The following agencies provide funding to environmental organizations or for environmental projects. For info on criteria and application procedures, contact them directly.
For a comprehensive, searchable national database of funders, visit
Environment Canada's Green Source Funding Database.
Projects Funded: Community Renewal, Environmental Sustainability, Cooperative Development
Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
Participant Funding Program
Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency administers a Participant Funding Program which supports individuals and non-profit organizations interested in participating in environmental assessments.
Projects Funded: Projects with an environmental/education focus, alleviation of poverty, community building, and economic mobility.
Eco-Action, Environment Canada
Projects Funded: to eligible groups, organizations and individuals for local action projects that protect or conserve our natural environment and to create employment opportunities for young scientists and post-secondary graduates seeking hands-on training.
Projects Funded: Projects dealing with environmental scientific research, various social services, food and clothing distribution, mental health support and shelters.
The Environmental Damages Fund (EDF) helps ensure polluters take responsibility for their actions. It gives courts a way to guarantee tat the money from pollution penalties and settlements is directly invested to repair the actual harm done by the pollution.
Projects Funded: This program reduces the risk involved with hiring a young professional, while also allowing talented graduates to get a head start in their environmental careers.
Evergreens’ Common Grounds program – in partnership with Walmart Canada, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, The Home depot Canada, and Unilver Canada – provide grants to community groups doing environmental stewardship work across Canada.
Projects Funded: Environment is one of the granting categories, priority sectors will be identified by the Fund Committee each year based on employee feedback. Preference will be given to capital or specific project grants, rather than operating support.
Projects Funded: The Fund will support projects of activities having concrete, demonstrable results to reduce pollutants, and in particular, nutrient loads entering Lake Winnipeg.
Proposals for alternative food systems related projects that will be used to support community projects, students, and networking opportunities in Manitoba are being accepted up to 2013.
Projects Funded: Flexible, but projects must serve the community.
Projects Funded: Focus on education regarding environment/energy.
Projects Funded: Projects that do not replace or duplicate government or forest industry activities, such as Tree Planting projects, Forest Education Projects, Innovative Forest projects.
Mountain Equipment Coop - National Fund
Projects Funded: Projects that protect outdoor environmental areas of significant recreation and wilderness value to MEC members. Mandate is to educate MEC members and the general public on important wilderness issues and the importance of protecting our natural environment.
RBC Blue Water Project Leadership grants are directed to organizations that are leaders in providing programs in North America and other countries where RBC does business. The focus for these grants are:
1) Watershed protection: Programs and projects that focus on watershed awareness, community-based watershed stewardship, protection and restoration of sensitive natural areas, or sustainable water use and conservation.
2) Access to clean drinking water: Programs and projects that focus on making sure communities have access to clean, safe drinking water, when and where it is needed.
Science Horizons Program
A Federal youth program to help employers top up salaries and provide mentorship to non-employed / recently graduated youth (under 30). The work must be science related (typically but not restricted to field work) in an Environment Canada related area.
Applications must be sent to appropriate region - please visit www.ec.gc.ca/sci_hor
Projects Funded: Projects that enhance/foster a better understanding of Manitoba's natural resources. Projects dealing with sustainable development/environmental issues at the local level, which encourage public awareness.
Sustainable Development Innovations Fund - Manitoba Conservation
Projects Funded: Projects with environmental innovation and sustainable development issues that are environmentally and ecologically sound. Special recognition for youth involvement.
TD Friends of the Environment
Projects Funded: Projects that preserve Canadian environment. Projects that assist youths in understanding and participating in Environmental activities within local communities (also enhances cooperation among environmental organizations).
Projects Funded: Primary - capital grants, Secondary - pilot or demonstration projects.
Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation
Projects Funded: Projects dealing with fresh water resource issues (protection of ground water and reducing demand), involving Canadians in global affairs (Priority is given to Canadian youth engagement).
Waste Reduction and Pollution Prevention (WRAPP) Fund
Projects Funded: Organic Waste Management & Composing, Construction & Demolition (C & D) Waste Management, Pollution Prevention, Model Integrated Waste Management System Development & Planning
1) Community Grants
Projects Funded: Community projects in the areas of community service, education, health, arts and culture, heritage, recreation and the environment.
Projects Funded: Grants of up to $5,000 to charitable organizations taking concrete steps toward more sustainable operations.
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(Source: Environment Canada Green Source Funding Guide)
Before you Go Knocking on Doors for Funding
You identified an environmental problem that you would like to solve. Working with a group of individuals, you studied every facet of the problem and considered several solutions. A number of questions came up (What are the targeted objectives? What are the phases that lie ahead and the schedule to be followed? How much will all this cost? Who will have to play a role? What licenses, permits and/or authorizations are required? Is the project technically and financially feasible? What will be its environmental repercussions?). Having answered these questions, you are ready to act: you have a project.
Selling a Project
- First of all, paint a good portrait of your own organization and identify its assets: its objectives; its usual areas of activity; its influence; the beneficiaries of its activities; and the members of your project implementation team. An examination of your project in the light of the resources at your disposal within your organization will make it easier for you to identify what type of assistance you require.
- After completing the preliminary resource needs identification, prepare a list of potential partners. Assistance can take the form of money, human resources (paid or volunteer), in-kind donations in the form of space, equipment, and professional services. The list is a long one. You can judge for yourself:
- Your organization: its members, volunteers and workers; take advantage of their time and skills, and of the funding activities, which they may organize (benefit nights, raffles, sales, etc.);
- Local social agencies and recreational associations (service clubs, guides and scouts, hunting associations, fishing associations, riparian residents' associations, committees) sometimes have objectives that intersect with yours, and your project could be of interest to them;
- Municipalities (elected officials, employees, regional counties and various committees) can be a source of funding, as well as technical expertise, administrative support, and the loan of equipment and space. Some municipalities receive financial assistance for environmental projects whose delivery they assign either in whole or in part to local organizations;
- Local and regional businesses are also potential partners that can share their knowledge with you and give you discounts, if they see any benefit to it. Some chambers of commerce provide management consulting services and certain large companies have sponsorship budgets;
- The media may agree to help you in your communication activities, either by producing reports and articles or by offering you discount prices on information dissemination;
- Professional or union associations may wish to participate in your project;
- Academic institutions (schools, colleges, universities, school boards, students, teachers and unions) are an important source of assistance: student internships and research work, as well as the loan of personnel, space and equipment should be examined;
- The residents of your locality, once they are aware of your project, may be a source of considerable project support;
- Financial institutions interested in helping to improve their environment distribute financial or technical assistance locally;
- Potential revenues from the project (sale of recyclable materials, compost, documents, etc.);
- Federal and provincial governments programs;
- Grants from organizations in the private sector and from non-profit organizations.
- Check to ensure that your project's objectives are compatible with those of the selected programs and organizations. Each organization has its own specific areas of interest, territory, eligibility criteria and mode of operation. It will be necessary for you to take appropriate steps to obtain relevant information. Most have leaflets and forms; some can only be reached by mail, while others can be contacted in person.
- Once you have gathered all of your information and have selected a number of sources from which you hope to receive a positive response, develop your strategy so as to maximize your chance of success and avoid wasting time. Draft a document reflecting the seriousness of your project and demonstrating your organization's ability to see it through to completion. Test your project by meeting with officials of several organizations in order to verify their interest, obtain their opinion and revise your approach if necessary.
- You now know on exactly which doors to knock. The first step consists in selling your project in your community in order to find allies and obtain support from your community. A case that is well presented improves your chances. Clarity and conciseness are required. If your project is complex, you may wish to include a one-page summary with your application. Government programs use forms, but this is less frequent in the case of foundations and community organizations. In most cases, the following information is required:
- Description of the organization: charter, history, accomplishments, membership, latest financial statement;
- Project: problem to be solved, description of the environment, proposed solutions, location and context of implementation, targeted objectives, planned works, work plan and schedule, budget, follow-ups, responsible officials;
- Communications strategy: target audience, message, planned communication methods;
- Funding: requested funding, other sponsors and their contributions;
- Support: letters of support and of confirmation of funding;
- Miscellaneous: appendices if necessary, including maps, plans and photographs;
- Charitable registration number: essential for foundations.
- Terms and conditions: in all cases, stated requirements and closing dates must be respected.
- Response time varies from one program to the next, but it is generally at least three months. Have patience, because these organizations receive numerous applications.
- If you receive a positive reply (and a cheque!), send charity donation receipts to those who require them. In addition, a letter of thanks is always appreciated.
- In other cases, particularly when governments are involved, you will have to sign a contribution agreement before you can start your project and receive allocated funds.
- Submit whatever project progress reports are required and draft a final report. All of these formalities are time-consuming, but they will enable you to keep better control over the conduct of your project and help you to reach your objectives. It is vital that you complete your project. And who knows…you may have another project to sell in the near future!
Additional Tips on Applying for Funding
Do Your Homework
- Know your donor organisation.
- Know the key contact in the organisation.
- Know the program criteria.
- Always call, if possible and set up a meeting if you can.
Know What You Are Asking For
- Why are you approaching this particular founder?
- Are you asking for an in-kind donation, cash or both? How much?
- What are you offering the founder? An opportunity to support their community, a sponsorship opportunity or a partnership opportunity?
- How can you distinguish yourself? How can you show that you and your project are unique and creative?
- Build relationships; start off small.
- Recognise your supporters. Remember to say thank you.
- Maintain relationships.
Prepare a Strong Proposal
- Show how the work you do directly benefits the community.
- Show how the project will live on after you have finished.
- Be concise, clear and concrete. Have a well thought out proposal.
- Know and include the name and contact information of the current contact person.
- Include a cover letter.
- Make sure there are no typos or other mistakes.
- Do not include a lot of unnecessary information.
- Follow-up with a phone call; if you did not get funding, ask why?
- Find out what funding programs are out there. New programs are created every year; others are discontinued.
- Read newspapers; find out about new companies and ideas.