New Emergency Fund and SIF Granting Stream in Response to COVID-19

The COVID-19 crisis brings unique new demands on the charitable sector. Part of the McConnell Foundation’s response is to join with others in calling for an increase in charitable disbursements for 2020 to 5% (up from the 3.5% required by the CRA) and to propose a Sector Stabilization Fund. 

Today the Foundation is announcing two sources of support for the sector: a COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund to assist with immediate needs not covered by government programs, and a new stream of the Social Innovation Fund, Organizational Rebuilding, to help in the rebuilding period which will be required in the coming months. This complements funding of $2 million announced last month.


COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund

May 29, 2020 update: Due to the large volume of applications received, we have closed the intake of new applications to the Emergency Response Fund until further notice. If you have started a draft application in our granting portal but have not yet submitted, please do so prior to June 5th. The team is continuously reviewing applications and will provide additional updates in the coming weeks. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a health crisis compounded by an economic contraction, resulting in mass layoffs, small business closures and unemployment. Many charities are experiencing increased demand for frontline services. They may need to hire more staff and adapt programming or adopt new safety measures in the short term. There is an immediate and unprecedented need to support community organizations over the next six months as they rise to new challenges.

The Fund will 1) provide short-term support for community organizations facing increased demands, and 2) help organizations respond to new opportunities during the first few months of the pandemic and recovery period. 

We will be accepting applications from May 5, 2020.The duration of the granting window will be based on the timing, number and nature of applications received, but will likely remain open for about one month. All applicants must apply through our dedicated Fluxx portal.

Grant size, duration and timing

  • Grant size: from $5,000 to $75,000.
  • Duration: Projects should be completed within six months of receiving a grant.
  • Timing: Applicants will be informed regarding the Foundation’s decision (approval or declination) within one month of submitting a proposal.

Find out more



Social Innovation Fund — Organizational Rebuilding

June 11, 2020 update: Due to the large volume of applications received, we have closed the intake of new applications to the Organizational Rebuilding stream until further notice. 

The new Organizational Rebuilding stream of our Social Innovation Fund aims to help charities and non-profits prepare for or implement significant organizational change so that they can better serve their communities during and following this time of crisis. 

Activities under this steam could include such things as: 

  • developing online versions of programs 
  • governance innovation, including mergers or the formation of consortia to increase impact and efficiency 
  • creating new business models, including through revenue diversification
  • improving capacity for risk management 
  • training staff in an adapted service 
  • utilizing data more effectively.

Find out more 



In addition to funding, the Foundation may offer Social Innovation Fund (SIF) grantees technical and peer support, including through Innoweave and the Social Innovation Learning Program (SILP).

Banner photo by Yucel Moran on Unsplash