Applying for a Grant

2024 Vital Community Grants (this will be updated in the summer)

Vital Community Grants are the Community Foundation’s small grants program open to a wide range of charities. These grants address immediate community needs, strengthen the non-profit sector, and help build a vital community for everyone.

 Over the past five years, Vital Community Grants have contributed nearly $560,000 to 66 local charities.

 The Community Foundation is always looking for ways to address community needs, to shift power, and to improve our granting practices. That’s why Vital Community Grants look slightly different each year.

Area of Focus for 2024

Coming, summer 2024

Participatory Grantmaking

Vital Community Grants are decided through a participatory grantmaking process; the privilege and responsibility for making decisions about the process and allocation of funds is shifted to those with deep knowledge of the needs of the people they serve in the community. 

Based on the principle of “nothing about us without us”, participatory grantmaking invites representatives of organizations who are most affected by an issue or cause to join a granting circle and share the work of grantmaking. For the Community Foundation, participatory grantmaking is an expression of our values of trust, inclusivity, collaboration, and community vitality. 

Size of Grant

Grant size varies from year to year. The average Vital Community Grant in 2023 was $8,777 with 9 grants awarded ranging from $5,800 to $11,200.


Applicants must meet all of the eligibility criteria in order to apply:

1. Organizations must be registered charities operating within and providing services to people in the City and/or County of Peterborough, Hiawatha First Nation or Curve Lake First Nation. Status as a “qualified donee” in good standing will be verified through the CRA website as part of the application process.

2. Organizations that are not qualified donees must contact the Community Foundation.

3. TBD – The grant focus will be communicated in the summer.

4. Applicants must be willing to actively participate in a granting circle to determine the priorities and allocation of the available funds. This is a commitment of time and energy as participants may need to read and consider applications from other organizations, listen to other participants, and discuss and decide on options for the allocation of funds.

5. Organizations that discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, disabilities, age, status as a veteran, national origin, or any protected classes are not eligible for Vital Community Grants.

Invitation to Participate

Each Expression of Interest will be carefully screened in relation to the eligibility criteria.

Qualifying applicants will be invited to participate in two online granting circles which will be held on TBD.


Deadlines and assessment criteria will be decided by the participants of the granting circle.

Recommendations made by the granting circle will go to the Board of Directors of the Community Foundation later in October, with grants being made in November (this has been our pattern and will likely remain so in 2024. It’s also possible that this timeline will change, so please do remember to come back in the summer for all updates).

How to Apply

Applications are only accepted through the Foundation’s online portal. If you do not already have an account, you can set up your login here.

If organizations meet the criteria above, please log-in to the portal and complete an Expression of Interest application. You can also read it here in PDF format: coming in the summer.

Expressions of Interest must be submitted by TBD.

Answers provided in the Expression of Interest may be shared with other applicants, the Foundation’s board, donors and the broader community.


Jennifer DeBues |

Executive Director

Have Questions? Get in Touch!