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The Arts Fund focuses primarily on "making art happen" in Waterloo Region through the funding of local projects, but does not provide operating grants or grants in support of major capital building ventures. (Definition: Operating expenses are those costs incurred in carrying out an artist's or organization's day-to-day activities, and would be incurred regardless of a special project.)
The Arts Fund welcomes applications from individuals, collectives and not-for-profit organizations with projects that will “make art happen” in Waterloo Region. We support all arts disciplines, including performing arts (theatre, music, dance), visual arts, film/video/media, literature and interdisciplinary and community arts.
Refer to Application Guidelines for more information about grant criteria.
To see examples of projects which receive an Arts Fund grant, refer to Press Releases.
The Arts Fund has not set any maximum or minimum limits on its grants. You can apply for the amount you need for your project but due to limited funds available, applicants may not be awarded the full amount of their grant request. The average grant approved is $5000.
Grant amounts have ranged between $200 and $22,000, with the average grant awarded as $5,000. We encourage applicants to ensure their budget reflects the needs of their project and is as detailed as possible. The Arts Fund encourages applicants to seek multiple sources of funding to maximize the impact of the project. In addition, the Arts Fund has a limited annual grant budget and, as such, may not be able to approve an applicant’s full funding request.
To see examples of the grant amounts awarded, you can refer to Press Releases.
By "meaningful" we mean a grant that actually makes a difference to, and has an impact on an individual’s or organization’s project. It might mean the difference between a project happening, or not; or having a significant impact on the quality of the project or the range of people who benefit from it.
The Arts Fund recognizes that applicants may want help in understanding the submission and evaluation process, and has addressed this by offering the following opportunities:
Arts Fund policy excludes Board members from providing any direct assistance with grant applications.
Yes, there are other funding sources available to local artists.
Information about their respective sites can be found at our Links page.
From the Application Guidelines:
The Arts Fund does not grant funds for professional or personal expenses that are ongoing. Your funded project expenses must be directly related to your project and may not include any of the following:
(Definition: Operating expenses are those costs incurred in carrying out an artist's or organization's day-to-day activities, and would be incurred regardless of a special project)
If you are uncertain whether an expense is allowed under your Grant Agreement Contact Us.
The Arts Fund reviews applications and provides grants twice a year, in the Spring and the Fall. See Upcoming Deadlines for specific timelines and deadlines.
All applicants can submit an online application prior to the deadline for each cycle (Spring and Fall).
All applicants will receive written notification after all applications have been reviewed, approximately two (2) months after the application deadline date.
The Arts Fund’s independent 14-member volunteer Board of Directors evaluates all applications. Board members have a broad range of involvement and experience in, and knowledge of the arts throughout the Region. They represent a range of disciplines and are arts practitioners and supporters, directors of arts community groups and organizations, and arts educators. The Board may also seek outside expert advice from time to time (Artist-at-Large Advisors).
The Arts Fund Board bases its decision-making using a peer review model. Each application is carefully and thoroughly reviewed to ensure it meets the grant criteria and the benchmarks for:
Individuals, collectives and not-for-profit organizations practicing in any arts discipline, and living and/or working primarily in Waterloo Region, are eligible to apply for an Arts Fund grant.
Applicants must be in good standing with the Arts Fund with no current or active projects/grants. Applicants whose Final Report is still outstanding, or who have other grant-related issues, may not be eligible to apply for a new grant. If you are a past or current Arts Fund grantee and need clarification about your eligibility status, please contact the Arts Fund directly at email@example.com.
Grant eligibility ciriteria and benchmarks are comprehensively described in the Application Guidelines.
Each and every round presents a different combination of opportunity and challenge. A very high proportion of the applications are for worthwhile projects and provoke much discussion and debate followed by a vote. The Arts Fund has historically received more applications for funds than the funds available to the Board, and is able to fulfill only a fraction of the requests. Many applications do not receive funding, even those that meet the criteria, largely due to the applications outnumbering the limited funds.
Regional Council allocates annual funding on a per capita basis to support the creation and presentation of innovative new work, to “make art happen” in Waterloo Region. If applicants are not successful in a given round, they are encouraged to apply for projects in future rounds.
The Arts Fund welcomes applications for projects from emerging artists from across the Region of Waterloo. However, only adults - defined in the provincial Age of Majority and Accountability Act as 18 and older - are able to enter into a legal agreement.
To be eligible to sign an Arts Fund grant application form and/or receive funding, you must be an adult. If you are a minor, age 17 or younger, your parent or legal guardian (your guarantor) must sign the application form and any other documents related to the application. If you are approved for a grant, your guarantor must sign the grant agreement; must receive the funds in his or her name; and is responsible for ensuring that the terms of the agreement are fulfilled.
We define an "unincorporated project, group or collective" as artists who have joined forces but who have not gone through the process of becoming a legally incorporated entity.
We define an "incorporated non-profit" arts organization as a legally incorporated not-for-profit entity, managed by a volunteer board and the majority of its members and/or clients must live or work in the Region of Waterloo. Typically, this group is registered with both Provincial and Federal government bodies.
In the application you will be required to identify yourself or your project as one of the following three:
If you are unsure how to identify yourself or your group, see Contact Us.
The Arts Fund has not set any limits on the number of times an applicant may apply for Arts Fund support. However, there are factors the Board considers during application review deliberations:
The Arts Fund Board reviews applications twice annually – in the Spring and Fall. See Upcoming Deadlines for specific dates. Granting decisions are normally made and communicated to all applicants in late June and late November.
Board policy does not permit retroactive funding. Grants may not be applied to activity started ahead of the application deadline and not before the granting decision date(s) or will be deemed ineligible. Because projects must happen within 12 months of receiving a grant, timing the application to the correct round ensures that the deadline criterion is met.
For example, if your project is planned for early June, which is before the Board makes its final Spring decisions, apply to the Fall round of the previous year.
If your project is planned for early November, which is before the Board makes its final Fall decisions, apply to the Spring round of the same year.
If you are still unsure about when you should submit an application, see Contact Us.
The Arts Fund board does not provide comment or feedback about any grant application evaluations and/or funding decisions. Applicants are encouraged to seek advice from our volunteer Peer-to-Peer coaches in advance of submitting an application.
Successful applicants will receive an emailed notification letter from the Board confirming the grant via the online application portal. Instructions will be relayed in the letter about how to process payment online. Please read the letter carefully as it contains important information about the required steps to faclitate payment.
Once the Grant Agreement and the Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) form for direct deposit have been completed, signed and submitted to the Arts Fund, 90% of the approved grant amount will be released to the grantee. An email from our Finance team will advise the grantee that the deposit has been made.
Projects must be completed within 12 months of receiving notification of a grant; the timing is aligned with the date on the letter.
Grants awarded during the Spring round should be completed by June 30th of the next calendar year. Grants awarded during the Fall round should be completed by December 31st of the next calendar year.
Please see Upcoming Deadlines for specific dates.
If you are unable to complete your project by the Project Completion deadline, you are required to seek permission for more time by sending a written Request for Extension to the Chair of the Arts Fund. This can be sent via email: Contact Us.
In your written letter, provide specific details about the delays and/or challenges that you are encountering and a specific estimated date for completion. The Board will review your request and respond to you in writing with its decision and direction.
If a Request for Extension is not submitted, the Board expects that the project will be completed on time and that the Final Report will also be received by the due date indicated in the Grant Agreement.
If you are unsure about how to proceed, see Contact Us.
You need to communicate with the Board as soon as possible if your project changes significantly from the original approved application.
Each circumstance is unique and the Board will need details about the proposed changes to permit or disallow continuing with the funded project. If the overall nature of the project might change due to new opportunities, which will improve upon the original idea, or obstacles will make the project unworkable, the Board needs to be alerted.
In all cases, the Board needs to approve any changes before the grant recipient may proceed with the project.
Depending on the Board recommendation, funds awarded may have to be repaid to the Arts Fund. These conditions are contained in the Grant Agreement.
For information specific to your file, refer to your copy of the Grant Agreement or Contact Us.
If your project cannot be completed for any reason, you need to communicate this information to the Board immediately. See Contact Us.
Arrangements will need to be made to repay the grant to the Arts Fund. In some cases, an applicant may re-apply if and when conditions permit.
There are several reasons why a grant recipient is required to submit a Final Report:
Final Reports are due two (2) months after completion of the project, whether completed by the original Project end-date or after you have formally requested and received an extension. Final Report forms are available from Downloads.
A courtesy reminder to submit is sent to grantees in advance of the Final Report due date. If you have requested a Project Extension, the due date for submitting a Final Report is also extended but a reminder email is not sent.
Final Reports are reviewed and approved by a Committee of the Arts Fund board. There may be a lagtime between submission and review by the Committee of several weeks since the Committee reviews submitted Final Reports on a staggered timetable.
If there are any questions or outstanding issues with a Final Report, communications will be sent to the grantee. Once the submitted Final Report is reviewed and approved, arrangements will be made to pay the 10% balance of the grant amount. If your banking information has changed since you received the first installment of the grant, you will be required to submit and new Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) form - available on our Downloads page.
Grant recipients are fully responsible for complying with their Grant Agreement. As a courtesy, the Arts Fund sends a Final Report reminder email prior to the due date, requesting the Final Report.
You will not be eligible to apply again to the Arts Fund until the overdue Final Report is received, reviewed and approved.
These are the steps taken if a Final Report is overdue:
When a grant is awarded and the Grant Agreement is signed and returned to the Arts Fund, the recipient receives 90% of the total amount. The remaining 10% is held back and released only after the Final Report Review Committee has reviewed and approved the Final Report.
The Arts Fund does not issue T-4 forms for grant money issued. Consider contacting the Canada Revenue Agency or an accountant to determine how to report this income on your tax return.
It is the grantee's responsibility to retain their copy of the Grant Agreement and other related documents for the purpose of filing tax returns and/or organizational financial audits.
The Arts Fund Board is managed by Directors who are active in the arts community in a variety of roles. Accepting a position on the Board is a commitment of several years. If individuals or their organizations were excluded from the application process, they would be penalized for serving on behalf of others and denied equal opportunity and access to funding that makes a difference.
As a safeguard, and since the inception of the Arts Fund, there has been a Conflict of Interest Policy in force for Directors. Applications from Board members undergo the same scrutiny that all applications receive.
Following a review of policies and procedures mid-way through its second decade, the Board strengthened its commitment to the Conflict of Interest policy. If a Board member submits an application, he/she then declares a conflict for that round and does not review any applications at all. The Director does not participate in any granting evaluations or decision making for as long as the application is being assessed.