Culture Project Grant

2024 City of Nanaimo Culture Project Grant intake is now closed.  Thank you for your interest.

Culture Project Grants assist culture and heritage organizations to realize projects that benefit our community and contribute to the cultural, social and economic vitality of Nanaimo.

View the 2024 Summary of Grants Awarded
View the Culture Grant FAQ page

Deadline: October 10th, 2023 (CLOSED)
Grant applications must be received by 4:00 pm on the day of deadline to be eligible for consideration in this funding stream.

For more information contact:

Culture & Events

Important Notes

  • Late applications will not be reviewed.
  • Applicant (or representative) must have attended a mandatory Zoom meeting prior to submission.
  • Applicants who have received funding in previous years must submit a Final Report on your most recent project, 90 days after completion.  If your previous project is not yet complete at the time of application, please submit an interim report.  Failure to provide a Final Report will render new applications ineligible.

    *If content of section exceeds space allocated in field, please provide supplemental pages to your report for legibility.


    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 strategic planning document, City Plan - Nanaimo ReImagined. The City 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. Further grounded within this integrated document are 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 and culture organizations to be united by a desire to create impact and value for diverse publics.


    To assist culture organizations to realize projects that benefit our community and contribute to the cultural, social and economic vitality of Nanaimo.

    Strategic Priorities 

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

    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 in the local creative economy
    • advance local arts and culture practices by contributing to Nanaimo’s cultural life locally, regionally, nationally and internationally

    Eligibility Criteria

    Both professional and volunteer-driven culture non-profit organizations may apply. 

    Applicants must:
    • be based in Nanaimo 
    • be incorporated and in good standing (provincially or federally) as a non-profit organization with an arts, culture or heritage mandate;
    • be in operation for minimum of 1 year (new and emerging groups will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis);
    • have successfully produced and documented at least one prior project or event; 
    • show evidence of project support from other sources (public and/or private, cash and/or in kind); 
    Project grants fund a maximum of 25% of total project costs. Applicants may submit up to 3 applications for 3 separate projects per year. 

    Ineligible Organizations

    • Organizations that do not have arts, culture or heritage mandates
    • City of Nanaimo departments
    • Groups with outstanding balances owed to the City of Nanaimo
    • Publicly funded or private educational institutions (public schools, universities, colleges, training organizations)
    • Organizations located outside of the boundaries of the City of Nanaimo 
    • Previously funded organizations that have not submitted a final report
    • Organizations that have not had a representative attend a mandatory Grant Preparation Zoom meeting
    Organizations presently receiving Operating grants may apply for one supplemental project grant per funding cycle in one of two categories: Collaborations and Partnerships or Organizational Capacity Building. Activities must not be funded through the City of Nanaimo’s Culture Operating Grant. 

    Eligible Projects

    Proposed projects will fall into 4 main areas:
    • Events  (i.e. public events and community arts and culture projects that animate public space).
    • Festivals (i.e. recurring or one-time cultural festivals) 
      Note: Events and Festivals taking place downtown may apply to either the Downtown Event Revitalization Fund or to the Culture Project Grant.
    • Collaborations and Partnerships (i.e. special projects that involve collaboration or partnership with other organizations, including non-profit and for-profit businesses)
    • Organizational Capacity Building (i.e. initiatives that seek to increase the organizational and long-term sustainability of the organization);  “Capacity building” refers to intentional, coordinated and mission-driven efforts aimed at strengthening the management and governance of non-profits to improve performance and impact. This can include activities such as leadership development, strategic planning, program design and evaluation, financial planning and management and others.

    Ineligible Projects

    • Projects where the central focus is not arts or culture
    • Capital projects
    • Recuperation of deficits
    • The distribution of bursaries or scholarships
    • Projects occurring outside of the boundaries of the City of Nanaimo
    • Projects that have received funding assistance through other sources at the City of Nanaimo 

    Assessment Criteria

    Applications will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

    (40%) MERIT
  • Quality of proposed project, participating artists or contributors
  • The degree to which proposed activities are innovative or distinctive
  • The degree to which the proposed project has community support

  • Activities that reflect the four strategic funding priorities outlined in this grant
  • Demonstrated capacity to plan, administer and deliver the proposed project
  • Realistic proposed budgets with diverse sources of revenue

  • Public impact in terms of providing rich experiences and learning opportunities that build appreciation for and connection to arts and culture
  • Economic impact in the community, contribution towards the health and vitality of the arts and culture sector
  • Potential to raise the profile of Nanaimo through promotion of its arts and culture offerings
  • 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

    You must formally acknowledge that you accept your grant by the date specified in your results letter. 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 complete your project or event any unspent funds must be returned to the City of Nanaimo. Unused grant funds will not be carried over to the next calendar year. 


    The City of Nanaimo will deliver awarded funds by direct deposit. To receive funds via electronic funds transfer (EFT), recipient must fill out and return the EFT form, along with VOID cheque or verified account information printout from banking institution.

    Statement of Inclusivity

    Recipients of City of Nanaimo Culture Grant funding must demonstrate commitment to City of Nanaimo Policy C4.2 Equity and Inclusivity
    “Equity recognizes that each person has different circumstances and allocates resources and opportunities to support more positive outcomes for all regardless of age, ability, gender, sexual orientation, faith practice, ancestry, or background. By identifying inequities and targeting investment in prevention and intervention, the wellbeing and inclusion of the diversity of people that make up our entire community can be enhanced, creating a city that puts people first and supports a sense of belonging.”

    Funding is provided with the expectation that recipients will:
    Create a welcoming, inclusive atmosphere where all people feel safe, comfortable and represented (Policy C4.2.1) 

    Encourage diversity awareness and build a culture of compassion for people of all cultures, genders, orientations, ages and abilities (Policy C4.2.8).

    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 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 focus of the project, in the activity budget, to key creative personnel or a significant change to the timeline) you must submit a project update form for approval. 

    City staff must approve any major changes to your funded activities before you carry them out. 

    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 funds in the society name.  

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