Organization Activation Projects Funding

This funding assists not-for-profit organizations by providing a grant to support COVID-19 relaunch and recovery in the arts sector through capacity building, strategic planning, audience development, or one-time partnerships that fall outside of regular or ongoing administrative practices or programming.

Application Deadline
December 1, 2021

Who can apply

To be eligible for funding, an applicant must be a not-for-profit organization with public arts programming as its primary mandate and as stated in its incorporation documents.

Eligible organizations must also:

  • Have at least 50% of the organization’s board members living in Alberta.
  • Engage in on-going development, implementation and promotion of fine arts programming as its core primary activity.
  • Employ at least one full-time equivalent administrative and/or artistic staff member for the minimum duration of its programming season.
  • Be a not-for-profit organization, operating in Alberta for at least two years and in good standing under the appropriate legislation.
  • Demonstrate adherence to good governance principles, efficient administration practices and commitment to fiscal responsibility.
  • Demonstrate financial stability, in the judgment of the AFA, for at least two years prior to application.
  • Organizations must be in good standing with the AFA and the Ministry of Culture and Status of Women.
  • Organizations must have satisfied any reporting requirements for previous AFA or Ministry funding.
  • Organizations may only submit one application to each deadline, including those related to partnership activities.
  • Organizations must operate at arm’s length from municipalities, commercial enterprises or schools
  • Organizations must carry out public arts programming in one or more of the following areas:
    • Self-created and self-produced work for public presentation in any fine arts discipline
    • Artist support and artist development training
    • Artistic presentation in the performing, visual, literary, film and video arts that are open and available to the general public
    • Indigenous arts, culturally diverse arts programming, and arts programming that supports traditionally underserved communities

Partnership projects

Two or more organizations that satisfy the eligibility criteria may apply to collaborate on a project. A partnership project must be submitted through one primary organization. The primary organization must designate the main contact for all requirements of the grant.

Partnership projects must demonstrate that:

  • Control and responsibilities in the partnership are shared equally amongst all partners.
  • Knowledge and practices will be shared and exchanged for the benefit of all project partners.
  • The partnership results in activity that is beyond the normal programming of partnering organizations
  • The project could not be otherwise completed without the existence of the partnership

Ineligible applicants

Ineligible applicants are:

  • Municipalities
  • Commercial enterprises or for profit companies
  • Schools
  • Organizations that are not arm’s length from municipalities, commercial enterprises or schools
  • Organizations that engage primarily in competition-based activity
  • Organizations that do not meet the eligibility criteria in the section above

What does this grant support

Eligible COVID-19 reactivation projects may be in one of the following areas:

  • Audience development, retention, and accessibility; may include diversity and inclusion practices.
  • Communications strategies; may include marketing.
  • Redefining sponsor, donor, and fundraising relationships.
  • Revamping online presence; may include restructure or new capabilities, excluding capital purchases.
  • Adapting technical capacity, excluding capital purchases.
  • Staff and board training on new competencies or post COVID-19 competencies.
  • Organizational restructuring.

Ineligible projects

  • Projects that are part of an applicant organization’s normal operations or normal public programming
  • Activities undertaken before an application is submitted to this project grant stream; projects must not start before the application is received by the AFA
  • Activities in the areas of applied arts (culinary, architecture, interior design, graphic arts, commercial photography, gaming, fashion design, etc.), commercial variety acts (face painting, balloon entertainers, fireworks/pyrotechnics, hypnotism, etc.), competitive performances and activities at social events
  • Cultural industry activities (for example, book and magazine publishing, sound recording activities)
  • Activities presented as part of primarily social events, including, but not limited to, fundraisers, rodeos, stampedes, grandstand performances, trade fairs, parades, meals, conventions, community dances, and student union cabarets

Eligible expenses

The maximum grant available will not exceed $20,000 for a single applicant organization, or $50,000 for partnership applications. Applicants may apply for up to 100% of eligible expenses that are verifiable and directly related to carrying out the proposed project.

Eligible project expenses include any combination of the following:

  • costs associated with the above listed activities over and above normal operations.
  • costs for dissemination of above plans
  • costs of audience and market development
  • equipment rental costs
  • costs for staff professional development
  • costs for building organizational capacity
  • research costs
  • external consulting fees or contract costs associated with project implementation
  • other expenses considered by the AFA to be reasonable and necessary

Ineligible expenses

Additional expenses and activities that are ineligible for funding include:

  • Permanent or existing staff positions, including prorated salaries and/or time of existing staff allocated to project expense
  • Expenses typically associated with regular or ongoing operations or programming.
  • Purchase of any equipment or other capital assets; however, funds for training and professional development to support the use of new technologies and equipment are eligible.
  • Purchases such as buildings or property, or capital development such as construction or renovations.
  • Mortgage payments, amortization, and/or loan payments.
  • Bad debt and other paper losses or debt reduction
  • Expenses already funded through other Government of Alberta grant programs
  • Commercial variety acts such as face painting, balloon entertainers, fireworks, hypnotism

How to apply

The AFA only accepts applications through the Grant Administration Tracking and Evaluation (GATE) online application system. The AFA must receive online applications through GATE no later than 11:59 pm Mountain Standard 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 the submission so the AFA receives notification before the deadline closes. Applications received after 11:59 pm of the deadline date will not be considered.

  • Applicants may submit only one application for this program
  • The AFA does not accept incomplete applications
  • Applications must be received prior to the commencement of the project
  • Partnership projects involving more than one organization must be submitted by the primary organization applicant; separate organization applications will not be accepted for the same project
  • Applicants applying as part of a partnership project are not eligible to submit additional project proposals

GATE username registration

First-time applicants will require a GATE username and password. Contact the AFA via email ( to obtain GATE login information at least five business days prior to the application deadline

Please include:

  1. Organization’s legal incorporated name
  2. Funding opportunity to which the organization is applying
  3. Applicant’s email address and contact information

The organization’s GATE user name and password will be sent to the email address provided.

What to include in the application

  • For detailed step-by-step instructions, please download the GATE user guide for this funding opportunity.

Complete the GATE Applicant Profile section with all required information. Follow the step by step instructions contained in the user guide for this program.

GATE online forms

  • a listing of primary and secondary contact persons and signing authority designate for the application
  • the organization’s registration details, including Alberta Registration number, Canadian Charitable Registration number (if applicable) and incorporation date
  • a brief project description (20 words) indicating the nature of the work to be done and project start and end dates
  • an Applicant Agreement with e-signature of signing authority designate for the organization
  • a project budget detailing expenditures and non-AFA revenues in Canadian dollars
  • the difference between expenditures and revenues will comprise the grant request to the AFA and cannot exceed $25,000 (or $50,000 for partnerships)


The GATE attachment section indicates that not all attachments are required for submission as they may only be required for certain types of projects (e.g. marketing plan for a marketing project).

It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that all attachments noted in the guidelines are submitted with the application.

The applicant will be required to complete and upload the following attachments:

  • a detailed description of the project, including an outline of the objectives, planned activities, timelines and expected results and benefits
  • the organization’s most recent annual financial statements with balance sheet, statement of revenues and expenditures and statement of cash flows
  • a confirmation of the filing of the organization’s most recent return for Alberta Corporate Registry
  • when applicable, travel itineraries, confirmation of attendance at events, conferences or course of trainings
  • when applicable, a detailed marketing plan
  • for partnership projects, a copy of the contract or letter of agreement that indicates the responsibilities of each partner, and the knowledge, resources and experience that each will contribute
  • additional support materials that may assist in the assessment process. These may include but are not limited to, promotional literature, programs, or newsletters
    • Wherever possible, support material should be uploaded as an attachment into GATE (up to 4 MB)
    • all video and audio files must be Windows compatible, MP3 and MP4 files are preferred
    • If your large video or audio files cannot be uploaded directly under the Attachments page in GATE, an email including a link to a non-password protected download link (low res is actually better) must be emailed directly to the consultant responsible for this program (see contact information below). Links need to be active for at least five months post deadline. Please label all media files with organization name and project number.
    • Alternatively, organizations can mail a USB drive to 10708 – 105 Ave, Edmonton, AB, T5H 0A1. Include your organization name and project number on the USB drive.
    • Video or audio support material must be received prior to the application deadline for inclusion with the application.
  • VOID cheque or direct deposit form


Applications for partnership projects must be submitted through one primary organization. The primary organization must designate the main contact for all requirements of the funding

Each organization involved in a partnership project must submit financial statements and confirmation of their corporate registries return.

How will my application be assessed

Staff convene an expert panel to consider all eligible grant applications submitted. The expert panel assesses the merit of each application both on its own terms and in relation to all other applications received for a given deadline.

Assessment of a project is based on the following general criteria:

  • The project’s relevance to the relaunch and recovery post COVID-19
  • Long-term impacts of the project on the organization’s ability to support diverse audiences and traditionally underserved communities
  • Impact of the project and how it enhances the capacity of the applicant(s)
  • Appropriateness of the project budget, including evidence of in-kind and/or financial contributions from the applicant(s)
  • Ability of the applicant(s) to carry out the proposed project, including performance and achievements of the applicant(s) to date
  • Long-term impact and legacy of the project once the project has been finished. An explicit explanation and outline of the benefits resulting from this funding is strongly encouraged.         

All expert panel recommendations are reviewed by the AFA and all decisions are final. Funding is not assured for any project.

When will I hear

Applicants will be notified in writing of the result of their application within four months of the application deadline.


Funding is intended for the purposes described in the application. By accepting funding, the organization agrees to undertake the project as proposed in the original project description.

If the organization does not receive the full grant amount requested, it is still required to complete the project as proposed if the organizations accepts the grant.

The organization must return grant funds if the project cannot be completed as proposed.

If the organization requires a change to the project including outcomes or an extension to the final report due date:

  • It must submit a request in writing for approval by the AFA
  • The request must be submitted to the consultant responsible for this program PRIOR to the change being made and/or before the project completion date
  • The AFA may consider a single extension per funding opportunity

Funding recipients are responsible for informing the AFA of how funds were spent and outcomes of the project:

  • The organization must return funds if reporting requirements are not met
  • The organization must return unused portions of funding to the AFA

Any grant recipient who does not fulfil any conditions associated with a grant will be made delinquent and may be ineligible for further funding from the AFA for a period of three years from the time the delinquency is resolved.

The AFA will retain all materials submitted with grant applications.

The AFA or its authorized representative may examine a grant recipient's financial and other records to ensure that the grant has been used for its intended purpose.

The AFA does not provide advances for any grant.

Funding acknowledgement

Whenever possible, organizations must acknowledge the AFA for financial support in any publicity prepared in relation to the project, including electronic, print or visual material.

Download versions of the AFA logo and guidelines for usage.

Failure to satisfy the AFA recognition requirements may result in the cancellation of the grant and the requirement to return all of the funding.


The AFA requires a complete and satisfactory final report submitted to GATE that demonstrates funding awarded was spent on the activities described in the application.

The final report is due on the date noted in the successful notification document, 60 days from the project completion date set by the applicant.

The final report must include:

  • A completed statistical information form, containing information about the project
  • A completed project outcomes report
  • A complete and accurate financial accounting for the project based on the original budget submission
  • A description of the results of the project, with an evaluation of its success in relation to the original objectives and outreach as stated in the application
  • Copies of promotional materials related to the project, such as posters and programs. Funding credit to the Alberta Foundation for the Arts must be shown where appropriate
  • Any reviews, publications, invitations and/or catalogues in which the project is mentioned