FAQs for Organization Activation Projects

The AFA has launched its new Organization Activation Projects grant program to support COVID-19 relaunch and recovery in the arts sector.

This program is intended to assist arts organizations with COVID-19 strategies for reopening and/or new models of service delivery.

  • Single organizations can apply for up to $20,000
  • Organizations can apply as a partnership for up to $50,000 to support a project

Browse our FAQs below to get an overview of this program and the support it can offer.

Why did the AFA launch the Organization Activation Projects grant?

  • The AFA recognizes that it continues to be an extremely difficult time for Alberta’s arts sector, and we remain committed to supporting arts organizations that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • During engagement in April 2020, the AFA heard from stakeholders about the need for sustained support for relaunch and recovery after the pandemic.

What kind of activities 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.

Is this a permanent program?

  • Yes, however, the program is designed so that the AFA can adapt the strategic intent of the program to adjust for future needs of the arts sector.
  • For this program cycle, the Organization Activation Projects program is intended to support COVID-19 recovery and relaunch projects. The intent of future program cycles will be announced at least 60 days prior to the annual application intake of December 1.

How will the AFA assess applications?

  • 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.

Can organizations partner for this grant?

  • Two or more eligible organizations may apply to collaborate on a project. One organization must be identified as the primary contact for the grant, and only one application for the project can be submitted. Multiple applications for the same project are not allowed.
  • 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.

How can we apply for this grant?

  • First, read the Organization Activation Projects program guidelines on the AFA website.
  • Make sure you are an eligible organization. Your organization must engage in public arts programming as part of its primary mandate and its core activity. 
  • The AFA only accepts applications through the GATE Front Office online application system. First-time applicants to the AFA will require a username and password. Email registrationAFA@gov.ab.ca for login information at least five business days prior to the application deadline.
  • Previous applicants for AFA funding can access the funding opportunity with their existing login information. 
  • After reading the guidelines, questions can be directed to Paul Reich , Arts Development Consultant responsible for this program at Paul.Reich@gov.ab.ca.
  • Please note that all our staff are working remotely. Please email any questions. Videoconferencing can be arranged to facilitate discussion.
  • The deadline to apply is December 1.

Why are capital costs ineligible for support?

  • Capital expenditures are ineligible for all AFA grant programs.
  • The AFA defines capital costs as expenses that include building or property purchase, capital development through construction or renovations, or the purchase of equipment designated as a capital asset.
  • As this program is intended to support one-time project-based funding, long-term investment in capital renovations or capital equipment purchases is not eligible for support.
  • Applicants seeking to enhance or increase their digital footprint or technological capacity can apply for eligible expenses such as costs associated with professional and/or skill development in the use and implementation of new technologies.

My organization applied to the Ministry of Culture’s Stabilize Phase 2 – Adapt and Innovate program. Can we also apply to the AFA for funding to support our project?

  • Yes, organizations can submit their project to the AFA for consideration provided it meets all eligibility criteria for the Organization Activation Project grant stream.
  • Organizations should be aware that activities undertaken before an application is submitted to the AFA are not eligible for consideration. Projects must not start before the application is received by the AFA.
  • Although decisions on Stabilize Phase 2 funding are still pending, if you have already started your project, it will not be eligible for consideration.
  • Applicants wishing to leverage funding from both programs must clearly demonstrate how Stabilize and AFA funds will be separately applied in their program budgets.

My organization’s mandate is not primarily focused on public arts programming, but was able to receive funding from the old OAP program. Why are we ineligible to apply now?

  • This program is designed to provide targeted support to organizations whose primary mandates are connected to the arts in Alberta.
  • Arts organizations are among those that are most severely impacted from the COVID-19 pandemic, and are anticipated as needing the most sustained support after the pandemic to ensure recovery.
  • The AFA recognizes the value of arts programming offered by all organizations in Alberta; however, in this time of extreme need and limited resources, the AFA is prioritizing support for organizations for which the arts are core to their mandates.


More information

Review the guideines for Organization Activation Projects Funding