Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is a community foundation?
Community foundations bring together people who care about their communities. They are independent, volunteer driven, charitable organizations that aim to strengthen their communities by facilitating philanthropy, by partnering with donor to build permanent endowments and other funds from which they support community project, and by providing leadership on issues of broad community concern.
Founded on trust, community foundations help donors achieve their charitable goals and invest financial capital in their communities. But they also stimulate and nurture the relationships that link us to others and that create our sense of belonging to a community. Social scientists call these vital connections "social capital" and have found that they are linked to many measures of community and individual well being. Community foundations, experienced in building financial capital for their communities, also have a leadership role in building social capital -- the glue that holds communities together.
2. Why should I support the Foundation?
A gift to the Sarnia Community Foundation provides the most flexible outlet for philanthropy. The Foundation ensures that a permanent endowment is in place and that it will be available to meet the needs of the community through the charities taking part in the grants process. The Sarnia Community Foundation is able to respond with timely and relevant grants as the needs in the community change from year to year.
Through the stewardship of experience and dedicated community leaders the assets of the Sarnia Community Foundation will continue to grow. You can be sure in the knowledge that your donation will be permanently invested and safely guarded for the future.
All donations to the Foundation's endowed funds create a lasting legacy within the local community.
3. Where do my contributing dollars go?
Your dollars are held in one of our many endowed funds. The income from these funds is used to fund our communty grants to local charities. The Sarnia Community Foundation has approved many grants since 1985. A complete listing is available by calling the Foundation office at 519-332 2588.
4. How can I make a donation?
There are many ways in which to make a donation to the Sarnia Community Foundation. All donations large and small are important to help us build and continue growing our community fund which will be a legacy for the future. For a complete list of ways that you can give please visit our Donation page.
5. Who is supporting the Foundation?
All kinds of people. You don't have to donate a lot to make a difference in your community. A small donation can have a big impact over time.
6. How do I create a fund?
Please call the Foundation Office to explore the best fit for your charitable interests. Funds can be created quickly and easily and can be built over a period of time.
Our staff can assist you in establishing a fund at the Foundation. We are able to accept many types of gifts and will work with you and your advisors to ensure that your philanthropic interests are served. Fund holders can choose to support their community broadly or designate a favourite cause or charity. The Foundation provides many services to donors and fund holders to help them make the most of their charitable gifts.
7. Who should I contact for more information?
Our staff will be pleased to assist you. Please contact us in person, by phone or by email.
Our office is located at
560 Exmouth Street, Suite 110
Sarnia, ON N7T 5P5
8. How do I know if I can apply for a grant?
Grants are made once per year as a result of an application process. Grants are not given for:
- Annual Fund drives
- Travel costs
- Building campaigns
- Debt reduction
- Institutions' statutory programs
- Projects or programs that will be completed before the grant decision takes place
- Political activities
- Endowment funds
- Core operating expenses
- Core operating equipment
- Direct religious activities
9. How do I know if our organization is eligible for a grant?
To be eligible to receive a grant from the Sarnia Community Foundation an organization must:
- be a registered charitable organization with the Government of Canada
- be in operation for at least one year
- provide services that directly benefit the citizens of Sarnia-Lambton
- receive volunteer support from the community
If you are unsure about your eligibility please call the Foundation Office.
10. My organization needs money for building repairs; can I apply for a grant?
Please read the explanation in question 8.
11. What documents do I need to supply when applying for a grant?
The grant application form lists all the required documents. In order to apply you must be able to complete all sections of the application. The Foundation staff would be pleased to meet with you to answer any questions you might have.
12. What is the process of applying for a grant?
The Sarnia Community Foundation advertises the availability of grants once per year. Once the advertisement appears, grant applications will be available on the website or by calling the Foundation office. Once the application is received it is checked by the Foundation staff to ensure it is complete. If the application is complete, the application and all the supporting paperwork are then forwarded to the Grants Committee for their review. In the case of an incomplete application the Foundation staff will endeavour to contact applicant and request the needed materials. All applications must be complete by the published date for submission. Incomplete and/or late applications cannot be considered.
13. Why must I supply ten copies of each document?
This ensures that each member of the Grants committee has paperwork as supplied by the applicant. The Foundation staff does not complete applications nor do they weight them in advance of the Grant Committee meetings. It is the responsibility of the applicant to supply sufficient information for the committee to make its decision and to ensure that each package is complete.
14. My organization received a grant last year... can we apply again?
Yes. The application will be reviewed under the criteria published on the website and listed in the grant application.
15. Why didn't we get the grant we applied for?
Each application is carefully reviewed by the Grants committee. Generally the Foundation receives applications for funds that far exceed the dollars available and so the grants committee looks at each application within the framework of the dollars available, the impact the project will have on the community and the number of people that will be served as a result.
The Foundation also receives a number of applications from groups or for projects and programmes that are not eligible for funding based on the guidelines of the Canada Revenue Agency and on the criteria published on our website and in the grant application. These applications will not be funded. If you aren't sure whether you meet the criteria, please call the Foundation office. We'd be happy to speak with you.
This page was last modified: July 5, 2009