Vital Signs Grants

Edmonton Community Foundation’s (ECF) Vital Signs® Grants Program is an annual initiative that supports projects and programs that address the needs identified in ECF’s Vital Signs® Report.

The Vital Signs® Report is a yearly check-up conducted by ECF that measures how our community is doing on specific topics compared to national averages. Vital Signs® is part of a national initiative of participating community foundations, and you can learn more about it here.

Vital Signs® Grants is ECF’s way of going beyond simply identifying needs in the community. ECF offers grants for projects and programs that seek to address the issues identified in this year’s Vital Signs® Report. This year, we looked at Social Inclusion for newcomers, or people who have arrived in Canada, whether as an immigrant or refugee, in the past five years.

Based on the report’s findings, we are currently accepting applications for funding to support programs which seek to improve economic outcomes of newcomers. This may include programs which connect people to jobs, help people become more prepared to work, teach skills which help people get better jobs, improve spoken or written English, provide mentorship, help newcomers have foreign credentials recognized, and more.

Newcomers are defined as a person who has arrived in Canada, whether as an immigrant or refugee in the past five years.

Priority will be given to programs which include:

  • Significant input by newcomers in program development
  • A focus on those newcomers who are most at risk for poverty, including women
  • Enhancements or expansions of existing work with demonstrated success
  • A rationale based on evidence and/or a reasonable needs assessment
  • A clear plan for evaluation and measurement of outcomes; and
  • Collaborations and/or connections to appropriate organizations.

Charities working in the Edmonton area can apply for grants of up to $40,000 per year for three years for projects that meet the criteria. An organization that is not a registered charity wishing to apply for a Vital Signs® Grant may establish a written partnership with a registered charity. The registered Charity would apply for funds from ECF on the non-registered organization’s behalf. The Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) states that the relationship between the registered Charity and the non-charitable organization must be formalized and documented before a grant can be awarded. Click here to visit the CRA website for more information.

Applying for a Vital Signs® Grant is a two-stage process: a preliminary online grant application (due no later than June 28) followed by a full proposal (due no later than 12:00 noon on August 16), if one is requested.

There are also two optional (but strongly recommended) opportunities for organizations considering applying.

  • On May 2, organizations are encouraged to join us at ECF to meet with other potential applicants and review committee members. This will be an opportunity to learn about other organizations working in this field and to build partnerships. Organizations can also get preliminary feedback before they submit their application.
  • Sometime between July 6 and 13, we will host a conference call for all applicants going to the proposal stage. Applicants will hear more about the expectations of the review committee and to ask questions directly of the committee.

To access the online application:

  • Click here and register an account to apply online.
  • If you already have an account, log in with your username and password
  • Once you’ve registered an account, follow the link provided in the automated e-mail to activate your account
  • Log in and select the appropriate application (Vital Signs Economic Outcome).

Applicants must submit their application through ECF’s online portal no later than Wednesday, June 28.

For more information about Vital Signs® Grants, contact ECF’s Grants Team at or by phone at 780-426-0015.

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