NCF’s New Grant Portal

NCF is pleased to announce the launch of our new Granting Portal; making applying, receiving, and reporting on grants a streamlined and simple process. Through one dashboard, applicants can access all grant programs available through NCF, see archives of past grants, and have access to final reports and follow-up steps.

Beyond the simplicity for our grantees, this new portal allows our volunteer grant reviewers to access applications assigned to them with a transparent and templated process for evaluation. This ensures NCF is adhering to the highest grantmaking standards required to maintain our certification with Imagine Canada.

For all applicants, please follow these simple steps to start your application process today.


Follow this link and click on “Create New Account” to set up a username and password. In the registration process, you will be asked to provide your organization’s contact information and CRA number. This information will be used to track all your applications, approvals, and grant agreements.


Once logged in, you will have access to all available grants through NCF by clicking on the “Apply” tab at the top of your screen. The first step of the application process is completing a LOI. This process determines your eligibility to apply. The LOI does NOT replace your grant consult with JoAnne Krick; required to apply. Instead, this added step provides the needed due diligence to ensure NCF is granting to registered charities and/or qualified donees that meet our granting priorities.


After NCF approves your LOI, you will be given access through your dashboard to the full Grant Application. Click APPLY to begin. You can save your work and return to your application whenever convenient.


Within your dashboard, you will have access to all current, past and approved applications, as well as grant agreements and final reports. NCF’s new portal will make applying for grants a streamlined and straightforward process.


For further information, questions or concerns, contact JoAnne Krick, Director of Grants & Community Initiatives.

Trout Unlimited

When it comes to gauging the health of the environment, Niagara’s canary in the coal mine is the brook trout in Upper Twelve Mile Creek. 

Brookies, as their champions call them, thrive in clean, cold water, like that in Niagara’s only remaining such habitat, the Twelve Mile Creek watershed above the Niagara Escarpment. When the brookie population is healthy, that means the creek is thriving, too. 

Thanks to an $8,000 Environmental Grant from the Niagara Community Foundation, the Niagara chapter of Trout Unlimited Canada was able to give both the Twelve and the brookies within it a fin up last year. The group, dedicated to protecting freshwater ecosystems, did it through their Healthy Twelve Mile Creek and Bring Back the Brookies initiatives, which focus on reforestation to mitigate flooding and erosion in critical habitat, and on education.

Both climate change and urbanization have made the former significant issues in the Upper Twelve headwaters, located in Fonthill. That means when it rains, it pours for brook trout because surface water runoff and sediment can flow unfiltered into the creek, warming water temperatures and even smothering spawning beds.

“They’ve gone from being absolutely abundant to dwindling,” Project Co-ordinator Kerry Kennedy said about local brook trout populations.

The community foundation grant enabled Trout Unlimited to orchestrate 18 events with 280 volunteers who planted 6,000 trees, shrubs, grasses, and flowers that will slow runoff after rainfalls, keeping it out of the creek and channelling water back into the ground. The plants also create shade to keep water temperatures hospitably cool for brook trout.

Even better, the reforestation effort got people outside and working together for a common and critical goal at the height of the pandemic. 

“It was so much fun to get our hands dirty and get plants into the ground,” Kennedy said. “We’re very grateful to the Niagara Community Foundation for the funds. Everyone is asking when we can do it again.”

New Environmental Endowment Fund Opens Up New Possibilities

The Niagara Community Foundation (NCF) is honoured to announce the creation of the Dorothea Thomas Foundation, an endowment fund that will be directed exclusively to supporting environmental causes here in Niagara. With total assets valuing over $5 million, this new fund will have significant impact on Niagara’s environmental sector.

The Dorothea Thomas Foundation is a Field of Interest fund, giving NCF’s Environmental Grants Program a significant boost. Environmental grants are dispersed in the new year, and the added $5 million will allow for larger investments into the sector. Applications for NCF’s Environmental Grants Program are now open until January 17th.

“NCF has a proud history of providing grants to environmental charities here in Niagara for the past fifteen years,” says NCF executive director Bryan Rose. “However, the Dorothea Thomas Foundation will throw open the doors for new possibilities. This new fund will significantly increase our ability to support the amazing charities in our community who are on the frontlines of environmental issues here in Niagara.”

An example of the Foundation’s External Fund Manager Program, a third party investment manager – RBC Dominion Securities’ Cooper Wealth Management – will manage the assets of the Dorothea Thomas Foundation. This fund further demonstrates the trusted relationship NCF has with allied professionals across Niagara. “Transferring our assets to NCF was an easy choice for us,” shares a member of the family. “We were still able to keep our investment team and allow NCF to fulfill our philanthropic wishes. It was a win-win.” $18 million to charities working in the arts, education and community development sectors across Niagara.”

A Greener Future

When the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered schools, restaurants, and businesses, it changed the way environmental groups do their work too.

A Greener Future, awarded a $1,500 environmental grant by the Niagara Community Foundation, quickly realized that instead of using the grant as intended – to invite more people to Niagara’s “Love Your Lake” beach clean-ups – it had to tell them to stay away. So, instead of rallying Niagara citizens, the GTA-based agency, which has helped coordinate annual litter clean-ups at 13 Niagara locations since 2014, decided to conduct the 2020 beach clean-ups with lone volunteers. It still was able to make data collection a key element of the 2020 event, and reported 1,194 foam pieces, 1,915 pieces of plastic, and 692 cigarette butts collected from Niagara’s beaches. Strange items found included a fortune from a fortune cookie, a set of vampire teeth, and a New Testament Bible.

And instead of relying on volunteers to amplify the group’s message of environmental stewardship, A Greener Future’s executive director Rochelle Byrne paddled a stand-up-paddleboard from Kingston to Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Park Royal. The 430-km coastline journey called attention to plastic pollution and allowed Byrne and other staff and volunteers to pick up floating litter, continuing the organization’s mission of creating awareness of the harm caused to the environment by discarded plastic.

“If you care about Lake Ontario, picking up litter is not enough,” said volunteer Paul Whitaker. The data Love Your Lake collects helps hold producers accountable and encourages people to think about what they buy and throw away. “Clean-ups alone are not the solution. It is better to prevent litter from entering Lake Ontario than clean it up after the fact.”

For 2021, Love Your Lake intends to resume beach clean-ups with volunteers – but with personal protective equipment and safety protocols in place.