Core Grants

This granting stream is now closed.
Core Grants support organizations developing innovative institutional, systemic, or interpersonal solutions addressing Islamophobia or reconciliation, while increasing the capacity for Muslim and Indigenous communities to address these issues. This fund provides multi-year, unrestricted grants of up to $150,000 ($50,000 per year up to 3 years) to support Indigenous-led or Muslim-led organizations engaging in promising and high impact models and approaches. Applicants must also have a clear sense of their organizational challenges and needs, as well as how this funding might help address those needs. A total of 4 grants are available for successful applicants.

Why Core Grants?

These grants prioritize organizations that are Indigenous-led or Muslim-led in order to provide critical support to emerging organizations from communities that have historically faced barriers accessing financial support from the philanthropic sector.

We recognize that restricted project-based funding can limit organizations’ ability to address internal infrastructure needs. This, in turn, can inhibit their long-term viability, effectiveness, and impact. We also recognize that the complexity of advancing reconciliation and addressing Islamophobia requires long-term efforts and the precarious funding situations of the organizations on the frontlines of this work threatens their ability to have an ongoing impact.

By providing general operating funds, this fund aims to support organizations to address their internal capacity challenges and thereby increase their overall effectiveness and impact.


What are we looking for?

  • Organizational readiness to scale or deepen impact.

We’re looking for organizations that can both identify opportunities to achieve greater impact and be clear about their own current organizational gaps that may hinder their growth or effectiveness. We want to know how these limitations might be addressed with Inspirit’s support.

  • Promising models of understanding and addressing Islamophobia or advancing reconciliation on an interpersonal, institutional, or systemic level.

Selected organizations will identify clear gaps in the systems in which they are engaged while offering effective approaches to shifting the relationships, processes, or practices that entrench forms of racial, ethnic, and religious discrimination.

We want to hear about how you are developing unique partnerships and initiatives to tackle these issues and achieve greater impact. We also want to understand how you see your work situated within a broader ecosystem.


  • Your organization must be a Canadian charity or a First Nations Band with qualified donee status with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
    • Inspirit can only grant to a qualified donee listed by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). These are usually federally registered charities but many municipalities and First Nations are also listed. Not all non-profit organizations are registered charities. Please look up your organization if you are unsure.
    • If your organization is not a qualified donee, you might consider developing a trustee partnership with an organization that is a registered charity or other listed qualified donee. For example, you might want to approach an organization that works in the same sector, or one that you are already partnering with. Be aware that this is a legal arrangement with financial responsibilities. Find out if an intermediary trustee arrangement is right for your organization.
    • Inspirit requires a confirmed agreement between your organization and the charitable partner/trustee before officially providing a grant.
  • Indigenous-led or Muslim-led organizations.
    • i.e. Organizations where the majority of the organization (board and staff) comprises Muslim or Indigenous people. We also consider how Muslim or Indigenous people are leading the application process and implementation, and how these communities are the primary beneficiaries of the organization’s work.
  • Demonstrated impact of work in Canada that addresses reconciliation or Islamophobia.
  • Organizations that can demonstrate stability and a clear vision of activities for the next three years.
  • Organizations that preferably have an average annual budget over $150,000 up to approximately $750,000.
    • ** We may consider organizations with smaller or larger budgets that can demonstrate unique initiatives and impact related to the above criteria.

Core grants do not fund:

  • Organizations that focus exclusively on providing services or programs to a group or community, without also aiming to influence systemic change (e.g. community kitchens, job placement agencies);
  • Ongoing service delivery of programs that receive annual municipal, provincial, or federal funding;
  • For-profit businesses;
  • Retroactive requests to fund activities that have already occurred;
  • Activities that take place outside of Canada;
  • Projects that primarily benefit individuals living in another country;
  • Initiatives run by non-Canadian organizations;
  • Academic research, tuition, bursaries or scholarships;
  • Capital campaigns or sponsorships;
  • Personal appeals for financial support;
  • Emergency funds;
  • Activities that primarily promote religious or political beliefs;
  • Capital infrastructure projects (e.g. libraries, schools, healthcare facilities).

Application process

The application process for this grant involves two stages: Stage one is open to all organizations that are interested; Stage 2 of the process is by invite only. Please read our Guidelines and FAQs before applying to see if you meet the criteria.

Stage 1
Open: June 8, 2018
Close: July 9, 2018 at 5:00 PM ET

Stage 2 (by invite only)
Open: Mid-July
Close: Early to mid-August.

Grant offers will be made Fall 2018.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does unrestricted funding mean?

Unrestricted funding means these grants may be used for general operating costs for organizations.

There are no specific pre-defined activities that Inspirit seeks to support at this point; however, a key consideration in assessing applications is how the funds will be used to build organizational capacity and effectiveness.

Funds must, however, be used within three (3) years.

This Inspirit grant may cover the following costs (please note this list is not exhaustive):

  • Staff costs
  • Administration costs
  • Consultant costs
  • Specific fundraising costs (e.g. a grant writer)
  • Professional development
  • Program/project costs
  • Capital costs (equipment), excluding capital infrastructure costs.
  • Travel
We are not an eligible charity or First Nations with qualified done status – can we apply?

Yes, but you will need to form a partnership with an eligible charitable organization.

We cannot grant directly to nonprofit organizations or First Nations that do not have donee status with the CRA.

A qualified donee is an organization that can issue official donation receipts for gifts it receives from individuals and corporations. It can also receive gifts from registered charities.

Typically, non-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.

Click here for more information about qualified donees and intermediary trustee arrangements.

What do you mean by Muslim-led or Indigenous-led?

This fund intends to support Indigenous-led or Muslim-led organizations, whereby the majority of the organization (board and staff) comprises Muslim or Indigenous people. We also consider how Muslim or Indigenous people are leading the application and implementation process, and how these communities are the primary beneficiaries of the organization’s work.

What information will be required at the different stages?

Stage 1

In addition to answering specific questions about the organization’s goals, experience, and impact, Stage 1 applicants will be required to provide the following:

  • Basic organizational info, including:
    • Charitable status
    • Organization staff size and budget
    • Organization board

Stage 2

Stage 2 applicants will be required to provide more in depth information about organizational staff, priorities, and impact, as well as the following:

  • Proposed 2018-19 work-plan
  • Projected 2018-19 organizational budget
  • Audited financial statements, or most recent financial statements

Documents that will strengthen applications include:

  • Organization strategic plan
  • Theory of change, logic models, or evaluation frameworks
  • Evaluation reports (or reports submitted to other funders)

If working with a charitable trustee, you will need to provide the following:

  • Charitable Trustee’s Audited Financial Statements
  • A Memorandum of Understanding detailing the nature of the relationship between the applicant and the Trustee
  • Charitable Trustee’s Board of Directors 
Do our organization’s primary activities need to be explicitly about addressing Islamophobia or reconciliation?

Addressing Islamophobia or reconciliation may be one piece of your organization’s broader work, but your impact and breadth of work in these areas will be key to assessing your candidacy.

Please keep in mind that this fund is also intended to support Indigenous-led and Muslim-led organizations, and we consider how these communities are the primary beneficiaries of the organization’s work.