Niagara Investment in Culture Program

Program Cancelled

On Oct. 21, 2021 Regional Council approved the cancellation of the Niagara Investment in Culture program. The program will be reconsidered in a Regional incentives report that is expected by October 2024.

The Niagara Investment in Culture program was created to:
  • Build capacity in Niagara’s culture sector
  • Increase access to culture for residents and visitors in all parts of Niagara
  • Promote partnerships between public, private and governmental sectors
  • Provide support to Niagara culture groups and participants
  • Celebrate Niagara’s history, people and identity

Our goal is to support interesting, innovative and high quality cultural programming that is Niagara-based, inclusive, collaborative and accountable.

Program categories

There are two categories of eligibility for the program:

  • Any one of Niagara's 12 municipalities; or
  • Non-profit Niagara cultural organizations

Arms-length cultural organizations, such as organizations which receive some regular municipal operating funding but answer to a board or are similarly separate from the municipality, such as museums or libraries, may submit under the cultural organization-led category.

Apply for the Niagara Investment in Culture Program

The 2021 Niagara Investment in Culture program has been adapted in response to COVID-19 and related requirements. Read through the material carefully to ensure your project is eligible and can comply with the revised program guidelines.

Criteria and process

  • Eligibility criteria

    To be eligible for funding under either category, the project application must meet the following criteria

    • Projects must be organized and hosted in Niagara
    • The majority of people hired as a part of the project must reside in Niagara
    • Municipalities and organizations can only be project lead on one Niagara Investment in Culture project per funding year, but can partner or work with other organizations or municipalities on other Niagara Investment in Culture projects
    • Project events / activities must be open to the public and publicized
    • Project should be new, or in special cases, a demonstrably new component of an existing project, not just a new format
    • Project should have clear, significant and measurable indicators and evaluation data
    • Project should have a clear and reasonable budget
    • Project must have confirmed support from at least two key partners specifying their support and role(s)
    • Project must be completed by Dec. 26, 2021
    • Cultural organization applicants must be governed by an accountable board, steering committee or the equivalent
    • Applicants must be in verifiable fiscal health
    • Niagara Investment in Culture funding requests may be for up to 75 per cent of the total cash budget
    • For municipally-led projects, municipalities will be expected to contribute a minimum of 25 per cent of the total Niagara Investment in Culture funds requested
  • Evaluation process and criteria

    Key evaluation criteria for Niagara in Culture submissions are:

    • Overall quality of the project
    • Novelty and innovation of the project
    • Number, nature and diversity of partnerships
    • Number of people in Niagara who will benefit from the project
    • Ways / degrees to which the project supports the goals of the Niagara Culture Plan
    • Potential of the project to have a strong legacy component
    • Potential of the project to build cultural capacity in Niagara
    • Amount of non-governmental funding committed toward the project

    In addition to the criteria listed above, adjudicators will also consider:

    • Quality and viability of the project in the current and evolving pandemic environment
    • Potential of the project to be successfully delivered in 2021
    • Ability / record of the applicant to provide complete, timely program reporting

    Each application will be reviewed by Niagara Region staff to ensure it's complete and meets the eligibility criteria. A Niagara Investment in Culture 2021 Adjudication Panel composed of members of the cultural community, Niagara Region Culture Committee, Regional Council and Niagara Region staff (non-voting) will review applications. A list of successful applications will be received by Regional Council, followed by a public announcement of the recipients.

    The Niagara Investment in Culture program reserves the right to determine award amounts which may or may not reflect applicant requests, and the right not to designate awards in any given instance. There will be no appeals. Available program funding subject to Council approval.

  • Funding prohibitions

    Niagara Investment in Culture program funding may NOT be used for:

    • Operating funding for any organization or program
    • Retroactively for any project expenses incurred before Feb. 15, 2021
    • Direct grants, bursaries or awards to individuals or organizations
    • Capital infrastructure or software purchase (small-scale equipment rental or purchase may be considered on a case-by-case basis)
    • Fireworks
    • Alcohol
    • Projects promoting specific religious beliefs or any discriminatory activities
    • Stand-alone commercial, fundraising or for-profit activities
    • Debt repayment
    • Any project not completed by Dec. 26, 2021

Project leads are required to notify Niagara Region of any actual or anticipated major changes to their projects as soon as possible, and within one day in writing of project cancellations.

Applications are closed for the 2021 Niagara Investment in Culture program.

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