Not sure if the idea is going to fly? Why not try it? Innovation Grants are all about experimenting. Embracing the Spirit understands not every idea will succeed but should still be given the chance.

Purpose

Innovation Grants are all about providing funding to ideas that haven’t received seed funding in the past.

Eligibility

These grants are available for ideas within faith communities that have:

  • A positive spiritual impact
  • A positive social impact
  • A positive ecological impact
  • A potential for financial sustainability

Grants can be between $500 and $5,000.

All applicants should demonstrate each eligibility requirement to the best of their ability. Find the Quadruple Bottom Line Assessment Tool at the bottom of this page.

For help on any of these eligibility requirements or how to increase your impact, please use the Quadruple Bottom Line Resource Guide, found at the bottom of this page.

Examples

1. A congregation was interested in exploring the possibility of creating an arts centre within their church, to draw in curious members of the community who might not otherwise visit. Instead of renovating immediately, they decided to run a pilot made up of three summer events. This experiment would identify potential partners, whether the community would show up to the events, and the congregation’s own ability to implement. This pilot project cost $2,500

2. A faith community was exploring how to engage with their local community, in order to feel more connected to their fellow residents. They invited over 30 community leaders in their neighbourhood to attend a community leaders’ round table. After the event they recognized that more relationship building was required in order to partner and they requested funding to help run a series of gatherings over the next 18 months to build relationships and trust with all of the organizations. This pilot program cost $2,500.

Covenants

Storytelling: Telling your story is very important to help the learning network grow. All grant recipients will be asked to share the story of their experiment.

All stories will be shared on either the Round the Table blog, through United Church of Canada social media, or through the Embracing the Spirit newsletter.

Public Relations: Telling your story to the wider community is important! This can simply by writing to the editor, being interviewed by local television, writing a press release to the local newspaper, or being a presenter at a local event. Visit Your Church in the News for more resources.

Communications: Embracing the Spirit is enthusiastically and generously supported by the people of The United Church of Canada through their Mission & Service giving. Any communications about your initiative should indicate that this is where the funding was wholly or partially from.

Evaluation and Reporting: What did work and what was the impact? What didn’t work is as important as what did work. Participants need to highlight best practices and things that they wish they had known when they started out. Take some time and fill out the Embracing the Spirit Evaluation report found at the bottom of this page. Your input will help other organizations as they plan their projects.

Mentoring: All grant recipients will be offered a mentor to help them with the pilot project. Studies have shown that a project with a mentor are 80 percent more successful. We have volunteer mentors from across the country who will be matched with you and your idea.

Grant Application

Now is the time to submit your grant application. It is an online form that has been designed to be easy to get through and should take less than an hour to complete.

Before sitting down to fill out the online form, you should connect with a staff member from Embracing the Spirit to have a consultation. E-mail  embracingthespirit [at] united-church.ca to set up a consultation.

You should also have the following;

  •  an understanding of the problem and solution that you are proposing
  •  some thought around the impacts of your proposal based on the quadruple bottom line (financial, social, ecological, and spiritual impacts)
  • a clear understanding of how this ties to your existing mission and how this might look in the future
  • how much you are asking for

The Embracing the Spirit: Innovation Grant Application is found at the bottom of this page.

Application Deadline

Proposal deadlines are quarterly, and due on the 15th of the month: January, April, July and October.