Grant Fund

University is an exciting time, and is a place for growth, education, and fun. It is a chance to challenge yourself, and those around you.

The USC Grant Fund, which was formed five years ago following a student referendum, awards money to initiatives that seek to improve the student experience at Western University. The Grants Committee is chaired by the Secretary-Treasurer, who, alongside six students-at-large, decide and evaluate the merit of each submitted grant application.

Grant Applications for the 2017/18 Academic Year are now accepted here > https://westernusc.forms-db.com/view.php?id=73485

 

For grant writing assistance and questions about the application, please contact Robin Kirk at rkirk22@uwo.ca.

Introduction

The University Students’ Council of the University of Western Ontario values diversity and the personal, cultural, social and economic benefits it brings.  The USC expects all organizations that receive USC grants to comply with the Ontario Human Rights Code which prohibits discriminatory practices because of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, age, record of offences, marital status, same sex partnership status, family status, receipt of public assistance or disability.

One of the priority outcomes of the USC Grant system is to expose and educate students as to how grant systems work, how to write a grant application, and execute a grant project successfully.  The USC feels that its grant system will provide student leaders with important skills that could be applied in the student’s post graduate life.  Specifically, the USC grant process will provide students with experience that will prove valuable where grant writing or grant review (particularly in NGO/NPO or social enterprise firms) is a necessary skill set.

General Granting Principles

The USC believes that volunteers play a critical role in building a healthy and vibrant campus community.

The USC Grants system endeavours to provide support to individual students and student organizations for initiatives designed to build a healthy and vibrant campus community. The USC will favour grant applications that focus on initiatives that support the arts, culture, leadership development, education, spiritual development, and wellness.

Respect for diversity, inclusion, collaboration and partnership, and volunteerism should be key elements to any grant submitted to the USC.  Clear community support for the project and volunteer involvement in the delivery of and decision-making of the project are key principles for USC Grants.

Projects funded by USC Grants should yield learning opportunities and create conditions for increased community engagement of people of all ages, abilities, and cultures.

There must be a clear rationale provided in a grant application why the USC rather than other organizations (i.e. the university) is the best choice to fund the initiative.

The USC Grants offers funding for time-limited projects proposed and led by undergraduate students at Western University.

About USC Grants

The USC initiated a grant fund for student projects in the 2010-11 school year.  In the spring and early summer of 2013, the USC added more structure and guidelines to ensure the effective use of student funds when providing grants to student initiatives.  The USC Grants has an annual budget of approximately $100,000.  This fund is allocated into monthly allotments which are disbursed on a monthly basis over the course of the academic year starting in September and ending in March the following year.  For more information about the schedule of disbursement and specific regarding the size of the funds and monthly allotments, contact the USC’s Secretary Treasurer (secretarytreasurer@westernusc.ca).

How Do I Get A USC Grant?

Read this guide!  It will offer information as to the type of activities USC Grants will consider funding and guidance as to how to fill out the on-line application form:

Specifically, this guide will provide the following:

a. The process for applying for a grant.
b. How a grant is reviewed.
c. How information will be communicated to you.
d. The types of activities and projects that the grants committee will view favourably.
e. The key information that is required in a USC Grant application.
f. The information that the grants committee will expect to receive after a grant is approved.  Providing a plan to the committee as to reports you will provide to the committee after receiving the grant will be a critical element to having your application approved.

Staff in the USC department, Robin Kirk, Compliance Coordinator, (rkirk22@uwo.ca), or USC Secretary Treasurer (secretarytreasurer@westernusc.ca)are available to provide support to students seeking assistance with their USC Grant applications.

Click here to download the Grant Budget Template (Excel)

What Happens When A Grant is Submitted

When a grant is received, it goes through a review process.  The USC Grant Committee is made up of Western undergraduate students and is chaired by the USC Secretary Treasurer.  The typical period of grant review is twenty business days.   The review process is as follows:

Step 1:  Receipt of the USC Grant application by the USC Secretary Treasurer

a.  USC Secretary Treasurer reviews the application to see if the applicants – persons/organization – meet the basic eligibility requirements of USC Grant applications.
b.   Checks to make sure the application is complete and includes all the necessary attachments and information.
c.   Notifies the applicant if the application is incomplete and details the information required to complete the application.
d.  Close the file if, within seven working days after notification, all missing information is not submitted as requested.
e.  Where a student organization has applied for a USC Grant, the Secretary Treasurer will contact staff in the Student Organizations Supports department of the USC for a report as to whether the organization is in good standing with the USC and Western University.

Step 2:  Review by the USC Grant Committee

a.   The committee reviews and assesses the grant application.
b.   The committee may direct the Secretary Treasurer to contact the applicant and request additional information.
c.   The committee may consult with advisors, experts, or other organizations involved in and/or knowledgeable about the type of project proposed or who may be impacted by the project.  The USC considers the application to be confidential but may share information about it with internal or external advisors.
d.   The committee shall decide if the application merits approval and may:
i. recommend approval of the full amount requested or grant only a portion of the grant requested,
ii. establish conditions under which the grant is approved including and not exclusively, how the grant is used, other organizations/individuals to be  consulted and engaged, how the grant will be disbursed to the organization/individual, and the requirements as to reports to be filed during the execution of and/or on completion of the initiative being funded by the USC Grant system.

Step 3: Communications Regarding the Grant Application

a. If the application is approved, the applicant shall receive a Letter of Agreement via email which they can choose to accept or decline.  If the applicant requires more information and has questions, the applicant should contact the USC Secretary Treasurer via email.
b. If the application is denied, the applicant shall receive written notice via email.  Applicants are encouraged to discuss the reasons for the decline of their application with the Secretary Treasurer so as to receive guidance with respect to any future applications.
c.  The USC makes every effort to contact applicants as soon as possible after a decision is made but it is important to note that the process is “student-driven” and hence impacted by the academic work load of those student committee members.

Step 4:  Execution of the Grant

a. After the USC has awarded a grant and received a Letter of Agreement signed by the applicant, the applicant should meet with the USC Secretary Treasurer to arrange for receipt of the grant funds.
b.  All grant recipients are required to report on the progress and outcomes of project/initiative for which they are receiving the USC Grant.  The Letter of Agreement will specify the committee’s expectations as to the nature and timing of these reports. Failure to submit a report could delay receipt of further installments of the grant or result in various actions by the committee.  The lead contact identified as the grantee in the Letter of Agreement is expected to keep the USC Secretary Treasurer informed of any changes that affect their projects.  Grantees can seek assistance from the Compliance department should they have questions or concerns about the reports and other requirements of the USC Grants.
c.  Applicants who receive grants must submit a Final Report at the end of the grant and project.  Failure to submit a final report may have an impact on the ability of an organization to receive future USC funds.  The USC Secretary Treasurer will review all reports and may request further information if she or he has further questions or concerns.

Application Deadlines

1.  Proposals Due: The 10th day of each month, October to March.
2.  Successful and Unsuccessful Applicants Notified:  Within 3 weeks of application date.
3.  Memorandum of Understanding indicating conditions and deliverables of grants signed: The 1st day of each month, October to April.
4.  A schedule for receiving grant funds will be included in the Memorandum of Understanding.

What Are The Goals of the USC Grant System?

  • To assist in the development of student skills
  • To assist in the building, strengthening of the campus community
  • To support the diversity and inclusivity of the campus community
  • To provide students with innovative and real life opportunities to create learning opportunities and community building activities

What Are Categories of Activities Eligible for USC Grants?

The specific sectors of activities that the USC targets for USC Grants are:
•             Culture/Arts
•             Intellectual/Educational
•             Civic Engagement
•             Spiritual/Religious
•             Health and Wellness
•             Environment
•             Community Social Activity

The expected outcomes for initiatives in each of these sectors are provided below.

1. Culture/Arts

These project grants are awarded in order to create a rich and varied student arts landscape at Western and provide an opportunity to Western undergraduate student to grow artistically through art-making and participation in the presentation of arts on campus.

  • Research and development of individual artistic projects crucial to the development of the artist.
  • Interdisciplinary work – not necessarily work – that combines art forms, but work that links the artistic process to a wholly different field in a way that sheds new perspective on and/or understanding of each.
  • Support of events and student projects in the field including but not limited to dance, literature, music, theater, studio art, film, mixed media and arts practices that are multi-disciplinary in nature.
  • Funding requests where artistic development and/or creating community awareness of the arts is at the core of the proposal.
  • Preference for granting of funds is given to grant applications that are collaborative and that involve many students or student organizations in the making of art or presentation of art.
  • Preference for granting of funds is given to grant applications that demonstrate a creative approach to existing work(i.e. a play, musical work, dance etc.)

2. Intellectual/Educational

The USC encourages projects that enhance the intellectual development and well-being of undergraduates students and members of the campus community.  Extra-curricular learning is key for student development in terms of intellectual capacity, experience and maturation, and discovering and developing individual competencies and capacities.

3. Civic Engagement

Investment in initiatives designed to assist communities to prevent social problems and respond to emerging community challenges are strongly encouraged by the USC.  The USC believes that civic engagement ensures that Western undergraduates leave Western as engaged and caring citizens and not just trained workers.

4. Spiritual/Religious

The USC recognizes the importance of faith-based traditions to many students and supports activities that enhance the freedom of religious expression on campus.

5. Health and Wellness

The USC is committed to supporting initiatives designed to maintain a healthy campus environment and to support students wishing to take a leadership role in promoting healthy living.

6. Environment

Student initiatives designed to protect the natural environment and increase awareness about the vital relationship that students have with the ecosystem are welcome applications for a USC Grant.

7. Community Social Activity

Activities that engage the general campus community in arts, cultural, heritage, sports and leisure activities enhance the social, mental, and physical well-being of our community.  Such initiatives are eligible for consideration for receipt of USC funds.

General Terms and Conditions of USC Grants

1.  Funding is available for USC Grants for one-time activities or activities with a defined time frame.  Project grants may be for only a single year, not multi-year projects.

2.  Applicants must be enrolled as undergraduates in a minimum of two full-time courses at Western University.

3. The USC Grant program generally supports grants for proposals that have primarily a local impact.

4.  Grant applications are preferred where:

a. there is clear community support for the initiative for which funding is being requested,

b. a clear rationale for why the applicant believes that the USC is the best choice to fund the project rather than any other organizations (i.e. Western University).

c. the sponsoring organization/individual provides a commitment/plan to contribute from its own resources, ten percent (10%) of the total amount requested of the USC for the grant.

5.  All funded projects and associated advertising or promotional materials must recognize The University Students’ Council (University Students’ Council of The University of Western Ontario, USC) as the funder.  A package of approved graphics/logos shall be provided upon award of the grant.

6.  All funded projects must be executed and completed between October 30th and April 4th.  Completion of the project must include submission of all receipts, revenues, and reports re. metrics evaluating the success of the project.  Receipts not submitted within this time period will not be refunded.

7.  Funding will not be provided:

a. to organizations whose purpose is related to political activity (federal or provincial political parties) as defined by the Canada   Revenue Agency,
b. to “For-profit” organizations or private foundations,
c. where funding is duplicating funding received from another funder,
d. to cover existing budget deficits
e. for religious activities including renovations to a place of worship unless it is also used for community activities used for the general benefit of the community,
f. for political and/or advocacy activities, such as partisan activities or activities that promote a biased viewpoint or a political position on issues of public concern,
g. for activities that could be deemed discriminatory as defined by the Ontario Human Rights Code,
h. for dollar for dollar replacement of government funding,
i. for medical research or medical equipment,
j. for direct contributions to annual fundraising drives, capital campaigns or special fundraising events/campaigns,
k. for construction of new buildings,
l. for the purchase of land or buildings,
m. for activities completed or costs incurred before approval of the USC Grant,
n. for programs, activities or services outside of Canada,
o. for operating grants which cover ongoing program costs,
p. for capital grants to cover costs for renovations and equipment purchases including those for improved accessibility, enhancement of community spaces, increased energy efficiencies or “green” innovative technologies

Grant Applications involving Collaboration Between Individuals and/or Organizations

Collaboration in grant applications is strongly encouraged. Such agreements broaden the opportunity for learning among more students and student organizations.

A collaborative is made up of two or more organizations that jointly submit an application to achieve a common goal where there is mutual benefit, shared decision-making and accountability to each other.  A collaborative may include eligible and ineligible organizations but at least one applicant must be an eligible organization.

The USC requires that groups that apply as a collaborative use a USC Collaborative Agreement.  The agreement provides information to the USC as to how the parties to the agreement plan to work together and share or divide tasks, responsibilities and accountability, and funding.

A collaborative agreement is a living document.  It may change as the nature of your work and your relationships may change over time.  As the funded initiative progresses, grantees may wish or need to submit a revised collaborative agreement to the USC Secretary Treasurer.  The Secretary Treasurer and grant committee will assess the strength of your collaboration and your ability to work together.  Assistance in drafting or changing a collaborative agreement can be received from the Compliance Department of the USC (Shari McIntyre / shari.mcintyre@uwo.ca).