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 youth and persons with mental health issues.

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 $5.2 million through 292 grants. The 2016 Spring round granted $365,000 to 12 organizations providing economic opportunities to marginalized youth and persons with mental health challenges, helping them build capacity for self-reliance. Learn more about funded organizations in our 2015 CED Annual Report.  

Organization highlights

Every year The Co-operators Foundation and Co-op TV engages with an organization that has received funding through the CED program, and produces a video that highlights the organization and the great work that they do. Our latest video is on Megaphone, who produces a magazine that is sold by homeless and low-income vendors on the streets of Vancouver and Victoria. It offers individuals an opportunity to work and earn some money in a flexible arrangement that is empathetic to their circumstances.

Eligibility criteria and application process

The Co-operators Foundation CED Funds focus exclusively on investing in organizations that support marginalized youth (aged 16 – 34) and/or persons with mental health issues, through employability skills programming.

Application Rounds
In an effort to deepen our impact with the organizations we fund, we continue to phase in elements of our new strategic plan. 

For 2016 there will be 2 funding rounds
1) The spring funding round – applications due January 15, 2016 – This round is now closed
2) The fall funding round – applications due September 1, 2016 - This will be an invitation only 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