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.

St. Catharines Library Astronomy Kits

Books aren’t the only mind-growing things on loan at the St. Catharines Public Library these days. Thanks to a mini-grant from the Niagara Community Foundation, library patrons can explore the universe beyond the printed page, by checking out a backyard telescope.

Adding the amateur astronomy kits to the library’s collection was a way for the library to offer patrons safe, outdoor ways to learn, said collections librarian Jake Anderson. The telescopes have become “one of the most successful items” in the library’s non-traditional collection, which includes things like board games, fishing rods, or outdoor sports equipment. The idea came when Anderson and a colleague were brainstorming additional ways to serve patrons that would be pandemic-safe, family friendly, and both get people into the library and get them outside. “It’s the perfect educational tool,” he said. 

The library started by purchasing three telescopes “but they exploded in popularity,” Anderson said. As the hold list grew and grew, the library bought seven more, and they still can’t keep up with demand. At any given time, there are 60 to 100 holds – people who are waiting to be notified a telescope, with instructions and amateur astronomy book, are available to them on a one-week loan. Other libraries are copying the idea and there is no sign the telescopes are waning in popularity.

The Niagara Community Foundation grant, which helped cover the cost of the first three telescopes, was an important catalyst to the success of the initiative. Subsequent purchases have been funded from the library’s budget, but the grant allowed Anderson to prove the telescopes’ viability. “The grant was absolutely crucial for us to be able to pilot them,” he said. Without the starter funding, “I don’t think we would have tried the program.”

Niagara Community Foundation Funds Local Projects

After an incredibly challenging year, charities and good causes across Niagara will have a little help to continue to provide essential and necessary services to Niagara, thanks to the first series of the 2021 grants from the Niagara Community Foundation.

The Foundation is awarding a total of $222,525 through the following grants this spring:

  • Twenty-six Community Grants, totaling $199,500;
  • Including four grants from the Niagara Casinos Endowment Fund totaling $36,900 providing food supports;
  • Thirteen summer camp grants, totaling $19,275 supporting 232 kids in financial need; and
  • Five mini grants, totaling $3,750.

“As an organization, we are aware that the need in our community and in the charitable sector is still great and we are doing our part to answer this need with funds from these grants,” says Bryan Rose, the Foundation’s Executive Director. “We continue to be grateful for the generosity of our fund holders and donors who make it possible for us to support the extremely important work being done by our charity partners. They continue to serve the members of our community needing a helping hand during these tumultuous times.”

This wave of grants includes a number of projects relating to COVID-19 adaptation and recovery. Whether it is expanding food rooms to allow for social distancing (Community Care West Niagara) or increasing the number of front-line staff to address the growing concerns of children’s mental health (Pathstone), the primary focus of these grants has been helping charities in Niagara adapt to the new realities resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Niagara Community Foundation will be awarding its second round of grants this fall, including the fall Mini Grants and David S. Howes Grants. It is also participating as the secretariat for the second round of the federal Canada Healthy Community Initiatives funding. Second-round applications are due June 25th and can be found at https://communityfoundations.ca/initiatives/chci/

Created in 2000, the Niagara Community Foundation has raised nearly $65 million and has granted in excess of $18 million to charities working in the arts, heritage, environment, social services, health, education and community development sectors.


Welland Public Library

A public library is a treasure trove of helpful information, and the Welland Public Library is no exception. It’s also now a place you can learn how to create a garden and grow your own food – including “borrowing” the seeds to get you started.

A $500 mini-grant from the Niagara Community Foundation allowed the Welland library to invest in creating its seed library – a place where residents can borrow seeds to plant in their own yards or community gardens. The idea is that gardeners save seeds from the plants they grow and return them at the end of the growing season to be loaned again next year. Gardeners learn a new skill, participate in healthy, outdoor activities, and produce healthy, home-grown food.

The 2020 shutdown forced by the pandemic meant the library was unable to offer its intended programs to teach the basics of planting, tending and seed-saving. It also meant that fewer would-be gardeners were reached, and only curbside pick-up of seed – late in the growing season – was feasible.

But Conor Echlin, Welland Public Library’s manager of customer experience, said some gardeners did return to replenish seed and the seed library is still well-stocked, with the 2021 growing season offering another chance. The library has partnered with the Welland Horticultural Society, and the educational component will go online, giving the library the opportunity to share green-thumb knowledge virtually. Cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, kale, spinach, and more are just waiting to burst forth goodness in Welland’s gardens.