>>> Who can apply for a Real Estate Foundation grant?
Any non-profit organization undertaking a project in British Columbia is eligible to apply for a grant. The Real Estate Foundation is not limited to supporting charitable organizations. Our grants can support the projects of municipalities, regional districts, First Nations, senior government departments, professional associations, and other societies. The Foundation does not award grants to individuals.
>>> How do we apply for a grant?
The application form can be downloaded here. Once the form is filled out, please email it to email@example.com. A Foundation staff member will confirm when it has been received.
>>> What is the application process?
Stage 1 – Applications submitted to the Foundation by the posted deadline (available on the homepage and at www.refbc.com/grants) are reviewed by a staff committee. After review, applications that are eligible for Foundation funding are invited to submit a Stage 2 application.
Stage 2 – Applications are thoroughly reviewed by staff members, who provide written summaries and recommendations to the Foundation’s Board of Governors for their consideration at the quarterly grants meetings.
>>> What is the difference between a Stage 1 and a Stage 2 application?
A Stage 2 application uses the same form as Stage 1. Stage 2 gives applicants a chance to update, expand, or change their application or portions thereof, to reflect changes such as funding status or focus. In addition, a Stage 2 application must be accompanied by at least two letters of support from organizations or individuals that are able to speak to the need for the project and why the applicant’s approach will be effective, as well as the strength of the applicant organization to lead it.
>>> How long does the process take?
The time between the Stage 1 deadline and a decision by the Board of Governors is about four months.
Stage 1 – Applicants are notified of the staff committee’s decision around three to five weeks after the submission deadline.
Stage 2 - Those applicants that are invited to submit a Stage 2 application must do so within approximately two weeks. Staff contact applicants as soon as is practicable after the Board of Governors have made a decision on their application.
>>> How do I know if my project is eligible for funding?
Before submitting an application to the Real Estate Foundation, refer to the Grants section of our website. It provides information on our focus areas, mandate, funding criteria, and exclusions (i.e. what we will not consider). To help you determine if your project meets our criteria, consider whether or not it:
- involves logical partners
- targets real estate/land use practitioners and/or key public audiences
- encourages best practices
- fills a previously unmet need
- increases the capacity of an organization, sector or community to improve real estate and/or land use practices
- has a reasonable budget
The Real Estate Foundation will give preference to projects that support our mission by demonstrating:
- Leadership & innovation
- Partnership & collaboration
- Sustainability & longevity
- Scalability & potential to replicate
>>> Are projects that fall outside of the focus areas still eligible for funding?
As long an application meets the eligibility criteria , the Foundation will consider it for funding. However, note that, if there is a high level of competition for funding, the Foundation will place a priority on applications that address the focus areas (i.e. Built Environment, Fresh Water Sustainability, Sustainable Food Systems).
>>> Why wasn't my proposal successful?
Often, an application is not successful because it does not demonstrate a strong fit with our mandate and granting priorities, or fails to provide adequate and clear information about the project and expected outcomes. Sometimes, even when an application appears to have met the full criteria of the Foundation’s grants program, it might not be approved. Other factors, such as the amount of money available and the relative strengths of other competing applications come into play in the decision making process.
>>> Does the Real Estate Foundation provide funding for core activities or organizational development?
As a rule, Foundation grants are intended to be project grants which provide funding over a specific period of time. They are not intended to support the general operating costs (e.g. rent, utilities) of an organization or organizational seed funding/start-up costs. While the Foundation recognizes that organizational development and capacity building are important to many non-profit organizations, its primary focus is on specific projects that address land use related issues or concerns.
>>> Does the Real Estate Foundation provide funding for economic development related projects?
While some projects, particularly those undertaken by municipal or regional governments, may have some economic development components, the Foundation will only consider funding them if their primary focus is on addressing land use related issues or concerns. Aiming to increase the revenue-generating capacity of individuals, organizations, or sectors is not within the scope of Real Estate Foundation funding.
>>> Does the Foundation provide funding for capital costs of building?
In 2009 the Real Estate Foundation's Board of Governors made a decision to no longer provide capital funding for building projects, with some very specific exceptions.
Prior to 2009 the Foundation had been active in supporting capital costs, particularly for housing projects. Although the Real Estate Foundation understands affordable housing is a key issue throughout the province, when the world financial markets crashed in 2008, the Foundation lost the capacity to meet the multiple requests for large capital grants funding. The Board made a strategic decision to reduce these grants and focus on the core components of the Foundation's legislated mandate--research, education, and law reform--while at the same time encouraging new thinking around housing.
Since 2009 the Board has approved some housing projects, under the following guidelines:
- If a housing project is unique – meaning it is an innovative approach to financing, partnerships, ownership, building technologies – it will be given consideration.
- Projects which demonstrate the judicious use of land and resources, such as infill, increased density, recycled building materials, and/or other practices to keep the ecological footprint relatively small.
The Foundation also supports some capital funding for building projects through the Green Building Grant program. This is directed towards building renovations/retrofits that demonstrate leadership and can inspire similar projects or initiatives with positive environmental impacts or benefits. See the application form for full details on criteria.
>>> Which particular activities or costs does the Real Estate Foundation consider funding?
Grants made by the Foundation are typically used to cover costs associated with human resource needs, travel, and production of educational materials for a project. Note that, even if a project matches our eligibility criteria, there are a few activities for which the Foundation will not provide funding. These activities and costs include:
- purchase of equipment and capital goods;
- in general, printing costs—the Foundation prefers to support online distribution, where appropriate;
- costs associated with conversion of existing information into another medium (for example, scanning or transcribing physical documents to make them available online);
- development of organizational business plans and marketing plans; and
- creation of organizational websites.
In addition, Foundation policy excludes certain broader categories of applications from funding; more information is available on the Funding criteria & exclusions page.
>>> What size are the grants the Real Estate Foundation typically provides?
The Foundation awards grants to a wide range of projects; in the past we have funded small, grassroots projects (typically between $2,000 and $5,000) as well as large, multi-jurisdictional initiatives (as large as about $300,000). That being said, most of the grants that the Real Estate Foundation approves are between $10,000 and $50,000. Our funding guidelines are:
- As a rule, the Foundation support will not exceed 50% of the cash portion of the project budget, or 33% of the total budget (including in-kind donations), whichever is less;
- The Foundation typically will not act as the sole funder of a project;
- The Foundation expects that other logical partners will be approached for cash or in-kind support;
- The Foundation will consider whether or not there is an appropriate funding role, depending on the project’s fit with our funding criteria.
>>> Can we apply for a new grant when our current, Foundation-funded project is still underway?
If this is your organization’s first grant from the Real Estate Foundation, our staff must review your final project report prior to your organization submitting a new grant application. If you have satisfactorily completed projects with Foundation funding in the past, you may apply for a new grant while the current grant is underway. Please contact one of our grants team staff for advice on your particular situation.
>>> We have a project in mind, but are still uncertain about its fit with the Real Estate Foundation. Who do we talk to about this?
If, after familiarizing yourself with the material on the Foundation’s website, you have further questions, please feel free to contact one of our grants team staff.