January 9, 2020 @ January 9, 2020 - February 6, 2020 @ February 6, 2020

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Burlington Arts and Culture Fund

The City of Burlington’s Arts and Culture Fund (BACF) provides grants to local artists, multicultural groups and arts and cultural organizations to foster creativity and enrich how Burlington residents experience and engage with arts and culture. The program recognizes and supports diverse identities, perspectives, languages, cultures and artistic practices. This year’s BACF application is now open until 4 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020.

The BACF is facilitated to nurture the quality and capacity of the arts and culture sector in Burlington. The program is administered by the City of Burlington’s Arts and Culture Section and applications are reviewed in part by a peer assessment jury. City funding provided under this program must be used to further an applicant’s not-for-profit activities. Funding will not be provided for major capital projects including but not limited to the purchase of land, equipment, fixtures or physical facilities. Project grants are intended to support a specific event or activity taking place between April 2020 and March 2021. Applicants that have received any form of city funding in the same calendar year are not eligible for BACF funding.

Eligibility Criteria

In order to apply for BACF funding applicants must be located in the City of Burlington and be one of the following:

  • An incorporated not-for-profit arts and culture organization or a charitable arts and culture organization;
  • An individual artist or arts and cultural collective (defined as three or more individuals) that exhibit high achievement in arts and culture programming;
  • A multicultural group that fulfills a significant role in the Burlington community through the arts and culture.

Exclusions from Eligibility

  • Academic units of educational institutions;
  • Schools, conservatories and other organizations, the primary mission of which is training or education. (The presence of education or training as an ancillary part of an organization’s mandate will not result in an exclusion from eligibility);
  • Churches and other religious institutions;
  • Applicants that have received any form of city funding in the same calendar year.

Exclusions from Eligible Costs

BACF project funding may not be used for major capital expenses/purposes including:

  • Land,
  • Equipment and fixtures,
  • Operating costs,
  • Physical facilities,
  • Furthering a for-profit venture or creating an advantage for a for-profit partner.

Objective and Overview

To nurture the capacity of the arts and cultural sector in Burlington, while fostering creativity, encouraging social cohesion, enhancing quality of life and stimulating cultural and economic development through direct investment.

Project Grants – Overview:

The project grants program is intended to support the creation and presentation of arts and cultural projects that reflect BACF objectives. Project grants are awarded for a term of one year and each applicant may apply for support for one project per year.

For organizations, groups or individuals that receive BACF funding in any year and reapply to the grant program the following year, a final project report must be integrated as part of the subsequent application form.

Project grants are intended to support a specific event or activity taking place between April 2020 and March 2021. Subsequently, applications for projects that recur must be submitted annually and will be adjudicated based on assessment criteria as outlined in the criteria and guidelines document and on the following:

  • Success of the project in the previous year;
  • Innovation within the project;
  • Availability of funds in the context of funding priorities.


For Project Grants the following assessment criteria will be considered:

There are four key areas of evaluation including: Artistic Merit, Program Merit and Strategic Initiative, City-wide and Community Impact and Economic Impact. The applicant’s recent activities as well as proposed ones are taken into account when assessing an application.

Artistic Merit (30%) as determined by:

  • A comprehensive work plan that is ready for implementation;
  • Quality or value of the project and the implementation team/program;
  • Distinctiveness of the applicant’s activities in relation to comparable activities in Burlington. Does the project provide unique and innovative opportunities for artists, other arts and cultural organizations and the public?
  • Qualified, professional leadership;
  • Contributions to the development of arts and culture in Burlington;
  • Evidence of planning in place to support the proposal and/or ongoing organizational capacity (as per realistic schedules, timelines, planning practices, etc.).

Peer assessment jury members evaluate the artistic merit criteria of BACF applications. Jury members are comprised of representatives from the arts and culture sector. This includes: arts and cultural professionals, practitioners and/or individuals who are knowledgeable in the arts and culture and maintain high standing in the arts and cultural community. Jury members will be knowledgeable about the City of Burlington context, the broader arts and culture environment and will reflect the cultural diversity of the City of Burlington. BACF peer assessment jury members are selected and approved by the Arts and Culture Council of Burlington (ACCOB).

Program Merit and Strategic Initiative (30%) as determined by:

  • Clearly articulated outcomes expected from the project. Outcomes should align with the City of Burlington’s Strategic Plan for community building through arts and culture via community activities. Does the project:
  1. Encourage better collaboration and co-ordination among existing and new cultural partners;
  2. Reach out to new and diverse communities to expand Burlington’s cultural fabric;
  3. Encourage targeted cultural programming that engages newcomers and a more diverse audience with the goal of promoting cultural diversity;
  4. Encourage multiculturalism and inclusion;
  5. Support new and existing cultural celebrations and initiatives.

Citywide and Community Impact (20%) as determined by:

  • Level of public access to the work, activities or services, Evidence of growing interest and attendance;
  • Level of engagement with other arts and cultural organizations, artists and community groups in Burlington. Evidence of promotional and/or outreach strategies in place to encourage wide public participation, awareness and engagement;
  • Demonstrated support from the community as determined by partnerships, collaborations, sponsorship support, in-kind support, volunteers, etc;
  • The applicant conducts its activities primarily in Burlington and for the benefit of Burlington residents. The applicant encourages the participation of all citizens of Burlington;
  • The applicant measures the success of the activities and programs of its organization on an ongoing basis and shares the results of these measures with the city and other interested stakeholders.

Economic Impact (20%) as determined by:

  • Employment and training opportunities for Burlington artists, cultural workers and contractors;
  • Direct and indirect spending in Burlington. Attraction of tourists to Burlington;
  • The applicant demonstrates initiative and success in generating revenue outside of the Burlington Arts and Culture Fund. Evidence of financial stability and accountability as demonstrated through prior financial performance, achievable and balanced budgets and fiscal management;
  • Strong and successful relationships and partnerships with the local business and not-for-profit community;
  • The ability to demonstrate how grant funding will directly support the project.

City staff evaluates program merit and strategic initiative, citywide & community impact, and economic impact criteria. Final decision on funding allocation is determined by City staff.


  • The maximum amount awarded for each project grant is $7,000 or up to 50 per cent of the total project budget, whichever is less. The city has discretion with regard to the amount awarded.
  • Project grants are intended to support a specific event or activity taking place between April 2020 and March 2021.
  • Upon City Council budget approval of the Burlington Arts & Culture Fund, the City of Burlington will draw up an agreement with each awarded applicant.
  • Awarded applicants are required to sign an agreement, recognizing their obligations regarding the use of the funds and reporting requirements.
  • Once the agreement has been signed by both City staff and the awarded applicant, the City will issue a cheque for 80 per cent of the grant.
  • The remaining 20 per cent will be issued on the receipt of the final report, remaining invoices and other documents as identified in the agreement.
  • Applicants will not be eligible to receive further BACF funding until all required reports have been submitted to and accepted by the City of Burlington.
  • A grant recipient in default of their grant agreement may be required to return funds to the City of Burlington and may be judged as ineligible for future grants.


Glossary of Terms

Arts and Culture Collective: Three or more artists or cultural professionals whose project is focused primarily on artistic/cultural creation and presentation.

Charitable Arts and Culture Organization: A charitable organization whose mandate or mission is focused primarily on artistic/cultural creation and presentation.

Charitable Organization: To be considered charitable, an organization’s purpose must be exclusively and legally charitable and it must be established for the benefit of the public or a sufficient segment of the public. It must also be registered with the Canada Revenue Agency as having charitable status under the Income Tax Act. Organizations so registered are able to issue tax receipts for charitable donations.

Community Arts and Culture Project: Broadly defined, a community arts and culture project involves a collaborative creative process between a professional practicing artist and the community. It is a collective method of art-making, engaging professional artists and self-defined communities through collaborative, artistic expression. It is as much about process as it is about the artistic product or outcome. A community arts and culture project provides a unique way for communities to express themselves and enables artists, through financial and other support, to engage in creative activity with communities.

Not-for-Profit Arts and Culture Organization: A not-for-profit organization whose mandate or mission is focused primarily on artistic/cultural creation and presentation.

Not-for-Profit Organization: An organization not conducted or maintained for the purpose of making a profit. Instead, it operates to serve a public good. Not-for-profit organizations are specifically incorporated as such. Any surplus generated by a not-for-profit organization is used by the organization for the purposes for which it was established.

Peer Assessment Jury: BACF jury members are arts and culture professionals, practitioners and/or individuals who are knowledgeable in the arts and culture with high standing in the arts and culture community. Jurors evaluate applications based on the artistic merit component of the application and provide feedback to city staff. Peer assessment ensures that the arts and culture community has a voice in how funds are distributed and that applications are evaluated by artists and other cultural experts with knowledge and experience of the specific art forms, art practices and communities involved. BACF peer assessment jury members are selected and approved by the Arts and Culture Council of Burlington (ACCOB).

Professional Artist: Someone who has developed skills through training and/or practice, is recognized as such by artists working in the same artistic tradition, has a history of public presentation or publication, seeks payment for their work and actively practices their art. Short breaks in artistic history are allowed. The source of this definition is the Ontario Arts Council.

How to Apply

  1. Read the Criteria and Guidelines Document;
  2. Download, save and complete the Program Budget Worksheet (this is a required document);
  3. Download, save and prepare the Project Work Plan Template (this is a required document);
  4. Ensure that financial statements, the program budget worksheet and project work plan are included with your application form. These documents are required and can be uploaded as attachments in the appendices section at the end of the online application form;
  5. Complete and submit the online application by 4 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020. A complete grant application including all required appendices must be submitted. No exceptions will be allowed and incomplete applications will not be accepted. Applicants can also complete the application questions template/worksheet prior to beginning the online application.

2020 BACF Online Application Form


January 9, 2020 @
February 6, 2020 @
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