Try something new or find a better way. Seed grants support the research, development, and testing of new ideas and different approaches.
No upcoming deadlines
Maximum 12 months
Amount awarded (per year)
Help new ideas take root
Apply for a Seed grant to help you learn something new to drive positive change in your community. Your project should focus on what and how you will learn, rather than aiming to achieve a specific, measurable goal.
- Find new or better ways of doing things to have more impact
- Test or pilot a new or unproven approach to prove its potential
- Test new ideas or concepts to learn from the results
- Respond to emerging issues in a community
- Try out innovative approaches where the results are unknown
- Explore the feasibility of new or unproven ideas or approaches
Plan your application
Seed grants support projects at the idea stage. A Seed grant can support your organization to make an impact in your community by learning something new to help drive change. OTF receives a lot of applications, so it's is vital to ensure your organization’s project is a good fit with what we fund.
Take a look at our step-by-step guide to giving your Seed grant application the best chance of succeeding. This is not a guide to filling out your application. It's all about ensuring your project aligns with the purpose of Seed grants.Learn more about submitting a good Seed grant application
Discover if your organization and project are eligible for funding.
Please ensure your organization meets all of the following criteria:
- Adheres to OTF’s Anti-Discrimination Policy, Eligibility Policy, and Financial Need and Health Applicants Policy
- Provides appropriate financial statements based on your organization’s total revenues and fiscal year end date, according to the financial statement requirements
- If there's a surplus/deficit, an explanation is submitted
- Board of Directors meets OTF requirements
- OTF has no concerns with your organization's OTF granting history, for all past applications, either approved or declined
Please ensure your project meets all of the following criteria:
- The project information is complete and includes all of the attachments
- If applicable, a Collaborative agreement is in place and the agreement is submitted with the application
- The project strongly aligns with your chosen Grant Result (all grants) and metric (Grow and Capital grants only)
- The project complies with OTF policies
- The project aligns with the Grow, Seed, or Capital Investment Stream
Board of directors requirements
All organizations, with the exception of Municipalities, First Nations, Métis, or Inuit communities, need to have a minimum of three board members with active terms at the time of the grant application deadline.
- Your organization is required to have a minimum of three board members with active terms. Their terms need to be active as of the application deadline date.
- At least 50% of the board must maintain an arm’s length relationship to each other. This means that board members and executives are not married or related to each other and do not work as business partners or are in another relationship where interests may be compromised.
Financial statement requirements
- Organizations must upload their most recent completed financial statements based on their fiscal year-end date and total revenues.
- Additional information pertaining to a surplus or deficit will need to be uploaded along with the financial statements, if applicable.
- Organizations must have at least one year of financial history from their incorporation or charitable registration date based on their organization's fiscal year-end date.
- Financial statements must be Board approved (draft statements are not accepted).
- Financial statements must be completed within 12 months of the organization’s most recent fiscal year-end.
While all organizations must meet OTF’s Financial Statement requirements, Municipalities, First Nations, Métis or Inuit communities are not required to submit financial statements with their grant application.Review all financial statement requirements
Our policy requirements define eligibility for OTF funding and outline exclusions. Funds are granted to eligible applicants delivering eligible project activities.View our policies
We recognize and support collaborative arrangements that will achieve positive community impact.Read more about collaborative agreements
OTF's application process involves various steps for organizations.
Visit the grant application deadline page. Once the online application portal opens, you can begin the application.
OTF staff will first review your application as well as information available on your organization’s website and social media accounts. We verify that your organization is eligible to apply, that your application is complete, and we review your project using the project assessment criteria. Our experienced staff and local volunteers score your application against the project assessment criteria.
Local Grant Review Team volunteers make funding recommendations. OTF’s Board of Directors approve these recommendations. Learn more about how we make application decisions.
The final list of approved grants is sent to Ontario Members of Provincial Parliament (MPPs) to give them the opportunity to congratulate successful recipients directly, when possible. OTF then notifies all applicants of the final decision.
Successful applicants take part in a mandatory orientation session with their OTF Program Manager.
Successful applicants are sent an email with their OTF Contract.
- Grants are activated once OTF contracts are signed and returned electronically.
- Next, in order for OTF to release the first grant payment through electronic funds transfer (EFT), the organization’s banking information needs to be confirmed in OTF’s online portal.
- Reporting & monitoring: In addition to touchpoints as needed, grantees submit a final report when the project is completed. This covers the achievement of the project and learnings.
- Completion: After OTF staff approve a final report, the grant hold-back funds are released and the grant is closed.
- Grantee compliance: A random sample of grants is subject to a Grantee Compliance Audit. Grants can be audited for compliance at any point within the grant's life, or after the grant has been closed.
Choose a project type
Seed grants aim to drive positive change in your community by helping you explore new ideas and concepts, build evidence that something works, or develop or pilot an idea or approach. Four types of projects qualify for a Seed grant. Choose the one that most closely aligns with your project.
Choose this project type if you want to bring people together to discuss an issue, as a first step in coming up with workable solutions. Depending on your aims and the stage of the discussion, what you learn could include:
- Discovering who is working on an issue, who is joining the conversation, and who might be left out
- Developing some common goals or strategies
- Coming up with some next steps
Choose this project type if you want to explore whether or not a new idea or approach could work for your community. Consider how you plan to share what you learn, for example through a research paper, report, website, or presentation.
Choose this project type if you want to learn and understand more about a specific topic as part of your research into a new idea or concept.
Consider how you plan to share what you learn, for example through a research paper, report, website, or presentation.
Choose this project type if you want to either develop a pilot project (a plan to test an idea) or, if you already have a plan, run a pilot project.
Develop a pilot project
This type of project focuses on preparing to test an idea. It can include some or all of the following:
- Researching what the pilot project will look like
- Designing a mock-up and collecting feedback
- Trying different ideas
- Adapting your design and plans
- Sharing what you learn to help others
Pilot a new idea
This type of project focuses on understanding if a new idea or program is worth expanding. It can involve:
- Looking for different or better outcomes than something you (or someone else) tried before
- Assessing the potential for change you hope to see in your participants or community
- Designing an evaluation that includes measuring outcomes so that you can learn if, and to what degree, a positive change occurred
Choose a Grant Result
OTF has outlined specific Seed Grant Results it will fund. Therefore, the results you hope to achieve with your project need to fit one of these Grant Results. The Grant Result you choose identifies the impact your project will have. As you fill out your application, you should link back and align your answers to the Grant Result your project will achieve.
What is the connection between Grant Results and the Investment Strategy?
The Action Areas are broad areas that OTF invests in. For each Action Area, the Priority Outcome is the long-term change your project will contribute to achieving for Ontarians. The Grant Result is what your project will specifically accomplish to support the Priority Outcome.
Successful Seed grant applications :
- Have a clear alignment with the chosen Grant Result
- Need research and study
- Are new and unproven
- Have unknown outcomes
- Provide a clear learning plan
Active People: Fostering more active lifestyles
Priority Outcome 1: Higher quality programming & infrastructure to support physical activities
- Trained and certified coaches, officials and volunteers
- Programs are safe, inclusive, fair, and age- or ability-appropriate
Priority Outcome 2: More people become active
- Ontarians participate in an active lifestyle
Connected People: Building inclusive and engaged communities together
Priority Outcome 1: Diverse groups work better together to shape community
- People have a say in shaping the services and programs that matter to them
- People who are marginalized take on leadership roles in their community
- Diverse groups work together and improve community life
Priority Outcome 2: Reduced social isolation
- People who are isolated have connections in their community
Green People: Encouraging people to support a healthy and sustainable environment
Priority Outcome 1: More ecosystems are protected and restored
- People participate in ecosystem conservation and restoration efforts
- Conservation and restoration efforts are better planned and more sustainable
Priority Outcome 2: People reduce their impact on the environment
- People connect with the environment and understand their impact on it
- People and resource users take deliberate action to benefit the environment
- Mechanisms are developed to promote responsible resource stewardship
Inspired People: Enriching people’s lives through arts, culture and heritage
Priority Outcome 1: Better quality programming and infrastructure to experience culture, heritage and the arts
Skills and knowledge are transferred to the next generation of artistic leaders
Priority Outcome 2: More people connect with culture, heritage and the arts
- Access to arts-based learning opportunities and compelling artistic, cultural and heritage experiences
- People are engaged in community-based arts creation
- Preservation and animation of cultural heritage
Promising Young People: Supporting the positive development of children and youth
Priority Outcome 1: More children and youth have emotional and social strengths
- Parents, caregivers and adult allies have the skills to support children and youth who are facing barriers
- Children and youth who are facing barriers develop strong emotional and social skills
Priority Outcome 2: More youth are meaningfully engaged in the community
- Youth facing barriers volunteer and are in leadership roles
- Youth are involved in creating solutions for challenges facing their community
Prosperous People: Enhancing people’s economic wellbeing
Priority Outcome 1: Increased economic stability
- People who are economically vulnerable are able to meet their basic needs
- People who are economically vulnerable have access to community services that enhance financial stability
Priority Outcome 2: Increased economic opportunity
- People have the skills and knowledge to achieve greater financial independence
- People become and stay employed
- People become entrepreneurs
Eligible expensesSeed grant expenses cover eligible activities you need to undertake to achieve your Grant Result through your outlined project. If your project has a large capital equipment component, it may be better suited to a Capital grant.
Costs that can be funded by a Seed grant include:
Direct Personnel Costs: Salaries, mandatory employment-related costs and employee benefits for staff positions funded specifically to carry out the project.
Direct Non-Personnel Costs: All non-personnel costs directly related to project delivery.
- Purchased Services: Services purchased including the services of consultants/contractors/subject experts specifically relating to the delivery of the project.
- Workshops, Meetings, Convening: Meeting/convening costs incurred relating to the delivery of the project.
- Supplies and Materials: Items purchased specifically for use in the delivery of the project.
- Equipment: Equipment purchased specifically for use in the delivery of the project. New construction, renovations and repairs are not eligible.
- Travel: Travel costs incurred by employees, volunteers and participants, that are directly related to delivering the project.
- Evaluation: Up to a maximum of 10% of the total OTF Grant Budget can be used to evaluate the funded project.
- Overhead and Administration Costs: OTF will support overhead and administrative costs directly associated with the funded project, to a maximum of 15% of the total OTF Grant Budget.
All costs funded by OTF must be eligible and directly attributable to the project.
Please note that 10% of the awarded funding will be held back, to be paid upon satisfactory review of the final report.
The project outlined in your Seed application is scored by experienced OTF staff and local volunteers based on three areas of the application: Strategy, Process, and People.
Ensure that the need for your project, how you plan to meet that need, and your end goals align with one Priority Outcome and one associated Grant result.
Scoring weight: 50%
Key areas of your application to focus on:
• Identify an overall plan designed to achieve your desired learning
• Clearly describe your project's purpose
• Clearly outline the need, opportunity, and target audience for the project
• Align your project need and description with your selected Grant Result
• Ensure photos or diagrams, if applicable, demonstrate funding needs
Create a learning plan that includes the processes and steps needed to make it a success and achieve your identified learning.
Scoring weight: 25%
Key areas of your application to focus on:
• Align project activities with the project purpose
• Provide a realistic timeline to carry out the activities
• Provide an appropriate budget to carry out the activities and learning plan
• Ensure that the contributions from collaborative and/or partnering organization(s) support the project
Ensure that people and organizations will learn from your project.
Scoring weight: 25%
Key areas of your application to focus on:
• Clearly state what you expect to learn
• Provide a plan for how to use and/or share the learning
• Ensure the learning plan is appropriate for the project purpose