Niagara has a strong and vibrant charitable sector and it is our privilege to connect donors to causes and charities to resources, all across our region. Throughout our 21+ years serving the nonprofit sector here in Niagara, we have gained a wealth of knowledge and a breadth of relationships in every aspect of the field- the arts, heritage, environment, health, seniors, children, animal welfare, recreation, relief of poverty, education, and the list goes on and on. It is this e sector that is turning our intention into impact, because of their own intentionality in creating strategic and guided programming and services. We are proud of the role we play as a community foundation, helping to ensure Niagara’s charitable sector remains strong and vibrant for generations to come.
As a leader in philanthropy and Niagara’s go-to “charity of charities,” we are dedicated to continually improving our skills as grant makers and community experts. NCF acts as the conduit, connecting donors to causes and communities to resources and we do this in a variety of ways:
NCF provides both donor directed grants and discretionary grants to eligible charities, both here in Niagara and across Canada. Donor directed grants are distributed directly to registered charities, requiring no application process. In contrast, our discretionary grants programs do require charities to fill out an application and complete our grant review process.LEARN MORE about grants 2021 Grantee List
We offer charitable organizations the opportunity to start an endowment fund with NCF, creating an income earning fund that will support your organization for generations to come.LEARN MORE about charitable funds
Centre of Excellence
We know that proper governance can be a challenge for many charities, especially smaller organizations. The Centre of Excellence in Non-profit Governance is a six part program that offers assistance to organizations to help identify challenges they are facing with respect to their organization’s governance and management and to provide expertise and resources to help charities to improve their practices in these areas.LEARN MORE about the centre of excellence
NCF’s granting programs are the wheels that turn our intention into impact. With a finger on the pulse of Niagara, our grants team has designed each program to nurture and build on Niagara’s strengths and assets, while addressing Niagara’s needs and opportunities for growth. NCF grant programs are data driven, using the Living in Niagara Report as a core document for understanding the needs and opportunities in Niagara.
We believe that communities are strengthened by initiatives which increase the capacity of organizations and individuals and respond to challenges and opportunities; develop local leadership, promote self-reliance, emphasize prevention and mobilize civic participation and resources. NCF connects donors to causes and communities to resources and this happens through our grants programs.
Each of our grants programs is put through a rigorous process to ensure that the investments of our donors are being directed to meet the needs of the charities across Niagara. Each application for our discretionary grants program needs to meet the minimum requirements of our Governance Practices Checklist, and is evaluated by a volunteer Grants Review Committee. Made up of a diverse group of volunteers, each application is evaluated to ensure funds are, meeting the greatest needs in Niagara, are making a visible impact in our communities, and are being fairly dispersed across the Region. A list of recommendations are sent to our board of directors for final approval and the grants are disbursed, turning intention into impact.
For initiatives, such as federal partnership funding, click here.
Environmental Grants Program
Our Environmental Grants Program focuses on bringing more partners together in our community to create a collaborative approach to meeting the environmental challenges we are facing.
David S. Howes Fund Grants Program
The David S. Howes Grants Program provides grants to eligible organizations providing services in Niagara. Grants from this Fund will support post-secondary, facilities, research, health-care services, education and humanitarian issues.
Mini Grants Program
The Mini-Grants Program provides $750 grants to eligible organizations for projects that address the Foundation’s granting priorities. This program provides a time-sensitive, streamlined and responsive process for smaller projects. This grant is not suitable for projects that have a budget exceeding $2500.
Summer Camp Grants Program
Our Summer Camp program will help Niagara children in financial need participate in a variety of camping and recreation experiences. An opportunity to go to summer camp or be involved in a neighbourhood activity not only helps our children develop new skills, make new friends and raise their self esteem, it also gives them the chance to get their hands dirty and have lots of fun.
Community Grants Program
Our Community Grants Program focuses on finding ways to help individuals, families, organizations and communities prosper. While Niagara is facing many challenges, we also have an opportunity to seek new and sustainable ways of addressing community issues and creating a more collaborative approach to meeting the challenges facing organizations and our community.
Strategic Initiatives Grants Program
The Niagara Community Foundation is interested in receiving Letters of Intent requesting support from the Foundation towards projects having a broad community impact which address the Foundation’s grant making priorities. The Foundation may consider a multi-year commitment for these projects.
Charitable Organization Funds
Charitable funds provide nonprofit organizations the opportunity to open an income earning endowment fund that will support your organization in perpetuity. Starting a Charitable Fund with NCF is a great choice for organizations who want an easy and flexible way to begin a fund without having to do the tedious work of creating their own foundation. Whether you have received a legacy gift from one of your donors or want to begin with a modest investment that will build overtime, opening a Charitable Endowment Fund is a straightforward way to support your organization for generations to come.
Here’s some FAQ to help you decide if a Charitable Endowment Fund is a good fit for you.
There is no legal definition, but the commonly accepted meaning for 'endowment' is a fund which is kept in perpetuity (forever) to provide interest and dividend earnings for the benefit of a charitable cause. Each year, income earned on the organization's fund is available to be used by the charity or it can be reinvested in the capital.
Want to know more?
We would be happy to discuss starting a charitable endowment fund further with you. To find out more, or to get started, contact Bryan Rose, our Executive Director.
Centre of Excellence Governance Program
We know that proper governance can be a challenge for many charities, especially smaller organizations. This is why we created “the Centre of Excellence in Non-profit Governance” or COE. This six part program offers assistance to organizations to help identify challenges they are facing with respect to their organization’s governance, and management, and to provide expertise and resources to help charities improve their practices in these areas.
There are 6 sections to the COE, some of which are delivered by the Foundation and some in partnership with Niagara Connects through the Niagara Knowledge Exchange (NKE) tool.
This program is offered to assist organizations to identify challenges they are facing with respect to their organization’s governance and management and to provide expertise and resources to help charities to improve their practices in these areas. With this program, charities complete our Governance Gap Analysis tool and use the results of the analysis to put together a work plan to address the identified governance gaps. What is critical is that the Board Chair/President and the organization’s senior staff leadership (ex. CEO, ED, senior staff member) work on this initiative together.
This program is offered to assist organizations to identify challenges they are facing with respect to their organization’s governance and management and to provide expertise and resources to help charities to improve their practices in these areas. With this program, charities complete our Governance Gap Analysis tool and use the results of the analysis to put together a work plan to address the identified governance gaps.
The Governance Gap Analysis Tool covers five areas:
- Board governance – leadership, oversight, policies and processes
- Financial accountability and transparency
- Fundraising – leading practices and donor relationships
- Board-Staff relationship – policies, staff recruitment, performance management, professional development
- Volunteer management – policies, procedures, practices and provides expertise and resources to help charities improve their performance.
Once a charity completes the checklist, successful applicants will receive 20 hours of coaching by a qualified GCP Consultant. The Consultant will design a unique work plan to meet your organization’s needs, and provide facilitation and resources to support your Board of Directors and Senior Staff. The critical piece to this program is buy-in from the Board Chair/President and the organization’s senior staff leadership (ex. CEO, ED, senior staff member). This is essential to make this program a success.
To find out more about our GCP Consultants click here.
For more information about the Centre of Excellence Governance Program, or to apply for funding, contact JoAnne Krick, Director of Grants & Community Initiatives.