Capacity-Building Grants for Family Support Networks

Capacity-Building Grants for Family Support Networks

Apply Now! Deadline for 2022-2023 Grants is August 29, 2022

The OCO provides grants to Family Support Networks (FSNs) in Ontario – peer-based groups for family members and other unpaid caregivers who are supporting adults with developmental disabilities. This program is funded by the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (MCCSS).

The grant program aims to make it easier for families and caregivers of adults with developmental disabilities to find peer support in their community, share information, and build connections for their own wellbeing and the people they care for.  These capacity-building grants are intended to support, strengthen and expand Family Support Networks across the province. 

  • Who Can Apply
    • Are you a member of a Family Support Network?
    • Are you an organization that supports one or more Family Support Networks?
    • Are you part of an information group of family/caregivers that support people with developmental disabilities, but haven’t formalized as a group?

    This grant program is open to new and established Family Support Networks in Ontario that have members who are family members or unpaid caregivers of adults with a developmental disability. Organizations that support and empower family-led Family Support Networks may also apply.

    Grant funding is intended to support Family Support Networks as a group within the community – not to provide direct funding to families or individuals. See the Guidelines and Application for more information on eligibility.

  • Purpose of the Grant Program

    The grants will build capacity and sustainability of existing Family Support Networks (defined above) and encourage the creation of new Family Support Networks (FSNs) in order to achieve the following outcomes:

    1. Expand membership and enhance member engagement to deepen social connections and belonging for families of adults with a developmental disability;
    2. Provide forums for families and caregivers to support and mentor each other.
    3. Provide opportunities for members to share local initiatives and information related to developmental services, family/caregiver support and Covid-19;
    4. Support administrative needs of the network;
    5. Expand local activities and create network-specific resources;
    6. Share information and best practices with other Family Support Networks and communities.

    All proposed activities for funding must align with one or more of these objectives.

  • Funding Streams and Grant Funding Amounts:

    Applicants can apply for one of three funding streams:

    1. New/emerging FSNs ($1,000 to $4,500): To support the creation of new FSNs and build capacity for FSNs that are less established.
    2. Growth/support of existing Family Support Networks ($1,000 to $4,500): To build capacity of FSNs that are already established, but have a need for funding to sustain, strengthen and expand.
    3. Impact & Collaboration Grants ($2,500 to $10,000): To support collaborative initiatives that will have higher impact and will benefit families and caregivers of adults from more than one FSN or reach multiple communities across the province.
  • Guidelines and Application Form
  • Virtual Information Sessions for Applicants

    New and returning applicants are encouraged to join an information session (via Zoom) offered on two dates. Both sessions will cover the same content:

    AUGUST 10, 2022 – 7 p.m.
    Join Zoom Meeting

    AUGUST 17, 2022 – 12 pm
    Join Zoom Meeting

  • Frequently Asked Questions

    [ View PDF Version ]

    When will we hear if our grant application was successful?

    Our aim is to notify successful applicants by the week of September 12, 2022. If we have questions or require clarification about your application before making a final decision, notification may be delayed.

    Our Family Support Network or organization does not have a bank account! Does that mean we can’t apply?

    You can submit your application without having a bank account set up in the name of your FSN or organization, but this must be set up before you receive grant funding. You must have a bank account set up with two co-signatories and the Electronic Fund Transfer Information Form must be completed with all banking details before funds are released. If you can provide a void cheque, it will help ensure we have all the information we need.

    Does our Family Support Network need to have an agreement with an agency to flow our grant funds to us?

    No, Family Support Networks do not need an agreement with an agency. However, please see the Financial Requirements that must be in place to receive the grant funds.

    Several members of our family are supporting a family member with a developmental disability. Can we apply for a grant to support our family?

    No. These grants are for FSNs that bring together families and unpaid caregivers from multiple families in the community. Grant activities must benefit the FSN as a whole – not one individual or family.

    We haven’t formalized as a Family Support Network. Can we apply?

    Yes! We encourage groups that are just starting up to apply for the New & Emerging funding stream. FSNs often begin as informal networks of people from different families with similar experiences that have found peer connection to be helpful. The grant can be used to set up and formalize a Family Support Network and to pay for operating equipment or accounts such as zoom videoconferencing to facilitate connection.

    We are not sure which funding stream to apply for:

    If you have reviewed the Grant Guidelines and Application and are uncertain about which funding stream to apply for, reach out to and we’ll be happy to help you decide.

    How much funding will be awarded within each funding stream?

    We have not allocated a set amount to each funding stream. Funding decisions will be made based on the evaluation criteria outlined in the guidelines.

    We are interested in a grant larger than $4500 and want to learn more about the funding stream for Impact & Collaboration Grants.

    This stream is for collaborative initiatives that will have high impact and benefit families from more than one FSN or reach multiple communities across the province. Impact & Collaboration Grants will only be awarded if applications are received that score high on impact and value for money by our review panel.

    What if we don’t have social media?

    That’s ok, but we encourage you to create social media pages that help with member communication and are manageable to maintain.

    What can we use the grant for?

    Grants can be used for a wide range of activities and expenses, if they meet the grant guidelines. Here are a few examples of what successful recipients did last year. Be creative!

    • Technology support to help your group connect – phone, website, zoom account, etc.
    • Recruitment of new members
    • Resources to help families understand and navigate local supports
    • Speakers or facilitators for training workshops on topics of interest to members (e.g.: wellness, strategies for living well, arts-based mindfulness sessions)
    • Resource libraries
    • Local events and activities to support peer connection

    If the activities detailed in our application extend past March 31st, 2023, can we still apply?

    All activities listed in the application must be completed by March 31st, 2023.

    We are receiving a grant! When will be receive our money?

    The goal is for successful applicants to receive funds within 5 days of receiving the signed Acceptance Form and full financial information (mid to late September).

    Can a Family Support Network apply if it also supports children?

    Yes, as long as members of your Family Support Network include family members and unpaid caregivers of adults 18+.

    Our membership is mainly an email list. Do I need to include all their names and/or emails?

    No, simply include the names of any leadership or executive positions (president, treasurer, etc.) and indicate on the application that you primarily communicate via email and approximately how many people are on that list.

    Who do I contact if I have questions or require assistance with the application?

    You can email

  • Grants Awarded in 2021-2022

    Capacity-Building Grants were awarded to support 31 Family Support Networks from across Ontario for the 2021-2022 grant program.  Funding helped to strengthen and re-invigorate FSNs that were impacted by the pandemic, establish new networks, and create new tools, resources, and opportunities for mentorship and skill-building.

    Aspergers Society of Ontario FASD Ontario-Hamilton
    Autism Home Base Durham FSN Newmarket-Aurora
    BPSG – Sawubona Africentric Circle of Support Halton FASD
    Calm and Connected Leeds & Grenville Family Network
    Community Living Chatham-Kent Muskoka Family Network
    Community Living Parry Sound Northumberland Family Network
    DAFRS & Next Gen Group Ontario Families of Group Home Residents
    DANEO Parents of Adults with Developmental Disability
    Danforth Family Network Scarborough Residential Alternatives
    Durham Family Network Sibling Collaborative
    Everyday Friends and Family The Right Mattitude
    Facile Independent Facilitation Perth Team Love FASD Caregiver Support
    Families Matter Co-op Thunder Bay Family Network
    Family Alliance Ontario Waterloo Region Family Network
    Family Network Thames Valley Waterloo Wellington Down Syndrome Society
    Family Voice of Lanark County
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