Frequently asked questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of projects qualify for support?

Many Canadian charities are taking fresh and innovative approaches to address the needs in our communities. As an Imagine Caring Company, we are proud to help them raise the bar and create lasting change. Since community needs and their solutions do not come in tidy categories, we support initiatives that span these areas:

Arts
Among the primary recipients of our funding are major arts groups that advance music, theatre, dance and the visual arts, along with organizations working to make the arts more sustainable. Our primary focus is on programs with social impact: outreach initiatives that target youth-at-risk, educational programs for school groups, and programs that make the arts more accessible for all audiences.

Education
Major appeals and scholarships for post-secondary education that align with our business and the financial services industry are leading contenders for our support. We also see literacy, employability and youth skills development as central in responding to many of the issues facing Canadian communities.

Health and Wellness
Through fellowships and awards, we support the future of research. We are focusing on some of the leading complex, and often connected, health issues affecting many Canadians, including cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and age-related issues. We also support workplace mental health initiatives that further the work of the  Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace.

Community Development
Through initiatives that foster leadership, develop volunteerism, and encourage community and economic development, we are supporting the priorities communities are setting for themselves. Environmental and heritage education, along with greater access to recreational programs, are strong examples of activities we believe contribute to stronger communities.

Social Services
In communities where we have offices, we support United Way Centraide to make a difference for a broad spectrum of individuals and families.

Which activities or projects generally don’t qualify for support?

  • Individuals and individual pursuits
  • For-profit enterprises
  • Projects outside Canada
  • Daycares, preschools, primary or secondary schools
  • Student organizations
  • Associations, clubs, fraternal or service organizations
  • Professional or technical associations
  • Conferences
  • Travel, accommodations and entertainment
  • Religious or sectarian organizations
  • In-kind contributions
  • Amateur, elite or professional sports
  • Registration for sporting events
  • Private or corporate foundations
  • Endowments
  • Third-party fundraising on behalf of a charity
  • Political campaigns
  • Government and municipalities
  • Loans, investments or deficit reduction
  • Charities supported by umbrella organizations we already fund

What are the submission deadlines?

While we accept proposals throughout the year, to help us plan together we encourage one annual proposal as early in the calendar year as possible. Please note that new proposals received after June may be held to the next fiscal year for consideration.

How long will it take before I receive a response to my proposal?

We carefully review each submission we receive. Our goal is to acknowledge and respond to your proposal within 90 days.

What is the maximum amount I can request?

We consider many factors, including our benchmarks for comparable initiatives and our overall community support in the region. It is essential for you to provide a complete case for support, including various funding levels for our consideration. While we are generally not the largest funder, we look to find a meaningful way to support important projects and receive recognition for our support.

Can my organization apply for funding for more than one project at a time? How many times may I make a submission in one year?

We want to ensure our funding addresses the current and anticipated trends and needs in Canadian communities where we live, work and do business. To do this, and give other deserving charities the opportunity to receive our funding, we generally do not consider funding for more than one project with the same organization in the same year.

May I present my proposal in person or by phone?

To get an understanding of your organization’s goals and the initiative, we prefer to begin with a review of your full written proposal, to make the most efficient use of your time and ours.

If you contribute funding to our project, are we expected to follow up with you, or vice-versa?

We want to understand how our investment is creating a positive impact for Canadians and the community.
Once your project is complete (or at the end of each program year) we require a formal stewardship report describing the impact of our gift and providing financial accountability. Please submit the report in hard copy, and include the following types of information as may pertain to the project:

  • Results achieved in respect to goals set for this past year (include those achieved, partially achieved and not achieved, constraints to achieving goals)
  • Fiscal accountability (include final expenses and revenues for this program)
  • Resources used (i.e. volunteers, staff, other funders and donors)
  • Impact and benefit to project’s target audience
  • Impact and benefit on broader community (include collaborations with other organizations/people)
  • Corporate recognition and benefits fulfilled
  • Future plans and sustainability of the program
  • Copy of the most recent audited financial statements

I believe my proposal falls within your funding criteria but it was declined. Why?

Even though your request may meet our funding criteria, funds may not be available at the time, or we may already be addressing this issue in another way.

Our organization is not a registered charity or non-profit organization, however, our project/event will benefit local charities. Are we eligible for funding?

We do not generally support third-party fundraising activities (projects or events planned by one group or organization, for the benefit of another organization).

Our organization receives United Way Centraide funding. Can we still apply for support?

We are longtime contributors to United Way Centraide across Canada. This allows us to support many organizations served within this framework. Subsequently, we generally do not provide additional funding to organizations already reached through United Way Centraide.

Do you fund programs or services outside of Canada, such as humanitarian causes, or students travelling outside of the country for education or missionary programs?

We do not support programs operating outside of Canada, or projects which have an international focus.

We are raising funds for a person or family in crisis. Can we apply for support?

We support initiatives that reach many Canadians, therefore, we do not provide support directly to individuals or their families.

How do I apply for scholarships and bursaries sponsored by your company?

We have created awards with many educational institutions across Canada, which are listed in our Public Accountability Statement. As we do not administer these awards, please contact the applicable institution directly to apply.