NOTE: Please consult the list of participating community foundations to see whether your community foundation is still accepting applications. Limited amounts of funding remain available, with some local foundations already exceeding their current available funding.

About the ECSF & CFC

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

Which partner should I apply to?

  • Community Foundations of Canada Local community foundations across Canada will accept and assess applications from qualified donees. Organizations can submit their applications through our online grants portal  Organizations who cannot apply online can call CFC for information about submitting a paper application. 
  • United Way Centraide Canada – Local United Way Centraide members will accept and assess grant applications from charities through local portals. In some cases, local United Way Centraide members may also support 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 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

Am I eligible to apply to CFC or a community foundation?

The ECSF run by CFC will support 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. Qualified donees should be in touch with their local community foundation to learn more about available grant sizes. If your area is not served by a community foundation and you are interested to apply to the Fund, contact us at

Applicants will be 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

Can a national or regional charity apply to the ECSF? 

At CFC, we want to shift power to those who best know the needs of our communities and to empower decision-making at the local level. Local community foundations will be making grant decisions based on the needs of their vulnerable populations impacted by COVID-19.  

National or regional charities should apply to the local community foundation where their project activities will take place. This includes virtual programming. The only scenario where applicants may apply to Community Foundations of Canada as their local community foundation is if there is no local community foundation where the project activities take place.

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

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

Specifically, eligible projects will:

  • 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.

How to Apply/ Receive Funding

Video: How to use the ECSF SMApply Portal

For more information on how to apply for funding, view the recording of our webinar on application procedures, presented in collaboration with Economic and Social Development Canada (ESDC), the Canadian Red Cross, and United Way Centraide Canada. Applications can be completed through our SMApply Application Portal.

When are applications due?

Applications may be submitted starting on May 19 until July 27, 2020 for activities occurring between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021. CFC and community foundations will review, assess applications and award funding on a weekly basis during this period.  As community foundations reach their funding limits, they will no longer be accepting applications. Please consult the list of participating community foundations to verify whether your community foundation is still accepting applications. If you would like to be notified should additional funds become available, please complete the following form.

How do I apply for ECSF funding from a community foundation? 

If you are eligible and would like to apply, please reach out to your local community foundation to discuss your project and application.  Applicants can make multiple applications to the same Community Foundation for different projects. If your project takes place in multiple locations, you may also submit applications to several Community Foundations, where the project takes place.

When you are ready to apply, please visit the Application Portal. Please review this video for instructions and help with submitting your application.

If your organization is located in an area that is not served by a community foundation and you are interested in applying, please contact CFC at

Where do I submit my ECSF application?

You can submit your application on the online portal. Select your local community foundation and if you cannot find your local community foundation please select Community Foundations of Canada

When can I expect to receive results?

Applications are received and evaluated on a rolling basis.  Applicants should learn the results of their application within 10 business days.