Fair, Transparent and Accountable Processes

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Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) aims to build trust through fair, transparent and accountable processes.

From organization registration through to a decision, we want you to know how we work and what you can expect when applying for an OTF grant.

All applications are reviewed by teams of OTF volunteers from across the province. Supported by professional and experienced staff, these volunteers bring to the decision-making process a knowledge of local needs and a wide range of expertise.

Right-sized application processes:

  • Application questions and length tailored by stream
  • Deadline-to-decision turnaround times are approximately 16 weeks for Seed and Capital applications and 19 weeks for Grow applications
  • One deadline each year for the Seed, Capital & Grow streams

Fair and accountable assessment processes:

  • Review by local volunteers and experienced staff
  • Score against assessment criteria specific to each stream
  • Compare of like-to-like applications i.e. Seed applications are compared with other Seed applications
  • Applications are first reviewed by our Program Managers to ensure they fit with the selected investment stream and priority outcome. Volunteer Grant Review Team (GRT) members assigned to the file then each score the application independently, according to set criteria for each granting stream.
  • Files are ranked according to the average of those scores. At the Grant Review Team meeting, the GRT discusses the ranking and, as a group, recommends a list of applications to be approved by the OTF Board of Directors. 

Transparent decision-making processes

  • Application questions (Seed, Grow and Capital), assessment criteria (Seed, Grow and Capital) and OTF policies can be viewed at any time
  • All applicants are notified of the final decision
  • If you’re not funded, we’ll tell you why

How do we work? OTF processes from start to finish (Seed, Capital and Grow Streams)

Applying for a Grant

Think about what you want to do and the type of funding you will need. Select and complete the appropriate application (Seed, Capital or Grow) based on your project and funding needs. Each stream has a specific application deadline date.

  • Applications questions are tailored to the chosen granting stream (Seed, Capital or Grow)
  • Grow applications require the completion of a workbook section
  • You will receive an email confirmation that your application has been received
  • You can see and monitor your application status online
  • OTF provides outreach and application support to clarify OTF's Investment Strategy. Organizations are encouraged to review OTF’s investment Strategy, application questions and assessment criteria, and contact OTF with questions regarding the grant application process. Learn more about how to apply for a grant.

We receive far more applications than we are able to fund. We are committed to fair, transparent and right-sized processes for selecting proposals for funding.

Application Review and Assessment

Each application is reviewed by OTF’s experienced staff and a team of OTF volunteers representing local communities.

  • Assessment criteria is tailored by stream
  • Applications are assessed against similar applications, i.e. Seed against other Seed applications, Grow against Grow, etc.
  • We consider your project’s strategy (opportunity and need), processes (activities and planned execution) and people (to carry out and learn from the endeavour)
  • OTF staff and volunteers assess each application and rank according to total score
  • Grow applications are also assessed for an overall understanding of the project plan and identified risks (workbook)
  • Please note OTF will not review full or partial applications in draft form, including brief summary statements.

Selection and Notification Processes

OTF volunteers meet to discuss and recommend the approval or decline of each application. Applications are approved by the Board of Directors.

  • Applicants are notified by OTF staff of the final decision. All OTF decisions are final. There is no appeal process at both registration and application stages. 
  • A list of approved grants is sent to Ontario Members of Provincial Parliament (MPPs) to provide an opportunity to congratulate recipients, when possible
  • Applicants receive a confirmation email of the final decision
  • Those projects receiving funding receive a Grant Contract by email

Activating your grant

Funded applicants must read and agree to all terms and conditions laid out the Grant Contract sent by OTF.

  • All grantees must participate in an orientation session (webinar) to learn about their new partnership with OTF
  • Contracts require an electronic signature and are then returned to OTF
  • Upon receipt of the signed contract, the grant becomes active. Payments will be processed according to the payment schedule in the contract.

Reporting on your grant

All grantees report on the achievement of their grant results and metrics as well as learnings from their projects.

  • Seed and Capital grantees complete and submit a final report when their project is completed
  • Grow grantees complete and submit annual progress reports and a final report when their project is completed
  • All grantees report on the achievements of their project
  • Once final reports are reviewed by OTF as satisfactory, grant hold-back funds may be released and the grant is then closed

Engaged Monitoring with Grow grants

OTF staff are in regular contact with Grow grantees throughout the life of the grant.

  • Frequent check-ins provide opportunities to discuss the progress of the grant

Contact our Support Centre at otf@otf.ca or 1800.263.2887

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