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex, or Two-Spirit communities.

  • Older Adults: The City of Ottawa uses the term “older adult” to refer to a stage of life rather than a specific age-based category of people (though this would certainly include individuals in their fifties and up). On the other hand, the term “senior” is used when exclusively referring to people 65 years of age or over.

  • People with disabilities: The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disability Act defines disabilities as including ‘vision disabilities, deafness or being hard of hearing, intellectual or developmental, learning, mental health issues, cardiac or diabetic conditions, balance, cognitive, etc.

  • People living in poverty: Poverty is deprivation of the resources, choices, and power necessary for civic, cultural, economic, political and social participation in society.

  • Racialized: Persons who are ascribed a non-white racial, ethnic, and/or cultural identity because of the colour of their skin and who experience racism, discrimination and/or stigmatization as a result of this ascription.

  • Rural: Residents of Wards 5, 19, 20 and 21 as identified by the City of Ottawa.

  • Women: Persons who identify with the female gender.

  • Youth: Residents between 13 and 29 years of age.

Funding Priorities

  1. Poverty Reduction: Poverty is deprivation of the resources, choices, and power necessary for civic, cultural, economic, political and social participation in society. Poverty reduction involves both addressing the root causes and alleviating the effects of poverty in the community.
  2. Community Development: Community development is an inclusive process whereby community members become engaged, educated and able to generate and implement collective solutions to shared concerns.
  3. Social Infrastructure: Social infrastructure refers to facilities, assets, and services that help residents and communities meet their social needs, maximize their potential for development and enhance community resilience and wellbeing.

Funding Streams

  1. Sustainability Fund: 5-year operational and program funding (renewable).
    The purpose of the Sustainability Fund is to maintain a strong social infrastructure and sustainable community non-profit social sector that ensures equitable provision of services for residents facing the greatest barriers/challenges.
  2. Community Fund: 1-year and 3-year project funding
    The purpose of the Community Fund is to build the capacity of the non-profit social services sector to respond to unmet, complex and/or emerging community needs and pressures.
  3. Emerging and Emergency Needs Fund: one-time funding (including capital)
    The purpose of the Emerging and Emergency Needs Fund is to respond to emerging community needs and emergency or unforeseen organizational and capital needs.

More details on the Community Funding Framework can be found here:

Civic Events Funding - on hold until further notice

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic impact on our community partners and the feasibility of hosting civic celebrations under evolving conditions, funding is on hold until further notice.

Civic Events Funding invite local not-for-profit organizations, such as community groups and associations to apply for up to $3,000 in funding. This funding is used to deliver family-friendly events in local Ottawa communities and neighbourhoods. Events should:

  • Promote neighbours meeting neighbours in their local community
  • Include many activities, family entertainment and attractions
  • Appeal to residents in a specific neighbourhood, district or ward
  • Target a variety of age groups and interests
  • Develop a spirit of unity by welcoming all community members

Contact for further information.

Social Services Relief Fund - Closed

The City of Ottawa is inviting funding applications from established, local non-profit agencies that are providing essential services to clients and can have the biggest impact through providing services and supports to priority populations during the COVID-19 crisis and recovery. 

This new round of Social Services Relief Fund (SSRF) ($2.5M) is available to non-profit, charitable organizations delivering essential social services to assist them with the extraordinary costs associated with their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Priority for this funding is for essential services and programs: 

  • Responding to access to basic needs, mental wellbeing, and organizational capacity,
  • that are in direct response to COVID-19, and
  • need to be sustained until the end of 2021.

The documents below provide information on eligibility criteria for applicant agencies, eligible uses of the funding, funding priorities, and the allocation process. 

Application Deadline: March 30th, 2021, 11:59 p.m.

Any questions or comments should be directed in writing at

Sustainability fund - Closed

Sustainability fund purpose

The purpose of the Sustainability Fund is to maintain a strong social infrastructure and a sustainable community non-profit social services sector that ensures equitable provision of services for residents facing the greatest barriers and challenges. Both core operational and program expenses are eligible for funding.

Funding Term

  • 5 years (renewable)


The Sustainability Fund has 7 priority service areas for funding:

  1. Community Hubs
  2. Poverty Reduction
  3. Food Security
  4. Mental Well-Being
  5. Social Inclusion
  6. Equitable Systems and Structures
  7. Corporate Initiatives
    1. Community Development Framework
    2. Community Garden Allocation Fund
    3. Ottawa Youth Engagement Committee / Youth Engagement with City of Ottawa
    4. Snow Go Program

Organizations can apply for both core operations and program funding under these priority service areas.

If you have any questions regarding the Sustainability Fund please contact:

Community Development & Funding Branch
Community and Social Service Department 

Have questions about Community Funding?

Social Development and Funding Unit
Community and Social Services Department
Tel: 613-580-2424, ext. 24377

One-time Non-Renewable Community Project Funding - on hold until further notice

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on our community partners and services, and the resulting evolving conditions, this funding is on hold until further notice.

Program description

City of Ottawa One-Time Non-Renewable Project Funding supports time-limited or pilot projects that address either specified outlined priorities, or new and/or emerging needs in the community.

The focus of the funding is aligned to priorities included in the City of Ottawa Strategic Plan and the City’s Equity and Inclusion Lens. Equity groups include: racialized people; Aboriginal people; women; people with disabilities; older adults; people who identify as gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, trans, two-spirit and queer (LGBTQ+) community; people living in poverty; youth; immigrants; francophones; and people living in rural communities.

Eligibility of applicants

Community Project Funding is limited to community based, non-profit organizations that:

  • Are at least one of the following:
    • An incorporated non-profit organization
    • A registered charity
    • Sponsored by an incorporated non-profit organization or a registered charity
  • Address the appropriate priorities, as defined in the application and based on the selected Funding Stream
  • Operate in a non-discriminatory manner, as set out by the Ontario Human Rights Code
  • Are governed by a democratically elected Board of Directors or Steering Committee (demonstrated through Annual General Meeting minutes)
  • Are in good financial standing with the City of Ottawa
  • Are located in and serve the residents of Ottawa
  • Have been in existence for more than two years OR are sponsored by an organization that has been in existence for more than five years

Ineligible projects and expenses

Please see the application for a full listing of ineligible projects and expenses.

Applicants currently receiving City of Ottawa’s Community and Social Services, Renewable Community Funding will not be eligible for the One-time Non-Renewable Community Project Funding.

How funding decisions are made

One-Time Non-Renewable Community Project Funding applications will be assessed through an allocation committee process. Eligible projects will be evaluated based on their capacity to:

  • Respond to the needs of a diverse community
  • Address gaps in services
  • Respond to an emerging community need
  • Foster and leverage partnerships
  • Be viable and present a realistic project budget
  • Identify clear anticipated outcomes and a plan to monitor and evaluate progress to achieve outcomes

For more information, email the Community Funding Unit, Community and Social Service Department,City of Ottawa.

Major capital funding - Closed

Funding Guidelines

The Major Capital Funding Program is an initiative to implement major capital improvements and additions to facilities related to Community Health Resource Centres (CHRCs) on a cost-sharing basis between the City and community partners. The project may relate to an asset that is owned by the City, or owned and operated by a community partner (CHRCs) who delivers service on behalf of the City or assists the City in the delivery of programs and services. The funding program applies to major capital projects for new facilities, renovations and expansions. It will only apply to fixed assets. It will not fund other components such as furniture, equipment, feasibility studies, fundraising studies, soil testing and architect fees. 

Deadline: Due to unforeseen circumstances, Major Capital Funding will launch at a later date in 2020 - Timelines and details to follow

Program Objectives

  • To develop capital projects that respond to priority needs as identified through Departmental and Council planning documents 
  • To support community initiatives in developing and improving facilities which serve the community
  • To develop cost effective capital projects which minimize City contributions and leverage funding from other sources