NOTE: The applications portal is now closed and you may view the list of projects being funded and the community foundations across Canada who participated in ECSF.

About the ECSF & CFC

Please visit our ECSF Initiative Page for more information on this program.

Who is administering the ECSF?

  • United Way Centraide Canada – Local United Way Centraide members accepted and assessed grant applications from charities through local portals. In some cases, local United Way Centraide members may also have supported non-profit organizations through an appropriate trustee relationship with a qualified donee. 
  • Canadian Red Cross – National granting program for eligible non-profit organizations across Canada. As well, the Red Cross Preventing Disease Transmission Training and Equipment Program is open for all eligible charities, qualified donees and non-profit organizations.  

See this infographic for further information.

What is a community foundation?

Community foundations are philanthropic organizations that direct grants, leadership and other investments toward community initiatives. Across Canada, more than 85% of communities have access to a community foundation – from our largest cities to our smallest towns. CFC is flowing ECSF funding through our network of community foundations such that it is managed, as much as possible at the local level in communities from coast to coast to coast.  

Here’s the list of community foundations participating in the ECSF.

If your area is not served by a foundation, contact our team covid19@communityfoundations.ca or find the community foundation nearest you using our map. 

What are the grant amounts through the ECSF?

In CFC’s funding stream, the ECSF offers a range to be effective to organizations working in communities of various sizes and geographies. In small communities of 15,000 residents or less, the maximum ECSF grant amount is usually $40,000. For larger cities and regions, the maximum grant amount is usually $75,000. Community Foundations may also set their own limits, please check with your local Community Foundation. There is no minimum grant amount.


Eligibility Criteria

Which organizations were eligible to apply to CFC or a community foundation?

The ECSF run by CFC supported qualified donees in running projects at the community level that serve vulnerable populations that have been especially affected by COVID-19. Eligible projects include ongoing programs that meet the eligibility criteria outlined in this document.

Applicants were required to share how their project assists vulnerable populations, the populations they serve, and the impact of the project on the community.

Examples of qualified donees include:

  • registered charities;
  • registered Canadian amateur athletic associations;
  • registered Canadian municipalities;
  • registered municipal or public bodies performing a function of government in Canada.

Those ineligible to apply include:

  • Individuals
  • the Government of Canada (federal government);
  • provincial and territorial governments;
  • the Crown; and
  • the United Nations.

Qualified donees must be registered on the CRA’s list of qualified donees

What projects were eligible for ECSF funding from CFC or a community foundation? 

The ESCF provides immediate financial support for projects that are serving vulnerable populations as they manage the impacts of COVID-19. Qualified donees were able to apply for more than one grant, as long as each application described a distinct project.

Specifically, eligible projects:

  • Clearly address a pressing social inclusion or well-being need caused by COVID-19;
  • Serve one or more vulnerable groups (defined below);
  • Be carried out in a short timeframe with a reasonable budget, before March 31, 2021

Examples of eligible projects where vulnerable populations impacted by COVID-19 include:

  • Creation of a digital health platform to continue mental health and addictions recovery programming
  • Development and delivery of a virtual mental health program for caregivers
  • Purchase of food kits for marginalized families experiencing interrupted support services
  • Addition of meal service staff at a women’s shelter to meet public health guidelines
  • Food purchase assistance for members living on-reserve, where supplies and delivery are interrupted
  • Purchase of a freezer by a food bank to accommodate rise in food orders
  • Technology purchase and service enabling seniors in-residence to connect with their families virtually
  • Increased staffing and supplies at a shelter for women and children fleeing violence
  • Preparing and delivering food for persons with disabilities
  • Remote arts programming for vulnerable youth
  • Procurement and delivery of educational materials to Aboriginal Friendship Centre families
  • Development of online social skills curriculum for individuals with special needs, replacing in-person programming
  • Deployment of a social worker to provide Deaf community with information on COVID-19 and support to navigate impact relief services

Who are considered vulnerable groups?

Children, Youth or Elderly

  • Children and youth (ages 0-29)
  • Youth ageing out of care
  • Seniors and Elders (in and not in care)

Vulnerable Workers

  • Caregivers
  • Workers who are vulnerable (essential, temporary foreign, those in the informal labour market)

Populations Requiring Specific Care or Supports 

  • People experiencing homelessness
  • People struggling with addiction
  • People living with mental illness
  • People with low-income or living in poverty
  • Persons with disabilities
  • People experiencing domestic or gender-based violence
  • People living in group homes or supportive living (under the age of 55)
  • Prison populations (detained and incarcerated)
  • Veterans
  • Students (postsecondary)

Marginalized Communities in Canada

  • Official Language Minority Communities (OLMCs)
  • Women and girls
  • Members of LGBTQ2s+ communities
  • Newcomers (Permanent and temporary residents including immigrants and refugees)
  • Racialized people (Arab, Black, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Latin American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, West Asian, Other racialized groups)
  • Indigenous people (First Nations, Métis, Inuit)

What kind of expenses can be covered by ECSF funding from CFC or a community foundation?

All budget items must be project-related and must be incurred between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021. Eligible expenditures will vary depending on the project. The list below are examples of possible expenditures. 

  • Wages and employment-related costs for existing or additional staff;
  • Fees for professional service; 
  • Disability supports for staff of the Grant Recipient; 
  • Materials and supplies;
  • Printing and communication;
  • Travel costs;
  • Utilities;
  • Insurance;
  • Rental of premises;
  • Lease, purchase and maintenance of equipment; 
  • Performance monitoring and reporting costs;
  • Data collection;
  • Knowledge development activities; and 
  • Other administrative costs associated with the project. 

What kind of projects and expenses cannot be covered by ECSF funding from a community foundation? 

Ineligible projects include:

  • Projects that are designed for fundraising purposes,
  • Profit generating projects or activities,
  • Any activity taking place outside of Canada
  • Projects that have received funding through another ECSF intermediary (Red Cross or United Way)

The following expenditures are ineligible, and will not be supported by the ECSF:

  • Purchase of real property (land or building)
  • Expenses incurred prior to April 1, 2020
  • Expenses incurred after March 31, 2021
  • Any expenses that are covered by another funding source (including the Government of Canada, Canadian Red Cross and United Way Centraide Canada or their local affiliates). Projects may receive funding from other sources, but those funds may not cover the same expenses as this grant.