2019 ChangeUp

We’re excited to announce that ChangeUp has had a makeover. Previous Inspirit grantees and Learning Opportunities fellows are now eligible for increased funding and additional training to support projects and professional growth.

Voir et télécharger un pdf de les lignes directrices et FAQ en français ici.

View and download a pdf of the guidelines and FAQs in English here

Inspirit will support young Indigenous, Muslim, and racialized people (18-34 years-old) working in media and arts to grow their potential as leaders, creative catalysts, and agents of social change.

Eight to twelve (8-12) grants are available, each worth up to $25,000. Funding can be used for a combination of media and arts-based projects and self-selected capacity-building activities. Projects must seek to challenge discrimination and advance engagement with ethnic, racial, or religious diversity to foster pluralism in Canada. Selected grantees will join a cohort that will receive additional leadership training and networking opportunities through 2020. 

ChangeUp Goals:

  • Strengthen and amplify the leadership of young, Indigenous, Muslim, and racialized people who use media, or arts and culture, as tools for social change.
  • Grow compelling and creative projects that spark new narratives, build and shift power in communities, and foster pluralism in Canada


To Apply for ChangeUp 2019 You Must:

  • Be a previous Inspirit grantee or Learning Opportunities fellow.
  • Be between the ages of 18-34 and the majority of your team must identify as Indigenous, Muslim, or racialized.
  • Be leading a project that uses media and arts to advance engagement with ethnic, racial, or religious diversity in Canada.
  • Be a registered Canadian charity or have a charitable trustee.
  • Be based in Canada.
  • Commit to participating in additional in-person and online training events organized by Inspirit.
  • Report on your project over a 12-month period.

About the Grant: 

The grant has two components:

  1. Project Funding: You can apply for up to $20,000 in funding towards a project that will allow you to experiment with or grow the impact of an existing project.
  2. Capacity Building Funding: You can apply for up to an additional $5,000 in funding for self-selected capacity building activities that will contribute to the development of your organization, project, or individual leadership.

Applications must include a project-funding proposal in order to be eligible. The capacity building component is optional and will not be considered on its own.

The combined amount requested cannot exceed $25,000 and all activities must take place within a 12-month period.

Proposed Projects Must:

  • Address discrimination based on ethnicity, race, or religion (priority will be given to projects that seek to advance reconciliation or address Islamophobia).
  • Use media and arts to advance engagement with ethnic, racial, or religious diversity in Canada.
  • Experiment with a new idea, or grow an existing initiative to increase its impact.
  • Engage with and strengthen the Canadian communities where projects take place.
  • Be completed within a 12-month period.
  • Align with Inspirit’s mission and vision.

What We’re Looking for in Project Proposals:

  • Creative and compelling projects that aim to spark new narratives, build and shift power in communities, and foster pluralism.
  • A clear sense of the audiences and participants you are engaging and how you will address ethnic, racial, or religious discrimination in Canada to foster pluralism.
  • A vision of what success may look like taking into account the scope of activities and budget.
  • The team’s lived and professional experience; organizational focus, and past practice in leading this work.

What We’re Looking for in Proposed Capacity Building Activities:

  • Focused learning goals and a clear description of how the activities connect to the development of your individual leadership, project, or organization;
  • A strong sense of how the activities will help you build relevant skills and connections in the media, arts, or non-profit sectors.

Eligible Capacity Building Activities:

  • Funding can be used to participate in conferences, workshops, or industry events related to your field or discipline.
  • Funding can also be used for professional coaching, mentoring, or hiring consultants to support your organization.

* Please note that we cannot fund post-secondary tuition.

Examples of Combined Project and Capacity Building Proposals:

  • A project that builds the capacity of emerging Indigenous filmmakers to share stories through film, coupled with your participation in a film festival that grows your understanding of the film industry.
  • A project that amplifies the voices of Muslim women by hosting art workshops and sharing visual content they have co-created. Alongside this, you are mentored by a consultant on strategic growth for your organization.
  • A film campaign that advocates change within the justice system. Alongside this, you are funded to attend a training event that will help you leverage story-telling tools to lead more effective campaigns.

ChangeUp Does Not Fund:

  • Retroactive requests to fund activities that have already occurred.
  • Projects that take place outside of Canada.
  • Projects that primarily benefit individuals living in another country.
  • Projects run by non-Canadian organizations.
  • Academic research, tuition, bursaries or scholarships.
  • General fundraising efforts, capital campaigns or sponsorships.
  • Personal appeals for financial support.
  • Emergency funds.
  • Activities that primarily promote religious beliefs.
  • Partisan political activities.

How do I apply?

If you meet our eligibility criteria and would like to apply for ChangeUp, please click on the ‘apply’ button below.

The application deadline is October 11, 2019 at 4:00 pm EST.

Frequently Asked Questions


To be eligible to receive funding your organization must be a Canadian charity or a First Nations Band with qualified donee status with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). 

We are not an eligible charity or First Nations Band – can we apply?

Yes, but you will need to form a partnership with an eligible charitable organization. We cannot grant directly to not-for-profit organizations that do not have CRA status.

Typically, informal groups or not-for-profit organizations form a partnership with a registered charity that is willing to act as a lead charitable partner/trustee. The lead partner/trustee will receive and administer the grant and will be accountable for particular legal and financial responsibilities.

Inspirit requires a confirmed agreement between your group and the charitable partner/trustee before officially providing a grant.

What costs can the grant be used for?

Eligible costs include:

  • Personnel costs, including staff salaries, facilitator, artist, consultant, and speaker fees.
  • Space rental.
  • Equipment (equipment purchases will become the property of the grantee, or lead partner in the project) up to a maximum of 20% of total project costs.
  • Food and program supplies.
  • Travel and accommodation.
  • Incidental costs (transportation, parking).
  • Training and professional/organizational development.
  • Administration costs (rent, utilities, telephone and internet) up to a maximum of 15% of direct project costs.
We do not have any other funding sources – is this okay?

Yes—but keep in mind that when assessing proposals, we do look at whether the budget is realistic for the planned activities.

If your project is eligible for other sources of funding or support, we encourage you to seek, or show that you have obtained, additional financial or in-kind support. 

Can I submit more than one initiative for consideration at a time?

No. We can only consider one initiative per applicant organization or group for this granting program per year. 

Are there insurance requirements?

Please note that Inspirit requires grantees to maintain a minimum of $2 million in general liability insurance for the duration of the grant. 

Applications and Decisions

How are decisions made?
  1. Once we receive your completed application, Inspirit staff review it to ensure the proposed project and capacity building activities meet the grant guidelines.
  2. Inspirit staff create a shortlist of applications, which are reviewed by an external review committee.  The external review committee is made up of people familiar with our priority issue areas, who have experience in the non-profit, arts and media sectors. The team includes change leaders, subject experts, practitioners, and experienced professionals from across Canada.
  3. After feedback from the external review committee, final grantees are approved and contacted.
When will I find out about my application?

Successful applicants will be informed within 6-8 weeks of the application deadline.

Applicants who are not selected will be informed within 8-12 weeks and will have an opportunity to request feedback.

If my proposal is accepted will I need to submit anything else?

For projects that are offered a grant, we ask for the following information:

  • A copy of relevant agreements between your group and your charitable trustee, if your organization is not a qualified donee.
    A copy of the most current financial statements of the lead organization.
  • A list of the charitable organization’s Board of Directors.
  • Proof of general liability insurance with a minimum of $2 Million in coverage.
  • Clarification of your proposed activities and approach to evaluation.
Can I get feedback on rough drafts of my application before the deadline?

Unfortunately, given capacity constraints, we are unable to offer feedback on application drafts. However, if you have a project idea you would like to chat with us about, we encourage you to reach out to us.

If our grant application is declined, can we ask for feedback?

Absolutely. Due to the volume of applicants we cannot automatically provide feedback to all, but we will endeavour to offer feedback from the review process to all who request it.


What does it mean to use “media and arts strategies”?

At Inspirit we see media and arts as powerful strategies to leverage storytelling and narrative to foster understanding, elicit empathy, imagine a just future, and catalyze social change.

For Inspirit, the arts include creative processes or products, as well as forms of traditional, contemporary, and popular culture. We see media as encompassing platforms for sharing information or stories with large numbers of people, including documentary film, journalism, public media, digital media, and others.

We look for projects that use the power of story, and the tools of media and arts, to engage participants or audiences in meaningful ways to challenge ethnic, racial, or religious discrimination and foster pluralism.

Do you fund content production?

In some instances, ChangeUp funding can be used to develop content if the content is connected with a clearly defined outreach strategy to engage audiences.

In addition, no more than 50% of the total project budget can be allocated towards content production.

Does my project have to engage youth?

This is not a requirement. Your project team must be led by people aged 18-34, but the project activities can be focused on engaging people of all ages.

Do you fund conferences, festivals, or events?

Yes. If there is a strong alignment with the Foundation’s priority issues areas and grant guidelines, we will consider such proposals.

Please note the following caveats:

  • Grant decisions are made at least 6-8 weeks after the application deadline, so please plan accordingly. We cannot fund events that have already happened.
  • The conference or event must be developed and led by people between the ages of 18-34 who have personal experience with the issues and communities being addressed in the project.

For further information about our grants or our process, please contact us.

What do you mean by projects that “experiment with or grow” creative solutions to issues of discrimination based on race, ethnicity and religion?

Projects that “experiment” will test previously untried approaches and will enable you and your organization to explore the feasibility of a new idea. Experimentation may involve piloting new approaches to outreach, new approaches to content production, or a new project concept that builds on a previous body of work.

“Growing” your project will involve adapting or expanding a program/concept/idea that you have previously tested so that it can achieve greater impact. You might grow your project by engaging new audiences or communities, refining aspects of the project’s design and delivery, or building networks and relationships that you can leverage to further the success of your project.

Capacity Building Activities

What do you mean by “capacity building activities”?

Capacity building activities are opportunities for learning such as conferences, industry events, mentorships, collaborations with advisor/mentor consultants, and workshops. By participating in such opportunities, you or your project team might gain useful new connections in your industry, or new skills relevant to your areas of work. Funding for capacity building activities may also allow you to contract an advisor to mentor you and your organization through an important period or transition, such as strategic planning or applying for non-profit status.

The opportunity I am interested in takes place outside of Canada. Is this eligible?

Yes. While we encourage you to seek out opportunities for learning within Canada, we recognize that sometimes, opportunities to further leadership development in a specific field or area of practice are only available abroad. In your application, you must be able to describe how the chosen learning opportunity will contribute to your leadership practice, and demonstrate that no similar opportunities are available in Canada.

Please also keep in mind that Inspirit can only provide up to $5,000.00 in funding for capacity building activities and will not cover any additional costs incurred.

Can I apply if I am only seeking funding for my project and not for any capacity building activities?

Yes. It is not necessary to apply for the capacity building activities component of the grant in order to apply for project funding. Should you choose to apply for a project on its own, Inspirit can provide up to $20,000.00 in funding.

I am only seeking funding to attend a conference, workshop, or other learning opportunity, and not for a project, can I apply?

No. You can only apply for funding for capacity building activities when they are accompanied by a project.

For further information about Inspirit’s revised ChangeUp guidelines or application process, please contact us at: grants@inspiritfoundation.org.