Community Economic Development (CED) Funds

The mission of the Community Economic Development (CED) Funds is to contribute to financial security for Canadians and their communities through community economic development. The Funds support community economic development initiatives that lead to job creation and/or enhanced employability for marginalized populations.

We support healthy communities in Canada through two complementary funds:

  • Co-operators Fiftieth Anniversary Community Fund, which focuses exclusively on supporting registered charities;
  • Co-operators Community Economic Development (CED) Fund, which supports non-profit organizations and co-operatives.  

Recent initiatives

Since the funds' inception in 1995, we have disbursed over $4.7 million through 265 grants. In 2014, a total of $460,000 was granted to 26 organizations that assist marginalized individuals and communities by helping them build the capacity for economic self-reliance and sustainable livelihoods. Learn more about funded organizations in our 2014 CED Annual Report.  

New eligibility criteria and application process

In an effort to deepen our impact on specific marginalized communities, we have changed our eligibility criteria for applicants to the CED Funds. 

The Co-operators Foundation CED Funds will now focus exclusively on investing in organizations that support marginalized youth (aged 16 – 34) and/or persons with mental health challenges.

As of the September 1, 2015, CED funding round, please note that:

  • Your organization must focus on, or have programming that focusses on, marginalized youth (aged 16 – 34) and/or persons with mental health challenges.
  • To receive a funding application, applicants must first submit an email answering the questions below.
  • Multi-year grants will not be offered until the January 2016 funding round.

Application guidelines

Proposals for funding are reviewed twice per year. Application deadlines are typically January 15 and September 1st before 5 p.m. (Eastern Time). Note that if the deadline falls on a weekend or statutory holiday, applications must be received by the previous Friday, before 5 p.m. (Eastern Time). Decisions are made in mid-April and early December respectively. To be considered for funding, your organization must:

  • Have a specific program aimed at helping marginalized youth aged 16 - 34 and or persons with mental health challenges.
  • Build capacity (community and organizational): The program should assist not only the individuals, but in doing so, also strengthen the organizations assisting them and the communities in which they live. The funding should also help the organization move toward becoming sustainable, through leveraging of new funding partnerships, diversification of funding sources, and careful financial planning.
  • Provide evidence of strong community partnerships/funders that contribute both financially and in-kind (we are especially interested in any relationships that exist with the co-op sector and/or our advisors).
  • Have access to appropriate technical, strategic and administrative assistance.
  • Have a sound business and marketing plan showing how the organization plans to achieve its objectives.
  • Have specific outcomes and measures of success: Upon the completion of the funding year, we ask for a status report relating the program activities/strategies to these success measures. Further funding, whether for a successive annual grant or a multiyear grant, is dependent on receipt of this report and satisfactory application of any key learnings.
  • As an insurer, employer, investor, community partner, and a co-operative, The Co-operators believes that we can and must lead the way in ensuring a sustainable future. To us, sustainability is about balancing economic, social and environmental priorities as a responsible corporate citizen.  We are committed to develop our business in a sustainable manner, and encourage all organizations to do the same.  In addition to reviewing applications that can successfully demonstrate a commitment to community based economic and social sustainability, The Co-operators is interested in supporting organizations and initiatives that address environmental sustainability.  Preference may be given to organizations that can demonstrate commitment in all three areas of sustainability.

Note: We do not fund more than 50% of the program or project budget and the maximum grant is $20,000. 

Projects not eligible for assistance:

  • Capital expenditures
  • Conferences, workshops, seminars
  • Insurance
  • Travel
  • Fund-raising initiatives
  • Deficit reduction
  • Retroactive expenses
  • Financial literacy programs
  • Summer camps

CED application request

To request a copy of the CED Funds application form, please email answers to the following questions to

1) Explain how your organization/programming focuses on marginalized youth and/or persons with mental health challenges (max 100 words).
2) Describe how your organization/programming focuses on job creation and their enhanced employability through hands on training for youth and/or persons with mental health challenges (max 200 words).