Catalyst program

The Law Foundation of Ontario understands the importance of providing stable core funding to nonprofit organizations working to provide essential services and fill important gaps in the justice sector.

The Foundation’s new Catalyst program will provide any nonprofit organization working to advance access to justice with an opportunity to apply for up to $150,000 per year of core funding for three years.

The Foundation will make a call for applications only once per three-year cycle. Each successful grantee will receive a one-year grant, which is renewable for another two years. The Board of Trustees will review the status of the work annually and, providing things are proceeding appropriately, will renew the grant for a second (and then a third) year.

Why provide core funding?

Core funding refers to financial support to cover administrative infrastructure, programs, and essential staff.

The Catalyst program will provide core funding as a means to support improvements to programs and services and expanded access to justice. By virtue of Foundation funding, Catalyst grantees will have an improved ability to adapt, innovate, take advantage of opportunities, and respond to emerging needs. This may include developing new service and program models, collaborating with different partners, or learning from what they have already done. The focus is on supporting efforts, including capacity building efforts, that will have a positive impact on access to justice in Ontario.

A different relationship between grantee and funder

The success of this program will depend on an honest and transparent relationship between Catalyst grantees and the Foundation. Beginning with the application process, and throughout the three-year funding cycle, we anticipate open discussions about community needs, strategies to respond to those needs, outcomes, and learnings. We hope to support grantees and better understand the impact of our funding in ways that will strengthen the access to justice sector as a whole.

The Foundation’s longstanding commitment to core funding

The Foundation has provided core funding to a small group of nonprofits for many years. Some of these organizations were created by the Foundation and some have received Foundation funding since their inception. Through our work with this group and our continuing efforts to understand our grantmaking, we have seen how core funding can support innovation, evolution, and new ideas about how to meet the access to justice needs of Ontarians.

As part of the Catalyst program, Foundation grantees who already receive core funding will be able to apply for amounts in line with what they have previously received from the Foundation.

Beyond the first three years

Before the end of the three-year funding cycle, the Foundation will launch another call for applications. Success in the first round of the Catalyst program does not ensure success in future calls. There is no assurance of ongoing funding beyond the three-year cycle.