Local Poverty Reduction Fund: Indigenous-led projects
The Local Poverty Reduction Fund has a dedicated funding stream for Indigenous-led projects. This guide can help you determine if you may be eligible and how to apply for funding for an Indigenous-led project.
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We’re funding Indigenous-led projects, recognizing that poverty disproportionately impacts Indigenous people and that Indigenous communities should determine what the priorities are in their communities, including the steps to take to address their needs.
That is why, this funding stream focuses on Indigenous-led projects at the community level – so communities can learn what works to improve the lives of people.
When we released the first round of the Fund, we committed to speak with Indigenous communities and organizations about the criteria. In the second round, we spoke with communities across the province during and after the application process.
We will continue to engage with Indigenous communities and learn different ways of assessing or evaluating programs that receive funding in ways that reflect and are respected by Indigenous communities throughout. We are working to make a difference in Indigenous communities through this dedicated funding stream.
Engagement: what we’ve heard and how we’ve responded
Since the launch of the Fund in April 2015, we receive continual feedback, input and advice on how the Fund can support more Indigenous groups from First Nations, Métis, Inuit and urban Indigenous communities and organizations. This input helped us identify how to better support the applicant’s capacity and make the Fund more responsive to the needs of Indigenous communities and organizations.
We heard a lot of enthusiasm about the Fund and the opportunities it can offer. We also heard about areas where we could do things differently to improve access and opportunities for Indigenous applicants, such as:
- helping applicants to apply to the Fund, including helping them find partners who have a good understanding of the Indigenous context
- streamlining the application process and making it accessible
- making the evaluation process more inclusive in culturally specific ways (e.g. incorporating Indigenous knowledge systems)
- making Indigenous voices a part of the application review process
Given this feedback, we have created a separate application form and review process for the funding stream for Indigenous-led projects that is more accessible, and responds to the input that we received. We provided one-on-one support (in-person, by phone and through e-mail) to more than 115 Indigenous communities and organizations across the province. We will continue this support in 2017.
Specific changes we’ve made to the application and review process include:
- a range of support is being offered to Indigenous applicants including workshops, one-on-one coaching, informational webinars and help to connect to potential partners
- making the application period longer
- allowing applicants to propose project ideas, ways to evaluate programs and ways to form collaborations to complete a project that are more culturally relevant, within the Indigenous stream application criteria
- seeking advice from Indigenous individuals, including Indigenous Advisors, as part of the review and decision process
We are offering more upfront and dedicated support, through our Poverty Reduction Strategy Office, to reach a broader range of applicants, well in advance of the application deadline. Supports include:
- orientation webinars to provide more details on the Fund’s criteria, how to apply and what other support is available depending on your needs
- coaching workshops in partnership with the Ontario Trillium Foundation, provide sessions dedicated to workshop project ideas or proposals
- one-on-one coaching via email, written correspondence, phone or in-person to discuss your project and what additional supports you may require to finalize your proposal
Public use disclaimer
Please note that by submitting an application, you agree that if your project is selected for funding, information about the project will be publicly shared for the benefit of other communities and organizations, including:
- sharing lessons learned and best practices
- contributing to evidence-based policy and program design and delivery in the social services sector
- supporting Ontario’s Open Government initiative
- supporting further research and analysis based on data and findings from the Fund’s projects. Please see section on Privacy and Personal Information.
Personal information about individuals will not be collected or shared.
Please note that you may submit multiple applications to address multiple needs within your community. You can always reach us with any questions you may have by:
We also continue to welcome your feedback on how we can make the Fund more responsive to the needs and/or priorities of Indigenous communities as we learn from this round and build for the third round of funding in 2017.
If you would like to join our e-mailing list to receive updates on the Local Poverty Reduction Fund and Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy, please send us an email.
How to apply
Applications can also be obtained and submitted by contacting us by:
- email: email@example.com
416-212-0290, please call to let us know to expect your application.
- mail or in person to:
Poverty Reduction Strategy Office
Ministry of Community and Social Services
77 Wellesley Street West
6th Floor Ferguson Block
Toronto, ON, M7A 1N3
If you are:
- faxing or mailing your application please call us at
416-212-0430or Toll-free: 1-844-692-8006to let us know to expect your application
- planning to deliver your application in person, please call us in advance at
416-212-0430or Toll-free: 1-844-692-8006to arrange for drop-off.
- submitting your application by email and do not received an auto-response message confirming receipt of your application, please follow up with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at
416-212-0430or Toll-free: 1-844-692-8006to ensure that we have in fact received your application
Application deadline: June 28, 2017
All materials associated with your application, including the signed declaration, your response to the questions, and your completed budget template must be received by the Poverty Reduction Strategy Office, Ministry of Community and Social Services (the “ministry”) no later than June 28.
Late applications will not be assessed. If you have any questions about the application process, cannot access the form or are having trouble submitting the form, please contact us at either email@example.com, or at
If your application was successful, we will let you know in writing, in Fall 2017. We also anticipate that funding will be provided and projects may start mid-Fall 2017.
Eligible applicants include First Nations, Métis, Inuit or other Indigenous communities, as well as not-for-profit corporations, registered charities, other public bodies (such as universities, colleges, school boards and agencies) that are Indigenous-led.
For the purposes of the Local Poverty Reduction Fund an Indigenous-led organization is an organization that serves an Indigenous community and whose governance reflects the composition of that community.
First Nations communities, Tribal Councils, Provincial Territorial Organizations (PTOs), the Métis Nation of Ontario, Inuit organizations, and urban Indigenous organizations are recognized as Indigenous-led.
Not-for-profit organizations, registered charities, social enterprises, and other public bodies will need to demonstrate that the majority of their leadership, governing body, or membership identifies as Indigenous.
Individuals, for profit, and non-legal entities (e.g. a community planning table that is not a registered not-for-profit organization) are not eligible to apply . Applicants may collaborate with such entities in connection with a proposed project (See Question Four – Who You Would Partner With).
The application form
This application form includes five questions and a section on the project budget that are intended to allow us to better understand what the poverty reduction priorities are for your community, and the initiative you would like to run and assess in response.
The questions are set out below, along with some guidance on the types of information we would like to see in your responses.
Question one – project description
Based on your community priorities related to poverty, what are the key components of your project?
For this question you should describe:
- the poverty-related issue you are addressing with the program or service
- how your project is local, innovative, community-driven and focuses on preventing or transitioning people out of poverty
- how your project differs from the projects that have already received funding through the Indigenous Stream
- the key project components (such as job training, interview preparation support, and money for transportation to work)
- the client group the project would support (such as women, single parents and children, youth, people with disabilities, seniors, and people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless)
Question two – project benefits
How would clients and/or your community, benefit from this project?
For this question you should describe the needs or issues the project is trying to address – the need for improved nutrition for example. There may be many community needs that you would like to address but it is advised that you focus on one (or a small number) per project in order to have a clear goal for your project. How the support being proposed as part of the project will help to address the identified needs.
- you could include lessons from the community (your own or others) as examples of how the supports help – have you heard about something a neighboring Indigenous community is doing that you would like to apply in your community?
- if there are no examples that you know of, please let us know – it indicates a reason for exploring/testing your project
You can strengthen your application by mentioning:
- the rationale and highlighting how it is supported by available research and evidence, and why it is important in your community
- evidence or experience from other communities, or established best practices that mention the potential effectiveness of your idea for preventing, or lifting people out of, poverty
Question three – taking a look at how the program is doing
Please note: every proposal needs an evaluation approach in order to be considered for funding.
For this question you need to describe what you want to evaluate or assess, and how you might do that. Specifically:
- the intended question an evaluation would help answer.
- the activities you would use to do this evaluation such as culturally based models for evaluation
- you may want to use an evaluation framework that illustrates your chosen outputs and outcomes (short, medium and long-term)
- the targets or indicators of progress you would use to show whether the project is moving in the direction you want
To strengthen your application, you can mention:
- where relevant, the underlying theory of the program or service and how or why you expect the program to impact your target population
- the anticipated sample size for your evaluation
Indigenous evaluation methods
We welcome applications that use culturally based or Indigenous evaluation methods as part of your evaluation framework. This may include using participatory research, incorporating Indigenous world views or knowledge systems and more. You may consider consulting with an evaluator (e.g. an academic or accredited evaluator) who has experience in these areas when writing your proposal.
For information on the most commonly used forms of evaluation please refer to the Program Evaluation Reference and Resource Guide.
If you do not have a person in mind that could do this evaluation, please describe the plan for how you could identify the right person. Reviewers will be looking for your plan to outline the different organizations (such as universities or not-for-profit organizations who have evaluators on staff, or The Canadian Evaluation Society) that you might contact to identify a person to lead the evaluation of this project. Please indicate if you need our support to connect with an evaluator.
The qualifications of an evaluator might include:
- knowledge of or experience with Indigenous evaluation methods, or working with Indigenous communities
- academic: professor or appointee at a recognized university or other research institute with a background in qualitative and quantitative research methods and knowledge of applied methods and evaluation research
- practitioner: an accredited evaluator, or a practitioner who can demonstrate knowledge, skills and experience with quantitative and qualitative research methods and program evaluation
- local public health units, larger non-profit organizations and specialist evaluation enterprises also have evaluation experts on staff
Question four – who you would partner with
Describe the different partners that you would work with, and their roles, to make your project a success.
For this question, we would like to know about the other organizations or people that you propose to work with in connection with this project. These may be partnerships or collaborations that you have formed within or outside of your community. For example: a partnership with a university in a neighbouring community, or a collaboration among different communities.
We recognize that not all communities have a range of possible partners to choose from, particularly in remote communities. Please let us know if there are a limited number of organizations, people or businesses that you could work with on this project.
Please describe partnerships by including:
- the names of key organizations or businesses
- their roles and responsibilities in the project
- what difference these partners make for clients and their outcomes
Question five – planning your project
What is your plan to carry-out this project?
Please be sure to indicate: overall timeline, activities, start or end date for implementing services and evaluating or assessing them. When providing this information, you may use the chart in the application form associated with this question, or something like it.
Every project must have a plan to address sustainability of services for clients after the end of the Local Poverty Reduction Fund grant funding. The plan must show how you will ensure that new services provided to individuals during the duration of a funded project will continue to be made available to individuals who continue to need that service following the end of the project (see more below).
For this question you may use the Project Timeline template in the application form if you wish. We would like to know:
- the overall timeline for your project which may be up to three years in length
- the specific activities that will be carried-out in connection with your project, such as providing training to clients, hiring someone to assess the impact of the program, etc.
- when you are describing these activities, please be sure to include start/end dates
- identify any potential risks or issues that you can think of that may arise in connection with the proposed project and how you would address those
- these might include things like not being able to find someone to lead the evaluation of your initiative, project staff leaving part way through the project or finding the appropriate sample size or focus group participants
- any potential risks or issues that you can think of that may arise in connection with the proposed project and how you would address those, such as not being able to find someone to lead the evaluation of your initiative, or project staff leaving part way through the project
You are also asked to describe the steps you would take to maintain services for clients after the grant has finished, so that people involved in the project can continue to receive the benefit of services being offered. A clear sustainability plan would include one or more of the following:
- fully phases out the program, including an identified risk and mitigation plan;
- an alternative source of funding to continue the program once the Fund ends (beyond a mention of a plan to find alternate funding)
- how the applicant will adjust its program offering to address any potential service gaps at the end of the project
If you are applying and you are a registered charity and not-for-profit organization, you need to include current audited financial statements, governance structure and the number of board members (where applicable). In addition, you need to indicate how the organization is Indigenous-led or controlled.
Budget for the project
Where your project is a multi-year project, please let us know your expenses per year (costs can be equal across years).
You are strongly encouraged to combine funding sources in support of your project. The proposed budgets should fully disclose continued or anticipated cash or in-kind contributions from lead or participating organizations, and any relevant funding sources for ongoing or existing streams of programs or services that are being leveraged as part of the project proposal.
Note: As a condition for funding, you may be asked to adjust the scope or value of your project and or budget by:
- reducing the sample size
- reviewing the direct personnel costs and the number of staff listed to run the project
- reducing the number of components of the project
The total funding and associated costs being requested must be entirely net new and incremental costs for your organization and your partners. They must also be exclusively for the purposes of executing our Local Poverty Reduction Fund project and its evaluation.
All costs must be fully compliant with the requirements of the Fund 2017 Call for Proposals Application Guide, and any costs outlined in the final budget that are ineligible will be neither recognized nor funded under the project agreement with the Ontario Trillium Foundation as the project rolls out.
You will be required to affirm your understanding of, and compliance with, these requirements as a condition of your application.
Assessment of proposals
Proposals must meet the following eligibility requirements in order to be scored and considered for funding:
- the proposal was submitted by an eligible applicant
- there is a plan for how you will evaluate or assess the initiative you are proposing and you are willing to share the results of your evaluation
- there is a plan to sustain any new services that are put in place using the time-limited funding from the Local Poverty Reduction Fund
If all of these areas are addressed, your proposal will be scored based on the criteria and weights listed in the Application assessment criteria chart below.
Projects will be reviewed and assessed by a team of representatives from across different provincial ministries. This may also include seeking advice from external Indigenous individuals. An interministerial committee of senior ministry officials then vets the process and presents to the minister for decision making.
Efforts will be made to select projects from across a broad range of regions and communities to represent Ontario’s diverse demographics and geography, including covering populations in urban, rural/remote, and northern locations.
Application assessment criteria
|Review and scoring considerations||Weights|
1. Project description
2. Project benefits
3. Taking a look at how the program is doing
4. Who you would partner with
5. Planning your project
Individual grant sizes depend on the type of projects and evaluation methods proposed.
The budget for a project will depend on:
- the scope and size of the evaluation
- the number of clients involved
- whether the project is new or modified
- and the duration of the evaluation and data required
Any new or incremental costs associated with the initiative that are required to demonstrate the idea you are evaluating may also be funded.
The Fund supports a range of small to medium sized projects. The following are general estimates of the cost range of evaluation projects, which take into consideration that the evaluation component will use approximately 10-15% of the total budget, while “evaluation only” projects may have up to 100% of the project budget directed solely to evaluation. Projects that fall outside these parameters need to provide an explanation as to why this is the case in the “Budget” section of the application:
- $25,000 - $100,000 for small/medium scale, short-term evaluation of single/multi-service organization evaluating an existing service or program with complex needs
- $100,000 - $500,000 for large scale, long-term evaluation of complex multi-service organization that is adding a new component to an existing service
- $500,000 - $1,000,000 for large scale, long-term evaluation of complex multi-service organization that is creating new service:
Funding cannot be requested to ‘backfill’ expenses currently funded through existing government grants or other sources (such as staffing, overhead, and administration) if they don’t relate directly to the project. Program costs would be permitted if they relate to net new activity.
An example might be where a service provider intends to add a new approach to case management or a new form of counseling as a way of increasing the effectiveness of an existing benefit or service. In this case, the incremental cost of the new case management or counseling would be an eligible expense under the project grant, while the existing benefit or service would continue to be funded from its pre-existing funding source and would not be an eligible expense under this funding grant.
It is critical that you confirm that all budget related costs of your proposed project align with the eligibility criteria.
Although no commitment to award funds is being made in this guide, the ministry may choose to fund proposals that range in duration from short-term (12–18 months) to longer-term projects (18–36 months).
You are strongly encouraged to combine funding sources in support of their project. In-kind contributions not only reflect collaboration and partnerships — a main goal of the Fund — but it also creates the opportunity for other projects to be considered for funding, which will result in an increase of evidence, knowledge and ultimately reduced poverty rates.
Use of fund dollars
The use of funds and eligible costs will be governed by a project funding agreement. The following information is provided to assist organizations in preparing their applications.
Costs that are reasonable and necessary for the successful completion of the project are admissible with the exceptions noted below. These costs would need to be supported by acceptable documentation.
The ministry anticipates that it may consider funding activities such as:
- program costs as they relate to net new or incremental activity (for example: the proposed evaluation will look at desired outcomes for a different set of clients who have not historically received program or services)
- program or service delivery directly related to demonstrating the service to be evaluated, including staff salaries and benefits
- costs related to the evaluation:
- staff time to collect data, conduct analysis and report writing (including salaries and benefits)
- costs/expenses related to conducting an evaluation, including the cost of hiring a third party evaluator
- demonstrated increased expenses based on the project (such as a direct incremental cost for insurance resulting from the evaluation project)
- administrative expenses including net new or incremental project activity (including the evaluation of the project) that results in time-limited expenses not already accounted for through other sources of funding
- reimbursement of identified administration expense claims will ultimately be subject to appropriate documentation of the expenses and their relation to the completion and success of the project
- other new, time-limited costs, directly related to the project that are not already accounted for through other sources of funding.
Costs and expenses that do not directly support the project are not eligible for funding and should not be included as part of the project budget. Examples of ineligible costs include:
- interest expenses incurred on operating loans
- professional organization fees paid on behalf of staff for membership in professional organizations
- property tax expenses
- fundraising expenses
- capital loans
- mortgage financing
- reserve funds capital costs (this includes expenses amortized for longer than the grant duration, including the construction of new facilities)
- profit making activities
- budget deficits
- start-up costs (exceptions may be made if directly related to the evaluation)
- research projects without an evaluation component
- special events, such as tournaments, conferences, receptions, festivals, parties
- publications and information management systems, including community newspapers, video, Web site production
- legal challenges, costs and settlements
- public relations and fundraising costs
- costs covered by other government funding
- bonuses, gifts and honoraria, except if it is:
- part of the evaluation, such as rewards for completing a survey
- support for Indigenous Elders as part of the project in an intervention (we recognize that Elders’ support is generally integral to the work in Indigenous communities)
Capital costs may be a need for some communities however, funding of capital costs is beyond the size and scope of the Local Poverty Reduction Fund and will not be funded. We encourage applicants to seek funding from alternate sources in order to fund capital costs.
Ontario Trillium Foundation
The ministry has partnered with the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) to deliver the Fund while retaining the responsibility for setting the Fund parameters and selecting successful grant proposals.
In addition to working with the ministry, you may interact with OTF at the following points during the application process:
- If you access support during the application phase – OTF will help us to conduct outreach, informational webinars, workshops, and other support opportunities.
- If you choose to apply to the general stream of the Fund – the application form for the general stream is offered through OTF’s online application system.
- If you are successful - OTF is responsible for entering into, executing and administering the funding agreement with each successful applicant.
Not sure who to reach out to? Don’t worry. Whether you reach out to the ministry or OTF for support in connection with submitting an application, every effort will be made to direct your inquiries to the right place and ensure that you are provided with information about how you can obtain the support that you are looking for.
Grant recipients will be responsible for managing and executing their projects under the funding agreement with OTF. The agreement will set out the terms and conditions governing the payment of the grant, and may include:
- project budget
- project management
- communication strategies for monitoring and reporting requirements, including annual progress reporting, audits and financial reports;
- milestone and performance measures
- mode and schedule of payment
- and contract termination and corrective action
Successful grant recipients will:
- be accountable to OTF for all monies and project components, and will be considered to be the final decision-making authority among partners for the project under the funding agreement
- manage their project plan to meet financial and accountability reporting requirements and deliverables, as identified in the funding agreement
- engage and manage relationships with their third party evaluator
- be responsible for the receiving, administering, and allocating funds to any participating organizations in accordance with the requirements of their agreements
- be responsible for measuring results and reporting on their performance as required by their funding agreement. These requirements include, but are not limited to:
- providing information in a way that ensures that individuals cannot be identified
- and providing evaluation results to OTF at least four weeks prior to using them or making them public for any purpose. The ministry retains the right to make relevant announcements on the evaluation results
- be required to submit regular reporting that would be used by the ministry or OTF to assess the progress of implementation, as well as compliance with financial and auditing requirements, as required by the funding agreement
The funding agreement may require the grant recipient to develop formal agreements and/or memorandums of understanding with any project partners to whom funding may be flowed for the purpose of meeting project objectives or addressing obligations.
OTF will review, report and monitor to ensure compliance with the funding agreement and its terms and conditions.
It is anticipated that funding will be allocated in installments according to a specific payment schedule and program phases. The payment of funding installments will be dependent on the grant recipient meeting all program and reporting requirements under the funding agreement with OTF.
Further information for applicants
Single applicant requirement
Partnering and collaboration are important aspects of this Fund and proposals will be scored based on their partnership approach. However, each application must be submitted by a single applicant. If an application is selected for funding, this single legal entity will be the signatory to the funding agreement entered into with OTF and will be identified as the grant recipient.
Notwithstanding any partnerships or collaborations that are identified in the application as sharing, in any way, any role or responsibility related to the project, the applicant or grant recipient will assume full responsibility and liability for those organizations under the funding agreement for the project.
Organizations may submit, participate or collaborate in more than one proposal but should consider how multiple projects would be managed. Organizations should demonstrate that they have sufficient capacity to implement parallel projects, including clear roles within the organization for leading each project. Applications should describe clearly how the proposals are distinct from each other, as well as the links between them, where possible, for example, in their partnership relationships.
Organizations can also consider responding to the Call for Proposals anticipated in 2017 if they have multiple programs that they wish to evaluate.
No commitment to fund
- makes no commitment to fund any applicant;
- may choose which applicants to fund, if any, at its sole and absolute discretion (with the input of the Indigenous reviewers); and
- shall not be responsible for any cost or expenses incurred by any applicant, including any costs or expenses associated with preparing and submitting responses to this Call for Proposal.
Distribution of the application guide
You may request a copy of the Call for Proposals Guide and the application form to be sent to you by fax or mail from our office by contacting:
You can also download the application form.
Conflict of interest
A successful applicant will be required to carry out the program and use the funds received from the ministry pursuant to the program without an actual, potential, or perceived conflict of interest.
A conflict of interest may include a situation where an applicant or any person who has the capacity to influence the applicant’s decisions, has outside commitments, relationships or financial interests that could, or could be seen to, interfere with the applicant’s objective, unbiased and impartial judgment relating to the program and the use of the funds.
Disclosure to the ministry and OTF
The applicant shall:
- disclose to the ministry and OTF, without delay, any situation that a reasonable person would interpret as either an actual, potential, or perceived conflict of interest; and
- comply with any terms and conditions that the ministry and/or OTF may prescribe as a result of the disclosure.
Please note that the we are subject to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. The Act provides every person with a right of access to information in the custody or under the control of the ministry, subject to a limited set of exemptions.
Applicants are advised that the names and addresses of funding recipients, their partnered organizations, the amount of funding provided, and the purpose for which funds are provided is information that the ministry may make available to the public.
Additionally, the ministry and OTF may share application information with others for the purpose of evaluating proposals, assessing eligibility and administering the Local Poverty Reduction Fund.
Privacy and Personal Information
Applicants must be mindful of their obligations under relevant legislation when preparing and implementing their grant and evaluation proposals to ensure they are complying with all requirements of law, including but not limited to all obligations with respect to the collection, protection, use and disclosure of personal information.
The applicant is responsible for complying with, and ensuring their partners comply with, all ethical and legal requirements relating to privacy, confidentiality and security of the information, including the obligation under any funding agreement that may be entered into, when carrying out their activities in connection with the proposed project, including but not limited to all evaluation and reporting activities.
As part of the project/implementation plan, applicants will be asked to finalize their arrangement with the third party evaluator in an agreement. The agreement should include conflict of interest, privacy and security of information provisions, and describe the approach to evaluating or assessing the project. Grant recipients will be expected to ensure the necessary rights are obtained to use the data and information as contemplated in this Application Guide and any funding agreement that may be entered into.
Rights of the Ministry
In submitting an application, the applicant is deemed to have acknowledged that the ministry or OTF may:
- communicate directly with any applicant or potential applicants;
- at its sole discretion, accept applications for consideration that are not strictly compliant with the requirements outlined above;
- verify with any applicant or with a third party any information set out in an application;
- make changes, including substantial changes, to this Guide and related documents including the application form by way of new information on the designated website;
- cancel this application and Call for Proposal process at any stage of the application or evaluation process;
- reject any or all applications in its sole and absolute discretion; and
- fund legal entities for similar projects regardless of whether these entities have submitted an application in response to this Guide.