Applying for a grant: what you need to know
The Law Foundation of Ontario invites applications for its Responsive program.
Responsive grants enable The Law Foundation of Ontario to fund ideas generated by nonprofit community groups to improve access to justice. Responsive grants aim to encourage new ideas, approaches, and relationships that can help address emerging needs and connect more people to legal information and supports, especially people who are not currently being reached.
New in 2021
We have merged our previous Small and Major Responsive grants into a single stream, with a single application process and timeline. See the tabs on this webpage for further details about these changes.
The Law Foundation of Ontario makes grants to advance access to justice. Grants are made to nonprofit organizations that work to benefit the people of Ontario.
Among other considerations, the Foundation will be looking for applications to demonstrate that the:
- Proposed work is a project – a time-limited set of activities that will achieve a particular goal, including but not limited to innovations, start-ups, or seed funding for new initiatives
- Proposed work is not for a commercial venture
- Requesting organization has the skills and experience to plan and carry out the project
- Applicant is ready to be fully accountable to the Foundation for monies granted
Applications should ensure that the specific amount requested reflects a demonstrated need for the activities and a reasonable budget for the proposed activities.
There are two tiers of funding available:
- Up to $25K
- $25K to $100K
NEW this year, we will have a single call for applications for Responsive grants.
Complete the application form and submit it by April 30, 5:00 p.m. EST to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Download the application form in Word format here: Responsive Application Form
Applicants will be notified of the Foundation's decision by the end of June.
For more information, please email a Grants Officer.
Frequently asked questions
Eligibility to apply
No, you need only be a nonprofit corporation, university or community college. If you are a nonprofit with charitable status, please include your registered charity number on your application.
The Foundation does not provide scholarships to students.
No, applications need to be made by a nonprofit organization, a university or a community college.
Yes, if administration of the grant can be done through an appropriate accountability structure, e.g. through a law firm in trust or an incorporated nonprofit. If your grant request is approved, the Foundation will require you and your partner to provide a Memorandum of Agreement that sets out clear roles and responsibilities for each of you.
A project can benefit either a single geographic community or several – what matters is that a benefit is provided somewhere in the province.
Yes, organizations based outside Ontario can apply to the Foundation for a grant if the proposed project offers a benefit to the people of Ontario.
Yes, we will accept joint applications. However, you must indicate clearly which organization will assume lead responsibility for the grant if it is approved (this is the organization that will be expected to sign the Foundation’s Letter of Agreement).
The Foundation will consider multiple applications from one organization; however, we recommend that you submit only one application per project.
No. The Foundation provides funding to support the core activities of nonprofits working to advance access to justice through the Catalyst program. Applications for core funding should be made to that program according to the application schedule and not to the Responsive program.
No. Applications from any area of the province are welcome.
No. We will fund a variety of projects at different budget levels based on their merit. We have not set aside a specific amount for each funding tier. All applications will be triaged and assessed at the same time.
You do not have to apply on an annual basis for a project that will last longer than one year. You could submit a single application for the three-year pilot project, or you could apply in phases. For example, if you have an idea for a large project but can’t develop the full project plan until a needs assessment or background research is done, you could start with a smaller application first for the initial development phase, which could be used to then develop the larger application for the full project.
We encourage partnerships with other funders but it is not a requirement. We encourage all applicants to contribute in-kind services.
No, you do not need to have a commitment from your other funder(s), but you must indicate in your application to us which other funder(s) you are approaching, the amount you are requesting from them, and the status of your application to them.
No. However, we do encourage partnerships. If, in your application, you indicate the intent to partner with another organization, you should include a letter of commitment from the partner(s).
Yes, the Foundation would consider a proposal to pilot the adaptation of an existing program (for example in another geographic area) or to pilot a new way of delivering an existing program.
Yes, we will fund core operating costs if they can be shown to be directly related to the project. Rather than cover such costs on the basis of a flat percentage, we prefer to fund on the basis of actual need, so your application should demonstrate the connection between the project and the expense.
We will not fund capital expenditures for immoveable assets (i.e., buildings). Usually, applicant organizations will be expected to include equipment or office furniture expenses as in-kind contributions.
Yes, the cost of evaluation is an eligible project expense because we believe evaluation results are of value not just to the Foundation but also can help grantees to improve the program and in seeking out other funding sources. Remember, too, that an evaluation does not need to be an expensive, time-consuming undertaking. The evaluation plan should be commensurate with the size and nature of the project being funded.
No. The Foundation will not fund litigation.
No. The Foundation will not fund costs directly related to lobbying, advocating or promoting a particular position on a legal or public policy issue.
While in the past the Foundation funded conferences and similar events, as the Foundation is experiencing prolonged reduced revenues, the funding of such events is not a current priority.
We request that you include confirmation that your department/faculty head or other appropriate institutional authority is aware of your application.
The Foundation generally does not fund individual books.
As a general matter, absent special circumstances, full time faculty at a college or university will not be personally compensated for research undertaken on a project that falls within their own research agenda and/or their institutional research obligations. However, we will fund other expenses associated with the proposed research, including the hiring of students as research assistants.
Generally, no. The Law Foundation of Ontario does not usually fund indirect costs applied by universities or colleges to recover administrative overhead for the project.
The Law Foundation of Ontario prefers to directly communicate with the individual who is proposing or conducting the research in case there are specific questions about the project. However, a development officer is welcome to join the primary researcher on any calls that may be scheduled.
After a grant application is approved
You will be asked to review and sign a standard Letter of Agreement (click here to see an example in PDF), which may also have special conditions attached that are specific to your grant. In general, the first instalment is paid soon after receipt of the signed Letter of Agreement, and remaining instalments are paid in accordance with the schedule drawn up to suit your particular project.
The payment schedule is developed taking into consideration the information provided in the work plan included in the grant application, and often also in consultation with the grantee. In general, the Foundation makes payments in advance, in accordance with each grantee’s needs, and subject to any special conditions of approval being met. The Foundation makes every effort to accommodate special requirements (for instance, where significant expenses have to be incurred at an early stage of the project). For all projects, the final payment is a hold-back instalment (typically 10% of the total grant) that is paid out on receipt of the final report.
All grantees are required to submit written activity reports, as well as budget-to-actual financial reports, over the course of the project. A full final report is required in order to receive payment of the final grant instalment. Instalment payments are always conditional upon receipt of required reports, in accordance with the schedule established between the Foundation and the grantee. The timing and frequency of reporting is tailored to the circumstances of each project. Visit our Reporting requirements & templates webpage for more information about reporting requirements.