Thunder Bay ChangeUp Grants

Thunder Bay ChangeUp grants create opportunities for Indigenous and/or racialized change leaders aged 14-34 (collaboration with adult mentors is permitted). These $10,000 grants will fund creative, solutions-focused projects that address issues of discrimination in Thunder Bay and support Indigenous youth. We are looking for projects that seek to create space for communities to deepen capacities and develop solutions that build resiliency; and/or implement creative strategies to open minds and shift attitudes that perpetuate prejudice and exclusion based on ethnicity, race or religion. Through the grants, Inspirit Foundation is particularly interested in supporting the development of effective, connected, and influential change leaders.


ChangeUp Grants fund projects that:  

  • Are led and developed by Indigenous and/or racialized change leaders aged 14-34 (or co-developed and co-led with adult mentors);
  • Engage local issues and stakeholders;
  • Involve and bring attention to the work and perspectives of Indigenous and/or racialized change leaders aged 14-34;
  • Occur within a 12-month period;
  • Take place in Thunder Bay with the leadership of those who reside there;
  • Create space for communities to deepen capacities and develop solutions to build resiliency; and/or open minds and shift attitudes that perpetuate prejudice and exclusion based on racial, ethnic or religious difference.

We also consider the following criteria when assessing applications. While not mandatory, they strengthen your application. We look for projects that: 

  • Address issues in new or unique ways that consider the social and geographical context of Thunder Bay;
  • Bring together a project team that is well-suited to lead the project based on personal or professional experience and practice;
  • Create opportunities for new partnerships or relationships to be strengthened;
  • Have potential for reach and/or impact on the broader community.

What we look for in project proposals: 

  • A clear vision of what success might look like; 
  • An understanding of the issue(s) being addressed; 
  • Connection between project activities and the intended results.

Thunder Bay ChangeUp Grants do not fund: 

  • Projects led or developed exclusively by people outside the 14-34 age bracket;
  • Projects led or developed by individuals who are not Indigenous and/or racialized;
  • Retroactive requests to fund activities that have already occurred;
  • Activities that take place outside of the Thunder Bay region;
  • Projects that benefit individuals living outside of the Thunder Bay region;
  • Initiatives run by organizations outside of the Thunder Bay region;
  • 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 or political beliefs.

How to apply 

  1. Review the ChangeUp Thunder Bay guidelines and FAQs.
  2. If you are unsure about your project’s eligibility, we encourage you to contact us.
  3. Fill out the online application form (you can save your application at any time).

Application Deadlines
We will be accepting applications from Thunder Bay on a rolling basis.

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?

Yesbut you will need to form a partnership with an eligible charitable organization. We cannot grant directly to nonprofit organizations or First Nations Bands 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, informal groups or nonprofit 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.

For more information about qualified donees, please go here.

If you have more questions about eligibility please contact us. 

What costs can the grant be used for?

Eligible costs that support the project include:  

  • Personnel costs, including staff salaries and facilitator, artist, and speaker fees;   
  • Space rental;  
  • Equipment within 20% of the budget (purchases will become the property of the grantee);  
  • Food and supplies;  
  • Travel;  
  • Administration costs (rent, utilities, telephone and internet) up to a maximum of 10% 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 in any ChangeUp granting round.  We can only grant once to an eligible grantee 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

When will I find out about my application?

Successful applicants will be informed within 4-6 weeks of the application deadline.

Applicants who are not selected will be informed within 6-8 weeks and will have an opportunity to receive feedback.

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

Yes, we will need:

  • A detailed project budget and timeline;
  • Further information about your group and proposed partners;
  • A copy of the most current financial statements of the lead organization;
  • A list of the lead organization’s Board of Directors;
  • Clarification of your proposed activities and approach to evaluation;
  • Proof of General Liability Insurance for at least $2 Million.
If our grant application is declined, can we ask for feedback?

Absolutely. We will endeavour to offer feedback from the review process to all who request it.

If our grant application is declined, can we apply again?

Yes, but we strongly recommend you request feedback first.


What kind of projects do you fund?

Some example projects include:

  • Indigenous and non-Indigenous media makers leading virtual mapping workshops uncovering Indigenous landmarks and place-based stories.
  • An education and leadership camp that teaches Black children how to analyze and create media, to spread the message that Black lives matter, and to increase Black-affirmative educational resources for educators.
  • A youth-driven, land-based project that will engage Indigenous youth to lead their community prevent, resist and heal from violence through two interconnected program components: 1) youth-led land restoration to create healthier community spaces, and 2) youth-led, culturally-relevant sexual violence prevention curricula in schools.

To see previous examples of ChangeUp projects visit our granting page.

What do you mean by "open minds and shift attitudes"?

Projects that aim to increase people’s awareness and understanding of others’ experiences, build recognition of shared experience across difference, and inspire actions that bridge difference.

Does my project have to use arts or media?

No, it does not.

Do you fund film production?

No. However, a portion of the ChangeUp Grants can be used to develop media products if they are connected with an outreach strategy to engage audiences.

Does my project have to engage youth?

Not necessarily. Your project team must be led by people aged 14-34, 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 4-6 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 14-34 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.