Applications are now open for grants of up to $7,500 for resident-led climate action projects in Neighbourhood Improvement Areas!

Eligible groups must connect with the local Neighbourhood Planning Table to discuss their project ideas before filling out the online application. Applications are open September 1, 2019 to October 31, 2019.

Apply Now

Program Overview

Neighbourhood Climate Action Grants [NCAG] aim to increase awareness and engagement on climate action at the local level by funding resident-led projects, activities and events that:

For a detailed program overview, please see below. Use this worksheet to assist you in preparing to discuss your idea with your Neighbourhood Planning Table. If recommended by your Neighbourhood Planning Table, complete the online application before 11:59 p.m. on October 31, 2019.

 

The City defines climate action as actions that address both the co-benefits of a healthy, thriving, and equitable city, as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our city. The major sources of greenhouse gas [GHG] emissions in Toronto are from buildings, waste, and transportation. Examples of climate action are listed below in the Eligible Projects section.

Co-Benefits of Climate Action

Achieving our emission reduction targets will require transformational changes in how we live, work, commute, and build. TransformTO identifies the following added benefits (called ‘co-benefits’) of addressing climate change in Toronto:

  • Advancing social equity
  • Protecting low income residents
  • Improving affordability, especially for vulnerable populations
  • Supporting poverty reduction
  • Enhancing and strengthening the local economy
  • Maintaining and creating good local jobs
  • Improving public health
  • Creating resilient communities and infrastructure

Eligible Groups

  • Resident-led groups
  • Community groups including youth and school-based groups, service clubs and parent councils;
  • All groups must have at least three or more residents of an NIA who make up the group

Important Note: You must partner with a sponsoring organization to act as a trustee. There is more information below about the trustee partnership. Your Neighbourhood Planning Table will be able to assist you in finding a trustee.

Ineligible Groups

Groups not eligible for funding include:

  • individuals (must be part of a group with at least three members)
  • not-for-profit organizations
  • registered charities
  • for-profit businesses
  • building and property managers
  • grant making organizations
  • organizations allied with political parties
  • organizations without a clear separation between religious and community service functions at the program and budget levels; and
  • academic institutions and school boards

Step 1: Attend an Information Session – June 2019

Interested applicants should attend an information session.

Step 2: Plan Your Project – Summer 2019

Your idea: Bring your group together and find a mentor or group leader to plan and organize your event/activity.  Look for opportunities to partner with established community groups to support your idea. Remember that you must partner with an organization to act as a trustee (before filling out the online application form).

Use this worksheet to help you plan your project and connect with Megan MacLean or Tamara Grossutti to discuss your project ideas.

Your budget: Put together a budget for $1,000 to $7,500. Research the potential costs of your project and have a rough budget ready for your planning table meeting. See the Eligible Project Costs section for guidance.

Your timeline and project location: Projects must end within 3 months of starting and end by August 31, 2020.

Step 3: Present Your Project – September/October 2019

All applicants must connect with their Neighbourhood Planning Table [NPT] to present their project.  See the section below and connect with a Community Development Officer [CDO] for more information. The NPT will make recommendations for projects to move forward to the application stage.

Step 4: Fill out the Online Application – September/October 2019

The NPT will recommend groups to complete the application form. Only those groups who are recommended by the NPT should fill out the online application form.  You will need to have secured your trustee before filling out the form and complete the entire application by 11:59 p.m. on October 31, 2019.

Apply Now

Eligible projects include projects that directly contribute to emission reduction and/or projects that include a climate change educational component. Projects can have both components or one.

Emission Reduction Projects

We need your help to address the sources of emissions in Toronto. Are you interested in:

  • Increasing the uptake of energy efficiency retrofits in homes?
  • Reducing the amount of waste directed to landfill?
  • Decreasing neighbourhood reliance on personal vehicles?
  • Increasing neighbourhood use of active transportation (walking/cycling) or public transportation?
  • Exploring neighbourhood renewable energy sources such as a formal neighbourhood study?

Examples of Emission Reduction Projects:

  • Repair-a-thon or swap events
  • Bike repair or cycling clinics
  • Feasibility study for neighbourhood renewable energy sources
  • Neighbourhood home energy retrofit events or audits (multiple homes)
  • Neighbourhood walking, cycling or carpooling challenge
  • Neighbourhood organized bike pool or walking school bus
  • Vehicle anti-idling school campaigns
  • Establishing sharing libraries (please speak to City staff if you are interested in this type of project)

 

Or:

Educational Initiatives:

We need your help to inspire others to take climate action. Are you interested in:

  • Hosting local climate focused workshops, information sessions or events?
  • Creating interpretive art, activities or signage that engage the public about climate change?
  • Leading citizen science projects and community research on climate action?
  • Developing a neighbourhood communications and engagement campaign to promote climate action?

Examples of Education Initiatives:

  • Interactive workshops, project / concept demonstrations, or neighbourhood education events
  • Lobby displays
  • Zero-waste neighbourhood events
  • Interpretive art that engages and informs the public about climate action
  • Toolkits, guides, interpretive signage, walking tours
  • Citizen science projects and community research
  • Home energy efficiency workshops or training

What we can fund

Below are examples of fundable budget line items.

  • Permit fees, space rental, liability insurance for your event/activity
  • Workshop expenses
  • Communications and promotion (e.g. flyers, posters, printing)
  • Honoraria for volunteers
  • Honoraria for group members, up to $500 per group
  • Consultant fees
  • Volunteer recognition, volunteer food expenses at event/activity
  • Training and training expenses;
  • Local travel expenses, TTC tokens, taxi receipts, bus transportation
  • Equipment rentals
  • Interpretation and translation
  • Administrative partner (trustee) fees (up to 15% of the grant amount)
  • Other expenses on a case-by-case basis

What we can’t fund

Below are examples of activities that are not fundable:

  • Ongoing program costs: costs to run your current programs/ services
  • Costs associated with the regular operation of your organization such as office rental, utilities, computer equipment, phones, fax, internet, accounting services, insurance, etc
  • Salaries and hourly wages and income-generating activities for staff, group members
  • Mass market advertising campaigns
  • Fees paid to project partners (except trustee fees)
  • Costs to maintain activities beyond the funding term
  • Award ceremonies, banquets, receptions, annual general meetings, sport tournaments
  • Religious activities/services
  • Political activities
  • Alcohol
  • Land acquisition, lease or rental
  • Purchase of media equipment (computers, laptops, or software)
  • Purchase or rental of vehicles
  • Fundraising events, or donations to charitable causes
  • Postage and shipping costs
  • Lobbying or advocacy on behalf of for-profit entities
  • Disbursement of funds to provide additional grants to other parties
  • Conference registration and travel fees
  • TTC monthly passes
  • Personal vehicles and parking
  • Travel outside of the city of Toronto
  • Reserve funds, debt repayment, deficit funding
  • Capital costs (i.e. building repairs, renovations, water service, etc)
  • Activities that extend beyond Toronto’s borders

 

Information sessions June 18, 26, and 27, 2019
Resident Groups plan projects July & August 2019
Resident Groups present to NPTs September & October 2019
Applications launch September 1, 2019
Application deadline October 31, 2019, 11:59 p.m.
Resident Advisory Committee review November 2019
Applicants notified November 2019
Orientation for grant recipients November & December 2019
Grant projects can start January 2020
Grant projects end August 31, 2020
Report back to NPTs Fall 2020

 

Please note that projects must be no longer than 3 months in duration and timelines are subject to change.

The Neighbourhood Climate Action Grants are recommended for funding by residents and community agencies from the local neighbourhood at your local Neighbourhood Planning Table [NPT] meeting and by a Neighbourhood Grants Resident Advisory Committee.

The Decision Making Process

  • You attend a local Neighbourhood Planning Table [NPT] to present your project idea and answer questions. The NPT will provide an review of your project for eligibility and for initial evaluation. Check out the section below for information on connecting with your local NPT.
  • NPTs recommend eligible groups to fill out the online application.
  • A Resident Advisory Committee comprised of resident representatives will evaluate the applications and recommend applications for funding.
  • The Executive Director of Social Development, Finance and Administration reviews the recommendations for funding from the Resident Advisory Committee and approves the grant.
  • City staff will notify you of the status of your application and the amount of funding you have been awarded.

 

Funded groups are required to do the following:

  • Sign a legally binding Funding Agreement and sign a Declaration of Compliance with Anti-Harassment/Discrimination Legislation & City Policy;
  • Participate in your Neighbourhood Planning Table and report activity to NPT members
  • Acknowledge the City of Toronto’s funding in any project materials and signage, including any promotional materials used in project activities. This requirement will be discussed in greater detail after a funding decision is made.

The Review Criteria

Reviewers of the Neighbourhood Climate Action Grants applications will be looking for the following things:

  • Will the target group be interested in the project?
  • Does the project bring together a diverse group of people from the neighbourhood?
  • Is the budget clear? Does it make sense for the project?
  • Does the project focus specific climate actions that will encourage the reduction of greenhouse gas emission reductions?
  • Does the project address climate change and one or more TransformTO co-benefits?
    • Advancing social equity
    • Protecting low income residents
    • Improving affordability, especially for vulnerable populations
    • Supporting poverty reduction
    • Enhancing and strengthening the local economy
    • Maintaining and creating good local jobs
    • Improving public health
    • Creating resilient communities and infrastructure

 

Connect with your neighbourhood’s Community Development Officer [CDO] for information on Neighbourhood Planning Table [NPT] meetings and agendas.

 

At the NPT meeting, you or members of your group will have 5-10 minutes to:

  • introduce your group, share your project idea that you are planning (you don’t have to have it all planned out)
  • Share why you want to do the project, and
  • Share your budget idea (how much in total you need, and how you will use the money)

Use this worksheet to help you prepare for the planning table meeting.

The NPT will recommend your project to move to the online application stage.

 

Benefits of attending an NPT:

  • Meet members who are local residents and community agency staff.
  • Get feedback and from local residents and staff on your project idea.
  • Find partners who can support your project, who can link you to others.
  • Find a community mentor who can advise and provide guidance for your project.

You must work with a trustee organization to receive funding. Your Neighbourhood Planning Table will be able to assist you in selecting a trustee.

The trustee organization should have knowledge about the issues your project addresses or experience in the community your group works with. It could be an organization that your group is currently working with or has worked with in the past.

What is a Trustee Organization?

A trustee is an incorporated not-for-profit organization with audited financial statements and the financial systems in place to administer your group’s grant funds.
A trustee will distribute the funding according to the approved project budget. Trustees can also provide additional support to funded groups, such as project management and mentorship.

 

Who can be a Trustee Organization?

Trustee organizations must meet all of the following eligibility criteria and be approved by City staff to act as your trustee:

  • Be an incorporated not-for-profit organization with recent audited financial statements;
  • Demonstrate effective management and administrative capacity;
  • Be based in the city of Toronto (this means the organization’s head office must be located in Toronto and a majority of their programs and services take place in Toronto);
  • Be accountable to the community it serves through an elected Board of Directors or executive and must represent the community it serves;
  • 50% or more of Board members reside in the City of Toronto, or 50% or more of the organization budget is allocated to Toronto;
  • Have existed for at least one year;
  • Be in good standing with the City of Toronto (be up to date on all requirements for any City funds the organization may have received in the past);
  • Collaborate with other service providers and community groups;
  • Demonstrate a clear separation between religious and community service functions (if religious activities are provided by the organization);
  • Comply with the City of Toronto Anti-racism, Access and Equity Policy;
  • Have a service mandate related to the funded project;
  • Agree to take responsibility for the management of financial and project activities proposed by the applicant organization; and
  • Report on the use of grant funds to the City and maintain documentation for audit purposes.

What are the Roles & Expectations of the Trustee?

The trustee organization:

  • Holds financial authority and a position of trust and responsibility for the project grant funds;
  • The trustee provides support and guidance to the grant recipient’s project leadership throughout the project;
  • Maintains proper fiscal oversight including using their existing financial systems and policies when dispersing the grant funds to your group (i.e. petty cash disbursements, honoraria, invoice payment, expense reimbursements etc.);
  • Has overall legal responsibility for the grant funds;
  • Provides assurance that all funding received will be spent only for the purposes outlined in the Trustee Agreement and in the Letter of Understanding and according to the approved project budget;
  • Acts as the project’s financial and administrative manager for the duration of your project;
  • Ensures compliance with accountability and legislative requirements; and
  • Signs the Letter of Understanding issued by the City with the grant recipient group. The Letter of Understanding outlines the terms and conditions of the grant funding.

The trustee organization should not:

  • Determine or heavily influence the creation of the project;
  • Take on the role of a group member or project manager

Trustee Fees

Trustee organizations may charge fees for their services. The fee arrangement should be included in the Trustee Agreement.

The Neighbourhood Climate Action Grants program allocates funding for trustee fees of up to 15% of the grant. If you will be working with a trustee, please account for the trustee fee in your proposed budget.

The Trustee Agreement

A Trustee Agreement is a formal agreement between your group and your Trustee organization. City of Toronto staff must approve the Trustee Agreement before funds will be paid. Your group and the trustee organization will need to write your own agreement together.

 

Proposed projects must be located in Neighbourhood Improvement Areas [NIA] and satisfy one or more of the following objectives:

  • reduction of greenhouse gas emissions;
  • provide educational benefits to the community that will result in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions;
  • foster changes in behaviour that result in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions

In addition, the City is interested in community-led projects that meet the objectives through:

  • providing measurable results; and
  • serving as a role model and inspiring others to make a positive change (ie. number of individuals engaged through educational initiatives).

Strong applications will include projects that:

  • have a detailed project plan;
  • are publicly accessible;
  • have an established project team, committee and/or organizational structure;
  • include other sources of project funding and/or in-kind donations;
  • include local community partnerships;
  • can clearly demonstrate that all activities can be measured and results can be quantified;
  • have a strong communications plan that will let the community know about the project from start to finish;
  • present opportunities to provide education and increase community engagement of people of all ages, abilities, economic levels and cultures;
  • provide a clear benefit to equity-seeking communities;
  • obtain all necessary approval before submission of the application; and
  • can be completed by August 31, 2020.