District of Thunder Bay

At the Thunder Bay Community Foundation, we understand that the needs of our community are always changing. That's why, for over 45 years, we've distributed over $4.5 million in grants, scholarships and bursaries in support of a wide variety of charitable organizations, programs and projects. Community Foundation grants are made possible through the generous endowments and gifts of local citizens.

When to Apply

Who can Apply

How to Apply

Grant Programs - Funding Available

Frequently Asked Questions

When to Apply

The Community Foundation accepts Grant Applications once a year. The opening and closing dates will be posted in the Fall. If you require information about our grants or you want to confirm if your organization or project qualifies for funding please contact our office.

  • Application Period Opening: September 1, 2019 (Noon)
  • Application Period Closing: Mid October

Who can Apply

To apply for a grant from the Thunder Bay Community Foundation, you must be a qualified donee as per the Canada Revenue Agency. Below is a list of qualified donees:

  • a registered charity (including a registered national arts service organization);
  • a registered Canadian amateur athletic association;
  • a registered housing corporation resident in Canada constituted exclusively to provide low-cost housing for the aged;
  • a registered Canadian municipality;
  • a registered municipal or public body performing a function of government in Canada;
  • a registered university outside Canada that is prescribed to be a university, the student body of which ordinarily includes students from Canada;
  • a registered charitable organization outside Canada to which Her Majesty in right of Canada has made a gift;
  • Her Majesty in right of Canada, a province, or a territory; and
  • the United Nations and its agencies.

If you received a grant in the previous year, you must complete all obligations to be able to apply for new grants.

How to Apply

This year we will be offering the application online.  Even if you submit more than one application, most forms will only need one submission except for the budget form, which you will be required to submit one for each project. You will still be required to submit the following forms:

  • Most recent Financial Statement (Unaudited statements can be used if no audited statements are available)
  • Most recent Annual Report (A report can be submitted similar to one an Executive Director would give at an AGM)
  • Project Budget (form)
  • List of Projects, Consent Form, and list of your Board of Directors (form) 

Click here to apply or fill out the form below (application opens on September 1 at noon)

Please note you cannot save the form. If you want a copy of your submission, please email MJ at Click here for a list of the questions asked.

Grants Seminar

This year we will be offering three seminars for groups of 8 to 10 people. Please email MJ at or call (807) 475-7279 if you have any questions.


  • Seminar #1 
    • To Be Determined
  • Seminar #2
    • To Be Determined
  • Seminar #3
    • To Be Determined

Location: TBCF Office (312-101 N.Syndicate Avenue; in the Chapples Building on the Northside of Victoriaville Mall)

Topics that will be discussed at the seminar include:

  • Granting Programs
  • Granting Application
  • Tips for filling out your application


General Requirements and Limitations for All Grant Programs

General Requirements

  • Applicants must be registered charities within the meaning of the Income Tax Act.
  • Applicants must do the majority of their charitable work within the District of Thunder Bay.
  • Applications may be for existing programs and services, new and innovative programs or other charitable works. Please see specific criteria for each grant as described below.
  • Applicants must demonstrate that they do not currently have the financial resources to fund the project under consideration.
  • Large provincial or national charities must demonstrate that the project is uniquely beneficial to Thunder Bay.
  • Applicants must use the funds within one year after the date of receipt. Funds must only be used to support the project specified in the successful application. If the project is ongoing, applicants must demonstrate the ability to support the project under consideration after the Foundation’s funds have been spent.
  • Applicants agree that the Foundation may review the documentation and progress of the project.
  • Previous Grant recipients must complete and return a project update on their current Grant before any new applications can be considered. If we do not receive an update or communication from you regarding your 2018-2019 grant you will become ineligible to apply for the 2019-2020 grant.
  • Applicants must recognize the Foundation in an appropriate manner. Grantees are required to follow the TBCF grant recognition procedure, please see page on TBCF site.
  • Applications for funds to be reallocated to other organizations will not be considered.

General Limitations

  • Grants are not awarded to individuals.
  • For projects that promote the aims of a specific religion, ideology or political party.
  • Grant(s) may not be awarded to a charity that does not fulfill the criteria of a previous grant.

Program Specific Requirements

Note - you may apply for one grant per category, however, you cannot use the same project in multiple categories.


Thunder Bay Community Foundation Fund 

The Thunder Bay Community Foundation Grant supports existing programs and services and new and innovative programs or other charitable works in the District of Thunder Bay. Each year the Foundation awards Grants to charitable organizations for projects in areas including, but not limited to: arts, heritage, youth, recreation, capital projects, alleviating human suffering, health and welfare and community innovation. When selecting the Thunder Bay Community Foundation General Grants applicants, our Selection Committee looks for the following elements in successful proposals:

  • Clearly states the organization’s positive contribution to its community
  • Meets current community needs
  • Shows innovation and resourcefulness
  • Is organized and well-written


Ontario Endowment for Children & Youth in Recreation Fund 

The OECYR Fund was developed in partnership with the Province of Ontario; these funds were matched by generous donations from our community. Grants from funds are available to registered charities providing recreation programs for individuals less than 18 years of age.
Community recreation includes: sport, recreation, fitness, youth leadership, camping, outdoor education, playgroups, the arts and cultural activities. When selecting OECYR Grant applicants, our Selection Committee looks for the following elements in successful proposals:

  • Providing recreation programs for individuals less than 18 years of age
  • Clearly states the organization’s positive contribution to its community
  • Meets current community needs
  • Is organized and well-written
  • Shows innovation and resourcefulness


Margaret & Arnold Westlake Foundation for the Arts Fund 

In 2009 Mr. Arnold and Mrs. Margaret Westlake established a permanent endowment to help foster new and innovative arts programs and organizations in Thunder Bay. The income generated by this fund is intended to help organizations get started or try new things. The Westlake’s were business owners in Thunder Bay and throughout the years have made significant contributions to several local arts organizations. This endowment is a result of their desire to foster a culture of arts in the City that has given them so much. Their hope is to provide exhibitions and performances to the public in the areas of visual and performing arts for years to come. When selecting the Margaret & Arnold Westlake Grant applicants, our Selection Committee and Mr. Westlake look for the following elements in successful proposals:

  • Fosters arts programs/programming
  • New or emerging arts groups are encouraged to apply
  • Is organized and well written


Hannah & Victor Stevenson Fund for Education & Arts Development

The Hannah & Victor Stevenson Fund was established by the estate of Mr. Stevenson in 2010 to partially support education and arts development. In his will Mr. Stevenson intentionally left the broadest possible interpretation of education and arts development, so that the Community Foundation could direct the income from his fund to the most pressing needs of the City. As these needs change, the Hannah and Victor Stevenson Fund will remain flexible enough to change with them. When selecting the Hannah & Victor Stevenson Grant applicants, our Selection Committee looks for the following elements in successful proposals:

  • Is for the purpose of Arts Development in the City of Thunder Bay
  • Demonstrates that Arts’ organizations are increasing their impact
  • The programs offer training, education and or development opportunities
  • Is organized, well-written and creative


Dr. S. Penny Petrone Grant 

In 2003 Dr. S. Penny Petrone established a named fund to grant to agencies that support persons with disabilities, especially the blind. In her directions for this fund Dr. Petrone wrote: “I truly believe that the able-bodied should be responsible for their own welfare. My concern is for those, who through no fault of their own, are born disabled or have become so. Thereby, I hope to make their lives a little better.” When selecting Petrone Grant applicants, our Selection Committee looks for the following elements in successful proposals:

  • Specifically benefits persons with disabilities
  • Shows innovation
  • Clearly demonstrates need
  • Is organized and well-written


Donny Ritza Fund  

In 2012 the estate of Lucy Frances Ritza created the Donny Ritza Fund to “assist in the skills development of people who are mentally challenged”. Donny is Lucy’s son and she wanted to honour his achievements by supporting those with disabilities. When selecting Donny Ritza Grant applicants, our Selection Committee looks for the following elements in successful proposals:

  • Specifically benefits persons with disabilities
  • Shows innovation
  • Clearly demonstrates need
  • Is organized and well-written


Dr. R. K. Dewar Medical Research Grant Fund  

The Dr. R. K. Dewar Medical Research Grant was established in 1987 by Ms. Helen Dewar to honour the life and work of her brother Dr. Robert Kerr Dewar.  Dr. Dewar had faith in the future and progress of medical science and had a keen interest in cutting edge research of his day. He was particularly interested in Neuro-Regeneration and Molecular Biology. When selecting R. K. Dewar Grant applicants, our Selection Committee looks for the following elements in successful proposals:

  • Addresses a small research project or marketing for a Health Care charity
  • Makes an impact on Health Care in Thunder Bay
  • Seeks to assist in the future progress of medicine.
  • Is organized and well-written.


Keri Chase Memorial Animal Welfare Fund 

The Keri Chase Foundation was formed in 2002 in memory of Keri Coleen Chase, who died in a tragic auto accident. Keri was continually helping injured and stray animals and birds of every description and was either finding them homes, or returning them to the wild from which they came. In 2013 the KCF created the Keri Chase Memorial Animal Welfare Fund at the TBCF. The grants will support animal welfare charities for specific projects, such as and not limited to spay & neutering, shelters, medical, food and general care of animals. When selecting the Keri Chase Memorial Animal Welfare Grant applicants, our Selection Committee looks for the following elements in successful proposals:

  • Specifically benefits animal welfare charities (see above)
  • Clearly demonstrates need
  • Funds cannot be used for administration costs.
  • Is organized and well-written

Obligations of Recipients

Celebrating Your Grant Results

All Grant Recipients are asked to provide the Foundation with a final report by the end of the grant year (before the following application period closing).

The process to report your grant is very simple. Please email the following to

  • Organization name
  • Project title
  • 200- to 250-word write up summarizing the outcome of the project
  • A few pictures of the project

This report is due prior to applying for a grant in the following year. If you received a grant, but have not completed the project prior to the next granting cycle, please contact the Foundation at (807) 475-7279.

Recognizing your Grant

All successful recipients must recognize their grant and each applicant must indicate how they would recognize their grant if successful. Help us support you by recognizing your grant!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a Non-Profit organization apply for a TBCF grant?
A foundation can only give to QUALIFIED DONEES. Although all charitable organization are non-profit, not all non-profits are charitable organizations.

How much can my charitable organization apply for?
This depends on the fund to which your are applying. Each fund has a specific amount of money to be granted every year. You can apply for up to the total amount available (see the Grant Program Information document for more details). However, if you apply for the whole amount, you must ensure your project has a wide reach, is innovative and addresses an issue in our community.

How much do other charitable organizations apply for?
The amount other charitable organizations apply for varies by project and by fund. For instance, the General Fund has the largest amount of funds to be granted. On average, successful grant applications for the general fund historically have been approximately $7,500. The lowest successful request was $500 and the highest successful request was $47,000.

If we have no other funding sources, can we still apply?
Yes. We ask this in the budget section as it demonstrates a form of collaboration. We also ask about other funding and whether or not the funding has been secured to ensure the project will be able to move forward. If you receive our funding, but are unsuccessful from the other sources and cannot run the project, you will have to give your grant back. This is a situation we prefer to avoid.

Our project takes place in the middle of next year, can we still apply?
As long as your project takes place before the next granting application deadline (annually mid-October), you can apply for a grant. Just remember, upon completion we need your grant report (link). This helps us ensure you used the funds as specified and gives us information that we can use to show off your organization to our donors.

If we do not receive a grant, is there a specific reason why?
Grants are not given based on a yes or no. Grants are marked by our Grant Marking Committee. The grants are then ranked based on mark (highest to lowest) and funds are given to projects until the fund runs out of money. On average, we receive 40 applications to the General Fund per year, however, only 15 to 25 grants are usually given out. The variance comes from a combination of the amount requested and the successful projects. Organizations who were not successful often call and ask how they can improve their application for next year. Unfortunately, this is not a question we can answer as it is a matter of the Grant Marking Committee's priorities and the other applications.

If we didn't finish a project for which we received funding last year, can we still apply for funding this year?
You must contact the Foundation ASAP, where the determination will be made.