Feature Funder: J.W. McConnell Family Foundation

Multi-Cultural Society — Image by © Don Hammond/Design Pics/Corbis

Happy, happy Friday Funds Fans!  Our feature funder this week provides a significant amount of grant funds annually in four strategic areas: Inclusion, Sustainability, Resilience and Innovation.   The vision at the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation is a Canada where all people feel a sense of belonging and contribute as active citizens to improving the well-being of all.

Foundation initiatives are generally multi-year collaborations that align the efforts of several partners, including other funders, to achieve change in a particular domain. However, they welcome proposals that recognize sport as a tool for creating more inclusive communities, and seek to make large-scale impacts.  Through the Sport for Development initiative, the Foundation envisions a network of community leaders who actively use sports programs to bring together people from diverse backgrounds, to reinforce healthy lifestyles and to foster both civic pride and participation – all building blocks of a resilient community – with particular emphasis on reaching vulnerable individuals and communities.

The Foundation is also committed to supporting the engagement of young people as active participants, recognizing their unique perspectives, skills, and values.  The Engaging Youth program distinguishes between adult-led activities directed at young people, and projects or organizations initiated and run by youth themselves.  The Foundation will consider proposals from youth-led organizations and networks that engage a range of youth in addressing major social issues.

Unsolicited proposals will be considered via their online application process.  Once they are reviewed, you may receive a request for a full proposal or be filed for possible future consideration.  If the proposal falls outside of their granting guidelines, it will be declined.

Please note, the Foundation also makes a limited number of responsive grants in line with its mission and program priorities.  Application information is here.

A joint project of the McConnell and Maytree Foundations, working with government, private and community sector partners is the ALLIES (Assisting Local Leaders with Immigrant Employment Strategies) program which supports local efforts in Canadian cities to successfully adapt and implement programs that further the suitable employment of skilled immigrants. Through ALLIES, the Foundation envisions a society in which new immigrants are better able to share their talent and creativity in a way that appropriately recognizes their professional experience. This would contribute both to their own well-being and, ultimately, a more prosperous and resilient Canada.

ALLIES provides three kinds of funding support. They are:

Start-Up Grants – to create or set up an immigrant employment council where none exists in large urban centres in Canada.  Funding proposals must come from, or be sponsored by, a registered charity with the objective of creating a collaborative of city leaders, agencies and local employers dedicated to conceptualizing and implementing local immigrant employment solutions. Funding preference will be given to those applications where there is evidence of interest/participation of essential partners. An eligible community is one that is:

  • experiencing labour market growth and demand and are home to a community of skilled but underemployed immigrants; OR
  • experiencing labour market growth and need to attract and retain skilled immigrants to strengthen and grow their economy.

Grant amount: One-time grants of up to $60,000 will be awarded to organizations to establish an immigrant employment council and implement an action-oriented project.

Resource Grants – to build capacity, expand programs, engage in employer outreach or advance policy perspectives in existing immigrant employment councils/networks.  These funds will be granted to immigrant employment councils or networks. In all cases, ALLIES will have a pre-established relationship with these councils or networks.

Eligible activities include:

  • building and expanding local programs aimed at ensuring that skilled immigrants are attached to suitable employment
  • advancing policy and program perspectives (convening policy tables and producing policy briefs or position papers which provide concrete recommendations and solutions grounded in the local context)
  • undertaking various forms of employer outreach to connect local employers to skilled immigrants

Grant amount: One-time grants ranging from $25,000 to $100,000 will be awarded.

Innovation Grants – to test new, innovative and strategic immigrant employment solutions with other stakeholders.  These funds will be granted to any registered charity that creates a new, innovative and strategic solution that helps skilled immigrants overcome the systemic barriers they face when seeking employment

Eligible activities include:

  • new ways of connecting skilled immigrants to employers
  • new ways of engaging small and medium-sized businesses
  • new ways of using communications and media for building public education and awareness around immigrant employment
  • new ways of engaging Canada’s mainstream institutions (health, education, law, media, regulatory and licensing bodies etc.) in immigrant employment solutions
  • other ideas

Grant amount: One-time grants of up to $100,000 will be awarded.

Of particular interest to ALLIES are partnerships with organizations/stakeholders that are not currently involved in our efforts, who have national reach and/or whose ideas can have impact on the national context.  Please send your letter of interest and or questions about ALLIES funding to Peter Paul at ppaul@maytree.com.

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