For many years the Kitchener Waterloo Community Foundation (KWCF) has been helping “connect people who care to causes that matter.” By investing donations into a permanent endowment fund, income is generated that then gets distributed through grants and impact investments that support charitable causes within the community.
Continuing their work to support organizations within the community, KWCF has announced they will be awarding $230,000 to 10 social-purpose organizations within the region. These grants – part of the government of Canada’s Investment Readiness Program (IRP) – will help the winning organizations create meaningful jobs, strengthen the charitable and non-profit sector and address social challenges to ensure things can be built back after COVID-19.
This funding is the first of two rounds of grants being given out by KWCF, who leads the initiative alongside their partners including community foundations – Cambridge & North Dumfries Community Foundation, Centre Wellington Community Foundation, Guelph Community Foundation, and Stratford Perth Community Foundation – and local organizations that drive social change – Communitech, GreenHouse, Lyle S. Hallman Foundation, and the Region of Waterloo.
“This money is intended to help those organizations contribute to solving pressing challenges, whether that be social challenges, cultural challenges, or environmental challenges across Canada. So, in 2018, the government announced that they were launching an $805-million social finance fund; $50 million of that $805 million was to be used for readiness, and that $50 million is what’s funded this investment readiness program,” said Elizabeth Heald, executive director of KWCF. “So, we received about $430,000 from that $50 million [and] once it gets split across the country. And so, the intent of that money is that it helps social purpose organizations get ready for a social impact investment in the future.”
Heald says the organizations that won a grant from the first round are all “really trying to solve pressing local issues” and that is one of the big things for which they look when going through applications. She says they want a good mix of organizations that are both in the early stages and mature.
The next round of applications is going to get underway within the next month for organizations looking to apply. From September 8 to October 9, applications can be submitted to KWCF by social purpose organizations that want to benefit from a grant through the IRP. The announcement on who wins will be made at a later date.
Heald says those who want to apply should be aware that these grants are to help organizations better prepare to receive an impact investment in the future. She says some who applied in the past did not show a need for an impact investment in the future and wants those who will be applying for the second round to understand and prepare.
Some who applied in the past did not qualify because they did not present an obvious need for an impact investment in the future, she said. Thinking what the investment might be down the road will really help organizations.