When looking to fund your project, start by exploring local opportunities before expanding your search. Bringing community members on board, whether they are private citizens, community associations or local businesses, ties your project to the neighbourhood. Not only does this raise the local profile of your project, but larger funding agencies see local support and are more likely to look favourably on it.
There are many forms of funds schools can acquire to support their project: seed money, matching grants and gifts-in-kind. For more details about these types of funds, please see the ‘Gather Donations’ section of the manual.
Targeting funding organizations
Before identifying specific agencies to approach, clearly define the focus of your project or project phase. Matching the area of interest for each funder will help you to target them appropriately. For example, restoring a front school garden to its original design - essentially planning a heritage garden - would mean looking for funders that focus on supporting historical initiatives.
Some agencies will only fund certain items. They may provide money to purchase native plants but not boulders or bricks.
Things to keep in mind when researching an agency:
• Make sure you meet its eligibility and selection requirements.
• Find out what kinds of project they fund and review what projects they have funded in the past.
• Identify what type of materials and items are eligible for funding.
• Determine dates and deadlines for both submissions and decisions.
• Find out when the money received needs to be spent, and be sure it fits with your timeline.
Writing Grant Proposals
Writing proposals can be an art in itself. If you are lucky, someone on your committee will have experience in this area. If not, many major funders have examples on their sites. Make sure to follow directions accurately as application requirements vary - some may simply need a letter explaining the project, while others require more detail. For more information on grant writing, please see the ‘Grant Proposals’ section of the manual.
Non-profit, charitable status
For information on becoming a registered society:
Corporate Registry Division of the Government of Alberta
For information on registering as a charitable organization:
Charities Division of the Government of Canada's Customs and Revenue Agency
A few schools in Calgary have been able to use casino funds for their naturalization projects. If you have not applied to run a casino, be aware that the application process takes some time. See the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission website for details.
Visit the websites of other major companies in your city to see if they have community giving programs.
The following groups have given money to schoolyard naturalization projects in the past. We encourage you to visit their websites and contact their fund administrators for more information.
Alberta Lottery Fund
TD Canada Trust Friends of the Environment
Canada Wildlife Federation
Calgary Parks Foundation
For more extensive funder lists in all areas see the Map.
Agencies will have guidelines for you to follow when recognizing their donation. Schools have sent thank you letters as well as including donors in public ceremonies, on t-shirts, signs and event programs. Whatever method of recognition you choose be sure to check with your school board for any regulations they may have on the use of company logos on school property.