Community Support Organizations Operating Funding

This grant provides annual funding to eligible not-for-profit community organizations that provide arts programs and services to communities, including those with limited arts opportunities.

Application Deadline
March 3, 2025

Who can apply

To be eligible for Community Support Organizations operating funding, you must:

  • have programming in artist support and development, artist training or public participation in the arts as your organization’s principal mandate as stated in its incorporation document

Your organization must:

  • be a not-for-profit organization
  • be registered and in good standing under the appropriate legislation and have been in operation in Alberta for at least two years
  • have at least 50% of the organization’s board members living in Alberta
  • demonstrate the ability to operate using good governance principles, effective administration practices,and a commitment to fiscal responsibility while maintaining its mandate
  • operate as a stand-alone arts organization at arms-length from municipalities, commercial enterprises, or organizations and institutions receiving annual operating funds from the Government of Alberta or its affiliates

Ineligible applicants

Organizations that are engaged primarily in competition-based activity are not eligible for AFA funding.

First-time applicants

If this is your organization’s first application for AFA Community Support Organizations operating funding, you must contact the AFA at least three months before the deadline for a preliminary eligibility assessment.

As a first-time applicant, your organization must provide approved financial statements that demonstrate the organization has positive net assets for the two annual fiscal periods immediately prior to application.

What does this grant support

This funding is designed to support your organization’s operations, which are specific to your organization’s mandate, strategic and/or business plan and activities as described in your application and/or reporting.

AFA operating funding typically supports expenses such as:

  • administration
  • programming
  • salaries and fees
  • maintenance of equipment and fixed assets
  • promotion
  • other expenses as required to fulfill your organization’s mandate

How to apply

We only accept applications through the Grant Administration Tracking and Evaluation (GATE) Front Office online application system. 

We must receive your online application through GATE Front Office no later than 11:59 p.m. Mountain Time on the deadline date, unless the deadline falls on a statutory holiday or a weekend when it will be extended until the next working day. Please give the system time to process your application so that the AFA receives notification of your submission before the deadline falls.

GATE Front Office username registration

First-time applicants will require a GATE Front Office username and password. Requests must be received at least five business days prior to the application deadline.

Please complete the GATE Front Office Registration form. Return as an email attachment to, quoting the funding opportunity or grant program to which you are applying.

GATE Front Office usernames and passwords will be sent to the email addresses provided on the registration form.

What to include in your application

For detailed step-by-step instructions, please download the GATE Front Office user guide.

GATE Front Office online formlets:

  • Contact List: Includes the primary contact for your application and signing authority for your organization
  • Applicant Contact Information: Includes street and mailing address
  • Organization Information: Includes the organization’s legal name, Alberta Registration number, incorporation date, and fiscal year-end
  • Organization Applicant Agreement: Includes the name and position of your legal signing authority
  • Current Board List: Includes names, titles, mailing addresses, contact information, and start dates for all current board members
  • Statement of Eligible Expenses: Using data from your most recent, board-approved financial statements, includes total expenses (eligible and ineligible), revenue, government grants, and membership information
  • Diligence Questionnaire: Ask questions about your programming, financial management, and stewardship


Attachments must be developed prior to application, using either original documents specific to your organization or preformatted AFA templates, and uploaded to your online GATE Front Office submission.

You’ll be required to complete and upload the following attachments:

How will my application be assessed

Funding awarded through this opportunity is calculated for each organization through two components:

  • your organization’s eligible expenses
  • equitable distribution of available funds to all eligible applicants

Funding for Community Support Organizations is established by the AFA Board of Directors based upon the annual AFA Budget allocated by the Government of Alberta. Department staff evaluate applications according to eligibility criteria and prepare recommendations to the board. The AFA Board of Directors reviews all funding recommendations, and all decisions are final.

When will I hear

Grant recommendations are made to the AFA board of directors. Successful recipients will be notified upon board approval, generally between four to six months from the application deadline.


Your organization is only eligible to receive support from one AFA operating funding opportunity in any given year. Funding is intended for the activities planned for your organization’s next fiscal year, based on information provided in your funding application.

Ineligible expenses for operating funding include, but are not limited to:

  • alcohol
  • amortization
  • GST expenses
  • fundraising expenses
  • bad debt and other paper losses
  • capital expenses
  • other non-cash or in-kind expenditures

The AFA or our authorized representative may examine your financial and other records to ensure funding was used for its intended purpose:

  • funding recipients must return unused portions of their grant to the AFA
  • we may require your organization to return funds if reporting requirements are not met
  • if you do not meet reporting requirements, your organization may be ineligible for further funding from the AFA for a period of three years from the time the delinquency is resolved

The AFA Fair Notice Policy applies to this funding opportunity:

  • we may cancel, suspend, reduce or demand repayment of your grant in circumstances where we are concerned with the viability of your organization

Funding acknowledgement 

Your organization must credit the AFA for financial support in any publicity prepared in relation to your organization’s activities, including electronic, print or visual material. 

  • if your organization fails to satisfy AFA recognition requirements, it may be subject to a 10% funding reduction in subsequent payments
  • subsequent infractions may result in ineligibility to apply for AFA funding opportunities

Download versions of the AFA logo and guidelines for usage.


You are required to complete and submit a satisfactory final report in GATE Front Office that demonstrates that funding awarded for the previous fiscal year was spent on the activities described in the application.

Your final report is due March 1.

We must receive your online report through GATE Front Office no later than 11:59 p.m. Mountain Time, unless the deadline falls on a statutory holiday or a weekend when it will be extended until 11:59 p.m. on the next working day. Please give the system time to process your application so we receive notification of your submission before the deadline falls.

Your organization’s final report must include:

GATE Front Office online formlets:

  • Statistical Report: Aligned with your organization’s most recent signed, board-approved financial statements and fiscal year end


  • Your organization’s most recent financial statements with Balance Sheet, Statement of Revenue and Expenditures, and Statement of Cash Flows; if your AFA grant was:
    • $25,000 or less, you must include at minimum a financial statement approved and signed by two board members plus your treasurer
    • $25,001 to $50,000, you must include at minimum a Notice to Reader financial statement provided by an independent, professionally designated accountant
    • $50,001 to $100,000, you must include at minimum a Review Engagement financial statement provided by an independent, professionally designated accountant
    • $100,001 or higher, you must include a full Audited financial statement provided by an independent, professional designated accountant
  • Copies of promotional and publicity materials from the previous year, showing compliance with AFA recognition requirements (scanned into one PDF file of no more than 4 MB)

Helpful resources

Visit the Help and Resources section of our website to:

  • download the new Front Office User Guide
  • find additional resources for organizations

You may wish to download the following resources to include as attachments with your application or final report.

For payment, you must attach a completed Direct deposit form or void cheque as part of your application:

  • Direct deposit form 
  • please note that void cheques must include the legal name and address of the organization
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