FAQ – Responsive grant

Frequently asked questions (FAQ) – Responsive grant program

Eligibility to apply

  1. Do we have to be a registered charity in order to apply for a grant?
    No, you need only be a nonprofit corporation, university or community college. If you are a nonprofit with charitable status, please include your registered charity number on your application.
  1. I am a student applying to law school. Can I apply to the Foundation for a scholarship?
    The Foundation does not provide scholarships to students.
  1. Can an individual apply for a grant?
    No, applications need to be made by a nonprofit organization, a university or a community college.
  1. Can an unincorporated committee apply for a grant?
    Yes, if administration of the grant can be done through an appropriate accountability structure, e.g. through a law firm in trust or an incorporated nonprofit. If your grant request is approved, the Foundation will require you and your partner to provide a Memorandum of Agreement that sets out clear roles and responsibilities for each of you.
  1. Does a proposed project have to benefit more than one geographic community in order to meet the Foundation’s requirement to “provide a benefit to Ontario”?
    A project can benefit either a single geographic community or several – what matters is that a benefit is provided somewhere in the province.
  1. Can an organization outside Ontario apply to the Foundation for a grant?
    Yes, organizations based outside Ontario can apply to the Foundation for a grant if the proposed project offers a benefit to the people of Ontario.
  1. We want to apply for a grant jointly with another organization – can we do this?
    Yes, we will accept joint applications. However, you must indicate clearly which organization will assume lead responsibility for the grant if it is approved (this is the organization that will be expected to sign the Foundation’s Letter of Agreement).

Application process

  1. My grant proposal may cost more than $15,000. Can I submit applications to both the Small grant and Major grant processes to increase my chances of getting funding?  Is there a limit on the number of applications we can make to the Foundation’s Responsive grants program?
    The Foundation will consider multiple applications from one organization; however, we recommend that you submit only one application per project. Please review the How to apply section of the Foundation’s website, including the application schedule, and choose the process that best meets your needs.
  1. My organization needs funding to support core activities, not a project. Can I apply to the Responsive grants program?
    No. The Foundation provides funding to support the core activities of nonprofits working to advance access to justice through the Catalyst program [hyperlink]. Applications for core funding should be made to that program according to the application schedule and not to the Responsive grants program.
  1. What happens after my Letter of Intent is received?
    The Foundation will consider whether to invite a full application. It will advise you whether or not a full application is invited. Once a full application is invited and received, the Foundation will decide whether to make the grant.
  1. Do you have a fixed amount of available funding that is allocated to specific geographic regions?
    No. Applications from any area of the province are welcome.
  1. Do you have a fixed amount of funding allocated to each of your four statutory objects (legal research, legal education, legal aid, law libraries)?
  1. We have an idea for a pilot project that could be three years long. Do we have to apply for all three years’ worth of funding at once, or do we have to apply at the start of each year?
    You do not have to apply on an annual basis for a project that will last longer than one year. You could submit a single application for the three-year pilot project, or you could apply in phases. For example, if you have an idea for a large project but can’t develop the full project plan until a needs assessment or background research is done, you could start with a smaller application first for the initial development phase, which could be used to then develop the larger application for the full project.
  1. Do you require an applicant to find funding from other sources?
    We encourage partnerships with other funders but it is not a requirement. We encourage all applicants to contribute in-kind services.
  1. If we have identified other potential funders for our project idea, do you require us to provide confirmation of their commitment before you will consider our application to you?
    No, you do not need to have a commitment from your other funder(s), but you must indicate in your application to us which other funder(s) you are approaching, the amount you are requesting from them, and the status of your application to them.
  1. Do you require an applicant to have other partners involved in the implementation of the project?
    No. However, we  do encourage  partnerships. If, in your application, you indicate the intent to partner with another organization, you should include a letter of commitment from the partner(s).

Eligible costs

  1. I understand that you do not fund ongoing programs that are already established. What about an expansion to an existing program, or trying out a new way of delivering the same program?
    Yes, the Foundation would consider a proposal to pilot the adaptation of an existing program (for example in another geographic area) or to pilot a new way of delivering an existing program.
  1. Will you fund core operating costs associated with a project? If so, do you fund on the basis of a set percentage of total project costs?
    Yes, we will fund core operating costs if they can be shown to be directly related to the project. Rather than cover such costs on the basis of a flat percentage, we prefer to fund on the basis of actual need, so your application should demonstrate the connection between the project and the expense.
  1. I understand that the Foundation will not fund capital expenditures. Are office furniture or computer equipment considered to be capital expenditures?
    We will not fund capital expenditures for immoveable assets (i.e., buildings). Usually, applicant organizations will be expected to include equipment or office furniture expenses as in-kind contributions.
  1. We are developing an idea for a large project one component of which we think might fall within your mandate. Can we apply to the Foundation for just that portion of the project?
  1. We are developing an application for a pilot project. To help us secure future funding, evaluation results showing the pilot to be successful would be extremely helpful. Can we include the cost of an evaluation in our application?
    Yes, the cost of evaluation is an eligible project expense because we believe evaluation results are of value not just to the Foundation but also can help grantees to improve the program and in seeking out other funding sources. Remember, too, that an evaluation does not need to be an expensive, time-consuming undertaking. The evaluation plan should be commensurate with the size and nature of the project being funded.
  1. We would like to bring a test case. Can we apply to the Foundation for funding?
    No. The Foundation will not fund litigation.
  1. We would like to lobby government to make needed changes to the legislative and policy environment surrounding our legal issue. Can we apply to the Foundation for funding?
    No. The Foundation will not fund costs directly related to lobbying, advocating or promoting a particular position on a legal or public policy issue.
  1. Does the Foundation fund conferences or symposiums?
    While in the past the Foundation funded conferences and similar events, as the Foundation is experiencing prolonged reduced revenues, the funding of such events is not a current priority.

University/college applications

Note that the Foundation provides an annual comprehensive grant to each Ontario Faculty of Law. The grants fund projects and programs that fall within the Foundation’s funding guidelines including providing experiential learning for students, responding to access to justice needs of vulnerable communities, and fostering diversity in the legal profession. As such, and since the Foundation has been experiencing reduced revenues, it generally does not provide additional funding for law school initiatives.

  1. I am a faculty member at an Ontario university and would like to apply to you for a research project. Does the Foundation require institutional sign-off on the application?
    We request that you include confirmation that your department/faculty head or other appropriate institutional authority is aware of your application.
  1. I am a university researcher and am working on a book on a legal issue. Can I apply to the Foundation for funding to cover my research and writing costs?The Foundation generally does not fund individual books.
  1. In order to carry out a research project, I will need two course releases. Can I include the cost of a replacement instructor to cover my course releases?
    As a general matter, absent special circumstances, full time faculty at a college or university will not be personally compensated for research undertaken on a project that falls within their own research agenda and/or their institutional research obligations. However, we will fund other expenses associated with the proposed research, including the hiring of students as research assistants.
  1. Do you fund “indirect costs” which are applied to grants by my university/college?
    Generally, no. The Law Foundation of Ontario does not usually fund indirect costs applied by universities or colleges to recover administrative overhead for the project.
  1. Can development officers contact the Foundation to discuss potential or ongoing grant applications on behalf of researchers?
    The Law Foundation of Ontario prefers to directly communicate with the individual who is proposing or conducting the research in case there are specific questions about the project. However, a development officer is welcome to join the primary researcher on any calls that may be scheduled.

After a grant application is approved

  1. Our grant application has been approved – what happens next?
    You will be asked to review and sign a standard Letter of Agreement (click here to see an example in PDF), which may also have special conditions attached that are specific to your grant. In general, the first instalment is paid soon after receipt of the signed Letter of Agreement, and remaining instalments are paid in accordance with the schedule drawn up to suit your particular project.
  1. What is the payment schedule?
    The payment schedule is developed taking into consideration the information provided in the work plan included in the grant application, and often also in consultation with the grantee. In general, the Foundation makes payments in advance, in accordance with each grantee’s needs, and subject to any special conditions of approval being met. The Foundation makes every effort to accommodate special requirements (for instance, where significant expenses have to be incurred at an early stage of the project). For all projects, the final payment is a hold-back instalment (typically 10% of the total grant) that is paid out on receipt of the final report.
  1. What are your reporting requirements?
    All grantees are required to submit written activity reports, as well as budget-to-actual financial reports, over the course of the project. A full final report is required in order to receive payment of the final grant instalment. Instalment payments are always conditional upon receipt of required reports, in accordance with the schedule established between the Foundation and the grantee.  The timing and frequency of reporting is tailored to the circumstances of each project. More information about the Foundation’s reporting requirements can be found here.