Culture Operating Grant 2023

How to Submit your Application

• Online
Use the online submission form to upload PDFs of the application and attachments for all sections using the online submission process.
Please note that files uploaded must be no larger than 100 MB

• By Dropbox
Download the PDF and fillable Budget Form, assemble all documents in a package that includes a print copy and a digital copy.  Drop the complete package at the Bowen Complex located at 500 Bowen Road. The dropbox is located on the lower level of the building near the tennis courts (Pine Street Entrance). Please make sure your package is clearly marked with the applicable grant name.

A confirmation email will be sent to all applicants using the email address indicated in your application form to confirm that we have received your submission.


The City of Nanaimo recognizes the vital contribution of arts and culture activities to the City’s economic and social progress; the value of artistic and cultural expression; and enjoyment of life by its citizens. The work of the Culture & Events team is guided by the City of Nanaimo’s plans. The Official Community Plan outlines a commitment to investing in arts and culture for the purpose of strengthening the City’s economic base, improving the quality of life of residents, and enhancing community identity and pride. The Cultural Plan for a Creative Nanaimo further grounds the City’s strategic goals to build respectful, collaborative relationships with the communities we serve. 

Culture opens our minds to new perspectives. As convener, connector, facilitator, enabler and funder, the City of Nanaimo recognizes the crucial role of Nanaimo’s independent arts, culture and heritage organizations to be united by a desire to create impact and value for diverse publics.


To provide operational support for the activities of professional arts, culture and heritage organizations that play a significant role in contributing to the culture profile and economic vitality of Nanaimo.

Strategic Priorities 

The City’s strategic funding priorities for the program include:
  • activities that encourage the expression and visibility of arts and culture;
  • activities that promote and raise the cultural profile of Nanaimo;
  • innovative collaborations and partnerships with other arts groups, community and cross-sector organizations; and
  • neighbourhood-based activities.

Program Objectives

This grant is intended to support arts and culture non-profit organizations based in Nanaimo with demonstrated commitment to contributing to the cultural life of the City who: 
  • foster public enjoyment, engagement, community pride and a sense of shared identity through broad public access to a variety of quality arts and culture offerings
  • support and compensate local and regional professional artists
  • contribute a significant impact to the local creative economy
  • advance local arts and culture practices by contributing to Nanaimo’s cultural life locally, regionally, nationally and internationally

Eligibility Criteria

Applicants must:
  • be incorporated as a non-profit in Nanaimo and in good standing (provincially and / or federally) as a non-profit arts, culture or heritage organization with a mandate to serve the public;
  • be in operation for at least three (3) years;
  • offer year-round operation / seasonal public programming and / or services to artists; and
  • show evidence of support from other sources (public and / or private).

Operating grants fund a maximum of 25% of an organization’s total annual operating budget.

Eligibility for Three-Year Funding

Three-year funding is available to established professional culture and heritage non-profit organizations that have been in operation for at least 4 years. In order to be eligible, applicants must also be receiving operating funding at the provincial and/or federal level, and must have received at least 1 operating grant through the City's Culture & Heritage grant programs; must have an arts / culture / heritage mandate; be recognized for excellence in their artistic discipline, provide annual programming to the community; demonstrate long-range financial stability on a year-round basis; be able to articulate long-term artistic visioning and planning. Professional organizations are defined as those that employ professional artists, pay industry standard artist fees, and have paid administrative staff. Three-Year application forms are available upon request through

Ineligible Organizations

  • Organizations that do not have arts, culture or heritage mandates
  • City of Nanaimo departments
  • Organizations with outstanding balances owed to the City of Nanaimo
  • Publicly funded or private educational institutions (public schools, universities, colleges, training organizations)
  • Organizations located and operating outside of the boundaries of the City of Nanaimo
  • Organizations that have not submitted their final report

Organizations are not eligible for Culture Operating Grant funding if they receive other operational funding from the City of Nanaimo.  

Organizations that receive operating grant support who wish to undertake opportune collaborative projects or capacity building activities that can be clearly demonstrated to be outside their regular operations may apply for one supplemental Culture Project grant per cycle. Projects that will be considered must be either a new (non-recurring) Collaboration or Partnership or a specific Organizational Capacity Building activity (ie. professional development, mentorship, strategic planning).  One supplemental Culture Project grant can be submitted alongside Operating grants. 

Eligible Activities

Operating grants fund a year-round cycle of operations at an organization, and are a contribution to the overall operations, programs and activities of the organization. An organization seeking operating funds must demonstrate their ongoing activity by providing a “Program of Work,” which describes programming, administration, community involvement and promotion. 

A “Program of Work” should describe:

  • The mandate of your organization and the kinds of activities you undertake, including public engagement and community outreach initiatives
  • How your organization is composed, including the governance structure, and ongoing administrative and creative staffing
  • Specific initiatives that foster collaborations and partnerships with other organizations (public and private, non-profit and for-profit)

Ineligible Activities 

  • Capital projects
  • Recuperation of deficits
  • The distribution of bursaries or scholarships

Assessment Criteria

Applications will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
(40%) MERIT
  • Quality of proposed programming activities, participating artists and / or contributors
  • Alignment of proposed activities and goals with the organization’s mandate, vision and mission
  • Degree to which proposed activities are innovative and / or degree to which proposed activities have community support
  • Activities that align with  the Culture Grant program objectives and strategic priorities
  • Organizational capacity, governance and demonstrated ability to deliver the proposed project
  • Financial health of the organization, as demonstrated by financial statements and realistic proposed budgets with diverse sources of revenue
  • Ability to provide rich cultural experiences and learning opportunities for the public that build appreciation for arts and culture
  • Offer professional services and opportunities to artists that can support and advance their work or career 
  • Economic impact in the community, contribution towards the health and vitality of the arts and culture sector

Adjudication Process

Applications must be received by the deadline. Late or incomplete applications will not be considered. Applications will be screened to determine eligibility and evaluated according to the assessment criteria. Recommendations will be made to Council for distribution of funds. Decisions are guided by the program’s mandate, objectives and assessment criteria. Council decisions are final. 

Appeal Process

If there was an error in the assessment process (for example, that support material was misplaced), applicants may file a formal complaint, in writing, within 10 calendar days of notification of results. All appeals will be reviewed by an appeals committee.

Terms & Conditions of Funding

General Terms and Conditions
Your signed submission indicates that you formally acknowledge terms and conditions of funding. The awarding of a grant is at the sole and absolute discretion of the City of Nanaimo. The City of Nanaimo retains the right to rescind or reduce any grant previously awarded. The circumstances for rescinding a grant include but are not limited to:
  • failure to meet the terms and conditions of the grant
  • failure to comply with legal obligations
  • failure to respect the commitment to provide a workplace free from harassment, discrimination and sexual misconduct
  • unapproved changes to funded activities
  • significant risk of insolvency or bankruptcy
Final Reports
Grant recipients must use the Culture Grant Report Form to complete and submit their final report by the due date specified in the results letter. 
Final reports must detail any substantial changes to your original proposal and must include an accounting of spent and unspent funds. Failure to provide a final report will result in the rejection of all new funding applications. 

Grant Repayment
If for any reason you cannot use the grant at the expected time, decide not to carry out the plans described in your grant application or refuse the grant conditions, you must notify us immediately. If you are unable to undertake your Program of Work, funds may need to be returned to the City of Nanaimo.


The City of Nanaimo will deliver awarded funds by cheque or direct deposit. To receive funds via EFT, recipient must fill out and return the EFT form, along with a VOID cheque.

Changes to Activities
Changes to the scope of your original proposal must be approved by the City of Nanaimo. You must notify the City of Nanaimo immediately if you cannot use part or the entire grant during the period stated in your application. If there are major changes to your proposed activities (for example: changes to the purposes of your organization) you must submit an interim update for Staff approval. 

Acknowledgement of the City of Nanaimo and Logo Use
Public acknowledgement of support is required for all grant recipients. Please ensure that all materials (including copies of reports, advertising, oral presentations and publicity relating to the project(s) or programming credit the support of the grant. Please ensure proper logo use when crediting the City of Nanaimo’s support. You can request logo files by contacting

Permits, Fees, Applications
The approval of this grant does not indicate approval of associated required permits for public events. Processing special event permits can take several weeks. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that all necessary permits have been obtained prior to commencing project and or event and ensure compliance with all required permits.

Documents submitted by applicants become property of the City of Nanaimo. The City will make every effort to maintain the confidentiality of each application and the information contained therein except to the extent necessary to communicate information to Staff and the committee for the purpose of evaluation and analysis. The City will not release this information to the public except required under the Province of BC’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act or other legal disclosure process.

Tax Implications
Organizations must be registered non-profit societies, in good standing, and will receive cheques in the society name.  

Important Notes

• Late applications will not be reviewed.
• Applicants who have received funding in previous years must submit a Final Report on your most recently completed year of activities, 90 days after completion.  If your organization’s most recently funded fiscal year is not yet complete at the time of application, please report on the last fully completed fiscal year, and follow up with a final report 90 days after your fiscal year end.
• Culture & Heritage Grant Final Report Form is available online or by contacting us directly.

For more information, contact:
Culture & Events

Last updated: July 26, 2022

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