Application Guidelines – Endowment Incentives Component

Canada Cultural Investment Fund

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Objectives and expected results for the Canada Cultural Investment Fund

The Canada Cultural Investment Fund (CCIF) encourages private sector investment, partnership and sound business practices to help arts and heritage organizations be better rooted and recognized in their communities.

The CCIF program has three components that work together in achieving these objectives: Endowment Incentives; Limited Support to Endangered Arts Organizations; and Strategic Initiatives.

Ultimately, the CCIF helps to create an environment in which Canadians value and invest in arts and heritage organizations.

Objectives and expected results for the Endowment Incentives component

The Endowment Incentives component encourages private donors to contribute to endowment funds for not-for-profit professional arts organizations, so they can access new sources of funding in the future. Canadians are encouraged to support the arts by providing donations to an arts organization's endowment fund in order to diversify their revenue streams and help them realize their artistic goals. The government provides matching funds – of up to one dollar for every dollar raised from private donors – to create endowment funds or to increase existing ones.

By raising capital and growing endowments, the expected result of the Endowment Incentives component is a community of arts organizations that demonstrate sound organizational, administrative and financial health. This gives these organizations greater capacity for realizing artistic expression, while contributing to a more resilient sector.

Application deadline

December 1

When an application deadline falls on a Saturday, Sunday or a statutory holiday, it is extended to the following working day.

Who can apply

Your application must be submitted jointly by a not-for-profit professional arts organization and an associated foundation. Each of these two parties must meet the respective eligibility criteria. The foundation becomes the recipient of the matching funds; the not-for-profit professional arts organization is the final beneficiary of the income generated from the foundation's investment.

Associate Foundation

To be eligible for funding, the foundation must be a publicly registered charitable foundation at the time of application, as described in subsection 149.1(1) of the Income Tax Act, and have a mandate to accumulate, administer, and invest capital assets for the purpose of providing part or all the annual income to the beneficiary arts organization.

Beneficiary Arts Organization

To be eligible, the not-for-profit professional arts organization must:

  • be incorporated under the appropriate federal, provincial or territorial legislation; and
  • have as its principal mission (core purpose as outlined in its mission statement):
  • either receive support from one of the following sources within the last five fiscal years:
    • Canada Council for the Arts; or
    • Department of Canadian Heritage, specifically the Canada Arts Presentation Fund or the Canada Arts Training Fund, or the Fathers of Confederation Buildings Trust.
  • or, if no financial support has been received from one of the sources listed above within the last five fiscal years, the organization must provide documentation to demonstrate that it operates at a professional level as follows:
    • i. Not-for-profit professional arts organization that creates, produces, or presents professional artistic works must:
      • have a paid artistic director or equivalent; and
      • pay artistic fees at established national standards for the artistic discipline(s) and practice in which it operates.
    • ii. Not-for-profit professional arts organization that provides training of professional artists must:
      • offer a professional program, operating under an artistic director or equivalent, dedicated to preparing students for professional careers in their artistic discipline;
      • have an admission, selection, and evaluation process (portfolio review, auditions, etc.) for students; and
      • be staffed by qualified artistic and administrative professionals.

        Also, we may consider the achievements and employment status of graduates as an indicator of the professionalism of the training provided by an organization.

In addition, the not-for-profit professional arts organization:

  • must have been in operation for a minimum of three years prior to the application; and
  • must have reached a certain degree of financial health and demonstrated commitment to its long-term sustainability.
    • The financial health of the arts organization is calculated using a combination of financial ratios based on the total operating revenue and the total unrestricted net assets.
    • For the deadline dates of December 1, 2020 and 2021, the program will assess the financial health of the arts organization PRIOR to the COVID-19 pandemic, which began March 2020. This means that:
      • any organization that received a matching fund in 2019-2020 could be eligible.
      • for applicants that received funding from the component prior to 2019 or new applicants, an assessment of their net assets ratio using latest financial statements prior to COVID-19 will be conducted and they cannot have a negative net assets ratio in excess of 15% of the total operating revenues for the fiscal year prior to COVID-19. The net assets used in the calculation must exclude any externally restricted components. Both figures (net assets and total operating revenues) to be used in this calculation are based on the financial statements, presented according to the generally accepted accounting.

Heritage organizations, competitions, arts service organizations, cultural industries and their associations, Federal agencies, Crown corporations, provinces, territories, and municipalities and their agencies are not eligible under this component.

Funds eligible for matching

Eligible applicants receive funding from us to match the funds raised from private donations, up to a maximum of one dollar for each dollar raised (see also Limits of government assistance section below).

To be considered for matching funds, donations must come from private sources. These can include non-governmental sources such as gifts from individuals, corporations or non-government foundations.

Funds can also include an amount an arts organization has decided to donate in perpetuity, out of its own assets, to the endowment fund held by its associated foundation.

For the next two years, for the deadlines of December 1, 2020 and 2021, only private donations raised and deposited in the 12 months preceding the deadline are eligible to be matched (December 1 to November 30).

For the deadline of December 1, 2022, only private donations raised and deposited in the 11 months between December 1, 2021 and October 31, 2022 will be eligible to be matched.

As of December 1, 2023, the period to raise and deposit private donations will return to encompassing 12 months, from November 1, 2022 to October 31, 2023.

Funds ineligible for matching:

  • Public funds from any levels of government;
  • Pledges;
  • Bequests in probate;
  • Annual revenues generated by an existing endowment fund; and
  • Private sector donations for which matching funds have already been requested (unmatched portion) from the Endowment Incentives component.


We are responsible for determining the eligibility of the foundation, the arts organization and matching funds.

Our component is highly competitive. Requests for funding typically exceed available Program resources.

Limits of government assistance

For each arts organization, the maximum amount that can be requested for matching in each fiscal year is the lesser of:

  • $2,000,000; or
  • 50% of the average total operating revenues of the organization's past three completed fiscal years.

However, once an arts organization has benefited from funding totaling $10,000,000, the maximum amount that can be requested for matching in a fiscal year is the lesser of:

  • $1,000,000; or
  • 50% of the average total operating revenues of the organization's past three completed fiscal years.

How to apply

Read these Application Guidelines in their entirety before completing your application. 

To calculate the maximum annual request per arts organization:

  • Step 1: Calculate the average annual operating revenues of the arts organization based on the last three completed fiscal years, from the date of application; and calculate 50% of this amount.
  • Step 2: Review the total amount of Endowment Incentives grants benefiting the arts organization received to date. If total grants received to date are less than $10,000,000 total, an arts organization may apply for up to $2,000,000 per year. If total grants received to date are more than $10,000,000, an arts organization may apply for up to $1,000,000 per year.
  • Step 3: Choose the lesser of the amounts from Step 1 or Step 2 as they apply to the arts organization's situation.
  • Indicate the requested amount on the application forms.

The foundation and the arts organization must complete their respective form and together submit all required documentation, as per the table below.

Documents Foundation Arts Organization

Joint Terms and Conditions:

  • Declaration and Attestation
  • Funding Conditions
  • Joint Certification to Authenticate Donations



Foundation Form:

  • Information
  • Report on Results - Overall Value of the Endowment Fund


Not required

Foundation Supporting Documents:

  • Financial Statements
    Audited Financial Statements required for revenues of $250,000 or over
    Review Engagement Report required for revenues of less than $250,000
  • Letters patent and their amendments, status of incorporation, mandate and by-laws
  • Investment Policy


Not required

Arts Organization Form:

  • Information
  • Breakdown of Requested Amount for Matching
  • Calculation Worksheet for Eligible Amount
  • Resolutions of the Board of Directors

Not required


Arts Organization Supporting Documents:

  • Financial Statements
    Audited Financial Statements required for requests of $250,000 or over
    Review Engagement Report required for requests of less than $250,000
  • Letters patent and their amendments, status of incorporation, mandate and by-laws
  • Strategic Plan / Business Plan
  • Proof that the arts organization operates at a professional level (Please refer to the Application Form - Arts Organization Supporting Documents section for details)

Not required


Application process

Email submissions

We encourage you to submit your application package electronically to the following email address:

The email must be sent no later than 11:59 p.m. local time on the date of the application deadline for your application to be considered.

Mail or in-person submissions

You can mail, courier or hand-deliver your complete application package to the following address:

Department of Canadian Heritage
Canada Cultural Investment Fund
Endowment Incentives Component
25 Eddy Street, 13th Floor, Room 297 (25-13-V)
Gatineau, Quebec  
K1A 0M5

Your application must be postmarked or hand-delivered no later than the published deadline to be considered.

How applications are evaluated

Funding decisions are based on the availability of funds and the number of eligible applications received. The funding amount is determined once the eligibility of all applications has been completed.

Failure to comply with any conditions of a previously funded project will be considered in the evaluation of your new application and could result in the rejection of your new application.

Application processing time

For application processing time, please refer to the Service standards for Canadian Heritage funding programs or contact the program.

We will acknowledge receipt of your application within two weeks of receiving your application in our office.

Funding decisions

Please note that decisions regarding eligibility and funding amounts are final.

How funding is provided

We provide funding in the form of a grant.

A grant is a payment issued to the foundation based on pre-established eligibility criteria.

All foundations and arts organizations are required to report on results, which will be used for statistical and trends analysis.

Funding conditions

The conditions specified in the funding agreement for restricted capitalization, control and accountability mechanisms must be accepted by the foundation and the arts organization at the time of application.

Funding from the Endowment Incentives component, together with the equivalent sum raised from private donors, must be capitalized in perpetuity in the foundation's restricted assets, in accordance with the limitations outlined in the funding agreement. Only the income generated by the funds may be made available to the associated not-for-profit arts organization. This income can be used by arts organizations for their regular operations or to undertake special initiatives.

The difference between the requested amount of money for matching and the amount approved by the Endowment Incentives component is not subject to funding agreement restrictions. For example, if a foundation requested $2,000,000 under the component and received a grant of $1,500,000, the difference of $500,000 is not subject to the funding agreement restrictions. However, it may be subject to other restrictions, such as donors' conditions.

Grants from the Endowment Incentives component may not be subject to any cost or other expenditure, other than reasonable and standard administration and investment charges, which shall not exceed 2% of the total grant amount received through this component.

The cost of fundraising activities must be borne by the operational budgets of the beneficiary arts organization if the arts organization is partnering with a foundation other than its own.

The foundation and the beneficiary arts organization must be able to certify that current or former public office holders or public servants in their employment are in compliance with the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector and the Conflict of Interest and Post Employment Code for Public Office Holders in all matters relating to the affairs of the applicants.

Additional conditions may be included in your funding agreement.

Workplace well-being

The Government of Canada is strongly committed to promoting healthy workplaces where harassment, abuse and discrimination are not tolerated. Organizations that receive funding from Canadian Heritage must take measures to create a workplace free from harassment, abuse and discrimination.

Official languages requirements

We are committed to taking positive measures to enhance the vitality of official-language-minority communities and to promote the use of English and French in Canadian society. If you receive funding, you agree to comply with the official languages requirements set out in your application and in your funding agreement.

Acknowledgement of financial assistance

If you receive funding, you must publicly acknowledge – in English and in French – the financial support received from us in all communications materials and promotional activities. Additional requirements may be included in your funding agreement.

For additional information, please refer to our Guide on the public acknowledgement of financial support.

Access to information requests

We are subject to the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act. The information you submit in your application may be disclosed in accordance with these acts.

Disclosure of information

By submitting your funding application, you authorize us to disclose any information submitted with this application within the Government of Canada or to outside entities for the following purposes:

  • to reach a decision;
  • to evaluate results; and
  • to support transparency, accountability and citizen engagement.

Audits of recipients and evaluation of the Program

We reserve the right to audit your accounts and records to ensure compliance with the terms and conditions of your funding agreement. We also conduct periodic Program evaluations, during which you may be required to present documentation.

You must keep any records, documents, or other information that may be required to perform the audit or the evaluation for five years. Demonstrated failure to maintain such records may result in the repayment of amounts previously received.

Contact us

For further information, please contact us:

Department of Canadian Heritage
Canada Cultural Investment Fund
Endowment Incentives Component
25 Eddy Street, 13th Floor, Room 297 (25-13-V)
Gatineau, Quebec  
K1A 0M5




Toll-free: 1-866-811-0055


1-888-997-3123 (for people who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired)

Agents are available to answer your questions Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (ET).


Artistic discipline

An identified and recognizable area of artistic activity, known as a discipline which involves its own artistic process, vocabulary, aesthetic and history. These disciplines are known as theatre, dance, music, literary, visual and media arts, circus and others. Each of these distinct disciplines encompasses genres that further define the specificities of the artistic practice and its appreciation.

Arts service organizations

Organizations that further the interests of artists, creators, arts organizations and elements of the arts community. The activities of these organizations can include policy development, advocacy, provision of professional services, and production of collective projects. Note that arts service organizations are not eligible for Endowment Incentives funding.

Audited financial statements

A complete set of financial statements including a statement of financial position; a statement of operations; and a statement of changes in financial position. Audited financial statements are completed by a certified accountant who is not part of your organization. The certified accountant performs auditing activities in accordance with generally accepted auditing principles.

A bequest is property a registered charity receives from the will of a deceased person. Bequests received by a foundation are eligible for matching. However bequests not yet received, such as from an estate in probate, are not eligible for matching through the Endowment Incentives component.
Business plan
A business plan is a working tool for turning a strategic plan into reality. It provides a road map for board, staff and organizational partners and is used to attract in particular private sector funders (foundations, corporations and individual donors). Typical arts business plans project organizational growth for the next two to five years. They include financial projections and targets, the size of markets (actual and potential) as well as information on market trends. A business plan describes how the organization is accountable to the community and the methods for monitoring and evaluating progress. A business plan may be a document separate from the organization's strategic plan or it may incorporate the strategic plan.

A contest or event during which participants are evaluated or judged. Note that competitions are not eligible for Endowment Incentives funding.

Creation / Production

Artistic work, research and production of a new or substantially revised or repertoire artwork (e.g., play, dance, score, script, sculpture, video or installation). Production also covers stage revivals and may include presentation in certain fields, such as theatre or dance. Creators/producers include organizations such as orchestras, choirs, theatres, and dance companies.

Cultural industries
All businesses that produce goods and services in various sectors of activity such as film and video, broadcasting, television, music, publishing, games and digital media. Note that cultural industries are not eligible for Endowment Incentives funding.
Externally restricted funds
Allocation of funds that results from the imposition of external restrictions, imposed from outside the organization, usually by the donor of the funds. These funds may be restricted temporarily, until such time that the restrictions are fulfilled, or permanently such as endowment funds. Externally restricted funds/revenues are excluded from the calculation of the average annual income and the net asset ratio since these funds are not available for current operations.
Financial statements
A complete set of financial statements, including a statement of financial position; a statement of operations; and a statement of changes in financial position. Financial statements may be audited or unaudited.
Heritage organizations
Heritage organizations have a mandate and key policies related to the collection, preservation, interpretation, research and study, and/or the exhibition of cultural collections which are regularly open to the public. The following are recognized as heritage organizations: museums, art galleries, archives, aquariums, insectariums, zoos, biodomes and botanical gardens, science and interpretation centres, planetariums and archaeological, historical and ethnographic sites. Note that heritage organizations are not eligible for Endowment Incentives funding.
Net assets
Net assets equal total assets (excluding externally limited/restricted items) less total liabilities.
Net assets ratio
Net assets ratio equals net assets (excluding any externally limited/restricted items), divided by the total operating revenues for the fiscal year. Figures to be used in this calculation are based on the financial statements, presented according to the generally accepted accounting principles of Canada. To be eligible, an organization cannot have a negative net assets ratio in excess of 15%. Exceptionally for the deadline dates of December 1, 2020 and 2021, the net assets ratio will be calculated using the latest financial statements prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, which began March 2020.
Not-for-profit professional arts organization
An incorporated organization operating in one or more artistic discipline(s) with a core mission and primary activity of creation or production of professional artistic works; presentation of professional artistic works; and/or training of professional artists. Furthermore it is an organization that is registered and operates as a not-for-profit arts entity with a board of directors overseeing its operations. Finally the organization has internal or external oversight of the organization’s finances and produces annual financial statements.
Operating revenues
Operating revenues are revenues generated from an organization's primary business activities. They can be compared from year to year to assess the health of an organization and its operations. For the purpose of the component, financial health will be demonstrated through having multiple sources of operating revenues such as government funding (municipal, provincial, territorial and federal), private sector and self-generated revenues such as ticket sales. Regardless if the organization's financial statements use the deferral method or the restricted fund method, only operating revenues will be taken into account when calculating the average annual income and the net assets ratio (excluding externally limited/restricted items).
Professional artist
A professional artist is someone who has specialized training in the artistic field (not necessarily in academic institutions), who is recognized as a professional by his or her peers (artists working in the same artistic discipline), who is committed to devoting more time to artistic activity, if financially feasible, and who has a history of public presentation.
Professional arts presenters
Professional arts presenters select the artistic programming for public presentation in their community based on an artistic vision. They purchase performances and other artistic activities created by professional artists, groups and companies; and they are responsible for paying a guaranteed fee to the producer for each presentation. They provide the venue and supply the technical and promotional support. Presenters may also organize audience development and/or outreach in support of their artistic programming. They have a thorough knowledge of the audiences in their communities, of the professional arts community and of the various networks that support both the artists and the presenters. Presenters include organizations such as festivals and centres for the performing arts.
Review engagement report

A review engagement report differs from an audit report in that the scope of a review is less than that of an audit; therefore the level of assurance provided to the reader of the financial statements is lower. A review engagement report completed by a certified accountant who is not part of your organization will generally include three paragraphs:

  • an introductory paragraph identifying what statements have been reviewed, that the review was conducted in accordance with generally accepted standards for review engagements, consisting primarily of enquiry, analytical procedures and discussion related to information provided to the certified accountant by the entity;
  • a statement that a review does not constitute an audit and that the certified accountant is not expressing an audit opinion on the financial statements; and
  • a conclusion indicating whether anything has come to the certified accountant's attention that causes the accountant to believe that the information being reported on is not, in all material respects, in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.
Strategic plan
The strategic plan clearly describes an organization's mandate, its near, mid and long-term goals or objectives, as well as the priority actions necessary to realize these goals and objectives. The strategic planning process should analyze the internal and external factors, assess the risks and determine mitigation plans.
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