MAKE ART HAPPEN
The Infinity Tunnel. Photo Credit: Cory Bluhm

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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If you don’t find an answer to your question, please see Contact Us

  1. What kind of support can I apply for?
  2. How much can I apply for? Is there a maximum or minimum amount of money that an applicant can request?  What is the average grant amount that has been approved in past years?
  3. What does “meaningful” mean when you refer to the Arts Fund’s intention to give “meaningful” grants?
  4. Where can I get help with my application?
  5. How can I be sure that all my project expenses are proper and allowable under the terms of the Grant Agreement?
  6. What review process is used? What’s the timetable?
  7. Who evaluates my application?
  8. How do you decide who gets funding?
  9. Why does the application form ask if I'm 18 or older?
  10. On the Stage 1 application form, under Legal Status, what is the difference between “Unincorporated project, group or collective” and “Incorporated non-profit”?
  11. Is there a limit on the number of times that an artist or organization may apply?
  12. I’m not sure which round to apply to - Spring or Fall?  If my event is planned, for example, in early June, when should I submit my application?
  13. Do you provide feedback about my application?
  14. I have been successful in qualifying for an Arts Fund grant. What happens next?
  15. How long do I have to complete my project?
  16. What should I do if the project won’t be completed by the end of 12 months?
  17. What should I do if the project changes substantially?
  18. What should I do if the project can’t be completed at all?
  19. Why do I have to submit a Final Report?
  20. When do I have to submit a Final Report?
  21. What happens if I don’t send in a Final Report on time?
  22. Does the Arts Fund issue a T-4 for the grant that I've received?
  23. Are there other funding bodies that I can contact, besides the Region of Waterloo Arts Fund? 
  24. Why are Board members allowed to apply for funding?

 


 

1.    What kind of support can I apply for?

 

The Arts Fund focuses primarily on funding projects, and does not provide operating grants or grants in support of major capital building ventures.

 

(Definition: Operating expenses are those costs incurred in carrying out an artist's or organization's day-to-day activities, and would be incurred regardless of a special project.)

 

The Board has been inclined to support experimentation and innovation, including programs, startups, and pilot projects. Once a project has been undertaken two or three times, the Board views this as on-going operations and seldom supports further grants.

 

Refer to Application Guidelines for more information about grant criteria.

 

To see examples of projects which receive an Arts Fund grant, refer to Press Releases

 


 

2.    How much can I apply for? Is there a maximum or minimum amount of money that an applicant can request?  What is the average grant amount that has been approved in past years?

 

The Arts Fund has not set any maximum or minimum limits on its grants and may fund either a partial or full amount of the request. Grant amounts have ranged between $350 and $21,000, but most fall between $5,000 and $10,000.

 

The Arts Fund Board strives to find a balance between providing meaningful grants in the context of the project being submitted, and ensuring that as many submissions as possible benefit from Arts Fund support. We encourage applicants to fine tune their budgets and match the request to the actual need.

 

There is always more funding requested than the Board is allocated by the Region of Waterloo. Both the Board and the applicant have a responsibility to invest funding in a thoughtful, creative and effective manner.  

 

To see examples of the amounts awarded, you can refer to Press Releases

 


 

 3.    What does “meaningful” mean when you refer to the Arts Fund’s intention to give “meaningful” grants?

 

By "meaningful" we mean a grant that actually makes a difference to, and has an impact on, an individual’s or organization’s project. It might mean the difference between a project happening, or not; or having a significant impact on the quality of the project or the range of people who benefit from it.

 


 

4.    Where can I get help with my application?

 

The Arts Fund recognizes that applicants want help understanding the submission process, and has addressed this by offering the following opportunities:

Arts Fund policy excludes Board members from providing any direct assistance with grant applications.

For Administration, General Information, or Media Inquiries, see Contact Us.

 


 

5.     How can I be sure that all my project expenses are proper and allowable under the terms of the Grant Agreement?

 

From the Application Guidelines:

The Arts Fund does not grant funds for professional or personal expenses that are ongoing. Your funded project expenses must be directly related to your project and may not include any of the following:

  • Operating costs (e.g. core staff, office expenses, rent, insurance)
  • Core program offerings
  • Regular presentation seasons
  • Projects or events with recurrent, unvarying, definitive components

(Definition: Operating expenses are those costs incurred in carrying out an artist's or organization's day-to-day activities, and would be incurred regardless of a special project)

 

If you are uncertain whether an expense is allowed under your Grant Agreement see Contact Us.

 


 

6.    What review process is used? What’s the timetable?

 

The Arts Fund reviews applications and provides grants twice a year, in the Spring and the Fall. A two stage evaluation process determines who receives the limited funds. See Upcoming Deadlines for specific timelines and deadlines.

 

All applicants are invited to submit the required information in the Stage 1 application form and provide basic information, including a brief description of the project.

 

Only those applicants from Stage 1, who are shortlisted, are invited to complete and submit the more detailed Stage 2 application form.

All the appropriate submission forms are found at Downloads.

 

All applicants receive the results of each stage in writing.

 


 

7.    Who evaluates my application?

 

The Arts Fund’s independent 14-member Board of Directors evaluates all applications. Board members have a broad range of involvement and experience in, and knowledge of, the arts throughout the Region. They represent a range of disciplines and are arts practitioners and supporters, directors of arts community groups and organizations, and arts educators. The Board may also seek outside expert advice from time to time (Artist-at-Large Advisors).

 


 

8.    How do you decide who gets funding? 

 

The Arts Fund Board bases its decision making on the peer review model, and scrutinizes each application to ensure it meets the benchmarks for technical criteria, artistic merit, viability, track record, budget and so on, as listed in the Application Guidelines. Each and every round presents a different combination of opportunity and challenge: a very high proportion of the applications are for worthwhile projects, and provoke much discussion and debate followed by a vote.

 

The Arts Fund regularly receives more applications than the funds allocated to the Board, and is able to fulfill only a fraction of the requests. Many applications do not receive funding, even those that meet the criteria, largely due to the applications outnumbering the limited funds. 

Regional Council allots funding on a per capita basis to support the creation and presentation of innovative new work, to “make art happen”. Applicants are encouraged to apply for projects in future rounds.

 


 

9.   Why does the application form ask if I'm 18 or older?

 

The Arts Fund welcomes applications for projects from emerging artists.

 

However, only adults - defined in the provincial Age of Majority and Accountability Act as 18 and older - are able to enter into a legal agreement.

 

To be eligible to sign an Arts Fund grant application form and/or receive funding you must be an adult. If you are a minor, age 17 or younger, your parent or legal guardian (your guarantor) must sign the application form and any other documents related to the application. If you are approved for a grant, your guarantor must sign the grant agreement; must receive the funds in his or her name; and is responsible for seeing that the terms of the agreement are fulfilled.

 


 

10.    On the Stage 1 application form, under Legal Status, what is the difference between “Unincorporated project, group or collective” and “Incorporated non-profit”?

 

We define an Unincorporated project, group or collective as artists who have joined forces, but who have not gone through the process of becoming a legally incorporated entity.

 

We define an Incorporated non-profit arts organization as a legally incorporated not-for-profit entity, managed by a volunteer board, and the majority of its members and/or clients must live or work in the Region of Waterloo.

 


 

11.    Is there a limit on the number of times that an artist or organization may apply?

 

The Arts Fund has not set any limits on the number of times an applicant may apply for Arts Fund support. 

 

However, there are factors the Board considers during deliberations:

  • No more than one application per grant round will be accepted from the same individual artist, group or organization.
  • Repeat requests: The Board typically receives more applications that satisfy the criteria than there are funds available to grant. When reviewing applications of equal merit, one consideration is whether an applicant has received funding previously, and if so, the number and size of grant(s) awarded.
  • Good standing: When grants are awarded, recipients are obliged to sign a contract. View a sample Grant Agreement. These existing contract terms must be met before a new application will be accepted.

 

12.    I’m not sure which round to apply to - Spring or Fall?  If my event is planned, for example, in early June, when should I submit my application?

 

The Arts Fund Board reviews applications twice annually – in the Spring and Fall. See Upcoming Deadlines for specific dates. Granting decisions are normally made and communicated to all applicants in mid-to-late June and mid-to-late December. 

 

Board policy does not permit retroactive funding. Grants may not be applied to activity started ahead of the application deadline and not before the granting decision date(s) or will be deemed ineligible. Because projects must happen within 12 months of receiving a grant, timing the application to the correct round ensures that the deadline criterion is met.

 

For example, if your project is planned for early June, which is before the Board makes its final Spring decisions, apply to the Fall round of the previous year.

 

If your project is planned for early December, which is before the Board makes its final Fall decisions, apply to the Spring round of the same year.

 

If you are still unsure about when you should submit an application, see Contact Us.

 


 

13.    Do you provide feedback about my application?

 

The Arts Fund does not provide comment or feedback about any grant application evaluations and/or funding decisions.

 


 

14.    I have been successful in qualifying for an Arts Fund grant. What happens next?

 

Congratulations!  

 

Successful applicants receive a dated notification letter from the Board confirming the grant. Once the Grant Agreement and the Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) form for direct deposit are signed and received, 90% of the funds are released.

 


 

15.    How long do I have to complete my project?

 

Projects must be completed within 12 months of receiving a grant.

 

Grants awarded during the Spring round should be completed by June 30th of the next calendar year; grants awarded during the Fall round should be completed by December 31st of the next calendar year.

 

Please see Upcoming Deadlines for specific dates.

 


 

16.    What should I do if the project won’t be completed by the end of 12 months?

 

If you are unable to complete your project by the deadline, you are required to seek permission for more time by sending a written Request for Extension to the Chair of the Arts Fund.

 

Provide specific details about the delays and/or challenges that you are encountering and a specific estimated date for completion. The Board will review your request and respond to you in writing with its decision and direction.

 

If it does not receive a Request for Extension, the Board expects that the project will be completed on time and that the Final Report will also be received by the due date spelled out in the Grant Agreement.

 

If you are unsure about how to proceed, see Contact Us.

 


 

17.    What should I do if the project changes substantially?

 

You need to communicate this information to the Board as soon as possible if your project changes significantly from the original application as approved.

 

Each circumstance is unique, and the Board will need details about the proposed changes to permit or disallow continuing with the funded project. If the overall nature of the project might change due to new opportunities, which will improve upon the original idea, or obstacles will make the project unworkable, the Board needs to be alerted.

 

In all cases, the Board needs to approve any changes before the grant recipient may proceed. 

 

Depending on the Board recommendation, funds awarded may have to be repaid. These conditions are contained in the Grant Agreement.

For information specific to your case, see Contact Us.

 


 

18.    What should I do if the project can’t be completed at all?

 

If your project cannot be completed for any reason, you need to communicate this information to the Board immediately.  See Contact Us.

 

Arrangements will need to be made to repay the grant to the Arts Fund.

 

In some cases, an applicant may re-apply if and when conditions permit.

 


 

19.    Why do I have to submit a Final Report?

 

There are several reasons why a grant recipient is required to submit a Final Report: 

  • Accountability: Board members are entrusted with funds allocated by the Region of Waterloo on a per-capita basis. Everyone benefits when financial assets of the fund are managed responsibly.
  • Experience: The funds are intended to make a difference to an individual or an organization and by extension, the whole community. It’s important to learn from each experience, including what worked, what didn’t, what could be improved, what could be shared, and especially, the direct and indirect impact on those involved.
  • Documentation: It’s respectful to keep a record of creative endeavours, particularly as the Arts Fund supports innovation. This artistic outcome is captured and preserved for future reference by archiving submitted materials such as posters, CDs, DVDs, books, catalogues, press releases, reviews, news clips, and photos, as well as Final Reports.

 


 

20.    When do I have to submit a Final Report?

 

Final reports are due two months after completion of the project, whether completed by the original date or after you have formally requested and received an extension.

 

Final report forms are available from Downloads

 


 

21.    What happens if I don’t send in a Final Report on time?

 

Grant recipients are fully responsible for complying with their Grant Agreement. As a courtesy, the Arts Fund sends a reminder letter one month prior to the original due date, requesting the Final Report.

 

You will not be eligible to apply again to the Arts Fund until the overdue Final Report is received, reviewed and approved.

 

These are the steps taken if a Final Report is overdue:

  • The grant recipient is contacted either in person, by phone, or email for a commitment to submit the report;
  • If still no report is received, a Letter of Non-Compliance is issued;
  • If still no report is received, a Demand for Payment letter is sent by registered mail and legal proceedings are initiated to have the funds returned.

When a grant is awarded and the Grant Agreement is signed and returned to the Arts Fund, the recipient receives 90% of the total amount. The remaining 10% is held back and released only after the Final Report Review Committee has reviewed and approved the Final Report.

 


 

22.    Does the Arts Fund issue a T-4 for the grant that I've received?
 

The Arts Fund does not issue T-4 forms for grant money issued. Consider contacting the Canada Revenue Agency or an accountant to determine how to report this income on your tax return.
 


 

23.    Are there other funding bodies that I can contact, besides the Region of Waterloo Arts Fund? 

 

Yes, there are other funding sources available to local artists.

 

Information about their respective sites can be found at our Links page.

 


 

24.    Why are Board members allowed to apply for funding?

 

The Arts Fund Board is managed by Directors who are active in the arts community in a variety of roles. Accepting a position on the Board is a commitment of several years. If individuals or their organizations were excluded from the application process, they would be penalized for serving on behalf of others and denied equal opportunity and access to funding that makes a difference.

 

As a safeguard, and from the beginning, there has been a Conflict of Interest Policy in force. Applications from Board members undergo the same scrutiny that all applications receive.

 

Following a review of policies and procedures mid-way through its second decade, the Board has strengthened its commitment to the Conflict of Interest policy. If a Board member submits an application, he or she then declares a conflict for that round, and does not review any applications at all. The Director does not participate in any granting evaluations or decision making for as long as the application is being assessed.