Central Okanagan Foundation (COF)

The COF's own granting program takes place twice per year in May and October. Funds from our endowments are pooled into a Community Fund and the income that is earned on these funds is what is granted out to the registered charities that apply to us. Click below for more on:

COF Grant Information

The Foundation distributes thousands of dollars of grants each year in two main ways. The first is called an allocation. An allocation is an amount sent to a charity in accordance with the terms of an endowment fund. For example; Mr. Smith may have requested in his Gift Agreement with the Foundation, to send the annual income from the fund that he has established to the SPCA. A second donor Mrs. Jones fund directs the Foundation to allocate half of the annual income on her fund to be sent to the Art Gallery and the other half to her church. As long as the designated beneficiaries remain registered charities, the Foundation will carry out the terms as laid out in the gift agreements.

The Foundation also distributes grants. These are discretionary in nature, meaning the Foundation decides which charitable groups will receive funding. The income to support these grants comes from a group of endowments that have been created to support the broader community, leaving the specific granting decisions to the Foundation's Board of Directors. The Foundation typically has two granting cycles per year.

Current grant application deadlines are May 1st and October 1st 

Please contact Central Okanagan Foundation ("COF") to confirm these deadline dates and with any application questions.  Prior to completing an application you must speak with COF's Director of Grants and Community Initiatives, Cheryl Miller, who can be contacted by phone at 250.861.6160 or by email at 


A registered charity (or qualified donee) can only apply once in a 12-month period. All previous granting decisions are taken into account when grant applications are reviewed. Successful applicants will receive their grants as soon as possible after decisions have been made. In some cases grants will be given at a public event, or given in person.

> back to top

Applying for a COF Grant

We ask that registered charities interested in applying for a grant please contact our Director of Grants and Community Initiatives, Cheryl Miller at (250) 861-6160.


2015 Grant Application

New application uploaded July 31st, 2015


**If you are having issues with Internet Explorer,

please try Google Chrome or Firefox**

The Central Okanagan Foundation is pleased to offer both project (up-to 12 months) and multi-year grants (1-3 years). Please note that there is one application form for both project and multi-year grants. Please answer the questions accordingly.

Grantees are required to complete a COF Grant Project Evaluation in order to let us know how your project worked out. The Evaluation Report is meant to provide the grantee with useful information in assessing the success of the project. It is also meant to inform us as funders about your project. We remind you that there are always things that go well and things that don't go so well... the evaluation takes this into account and is meant to elicit constructive information for improvement in the future.  

This guide is designed to assist charitable and nonprofit organizations to conduct precise and appropriate project evaluations, and then communicate and use the results of evaluation effectively. Its primary focus is to help organizations that would like to perform project evaluations by using their internal resources, and to make evaluation a part of their project management and strategic development.

> back to top

Grant Writing: Tips for Success

Common grant writing mistakes usually stem from inexperience with grant writing (after all, you got into this to help the planet, not to sit around typing), or a lack of resources, like time or research skills. Many grant writing mistakes also come from a lack of familiarity with the funder. 

Below are some grant writing mistakes commonly made by nonprofits, and some grant writing tips to help you avoid them.

           Generic proposals. One of the most critical aspects of writing a winning grant proposal is to tailor your grant to complement the goals of the granting agency. In other words, know your grantor! What is their mission? For what purposes are they providing grant funding? What results do they hope to foster? If you forge a strong connection between your mission and that of the granting agency, your proposal will have a greater chance of being funded.
Not enough detail. As an intimate member of your organization, your level of familiarity may actually be an obstacle. For one, you are already fully committed to your cause. Further, organization executives or staff may be so absorbed in the day-to-day business of fulfilling the group’s mission that it’s hard to step back and clearly and carefully explain the big picture. Certain details of your organization and mission will be so obvious and so familiar to you that you won’t even think to include them.
          However, always remember that the people reading your grant may be hearing of your nonprofit for the first time. Even if you know the grantor, or have received funding from them before, you should still provide complete information about your nonprofit.
          In the organizational information section, provide concise details on your organization including: Its history and mission statement; the recipients of your services; a description of your programs; an overview of your successes; and why the grantor can trust you to use funds responsibly and effectively.
          Do not address targeted problems with broad solutions. Offer explicit details about the actions you will take to address the problem.

          Too much detail. While some areas will be lacking in information, inexperienced grant writers often include too much detail in other areas. While it’s important for your grant proposal to tell a compelling story, don’t get carried away with a lot of superfluous information.
          In other words, don’t spend pages waxing eloquent about the problem or your ideals. Get to the point quickly and use concise, objective examples to illustrate your successes—rather than vague or subjective anecdotes.

          Too much emphasis on the ‘why’—not enough on the ‘how.’ Of course, why your mission is important is important. But after stating the problems, your proposal must focus on presenting step-by-step solutions. You must approach the grant writing process like you’re a for-profit business. Your grant must include measurable objectives, and an explicit plan of action. Include what records or data you will collect, and how you will measure your program’s accomplishments. You may also be asked to provide a logic model.

           Poor writing. The person reading your grant will probably have read many others that same day. This means reviewers will have little patience for bad writing. Make sure your proposal is reader-friendly, and that it tells a compelling story without being overly sentimental. Avoid jargon and buzzwords. Do say how the grant agency’s goals fit with your objectives, but never cut and paste phrases from their guidelines into your proposal. Write a clear, informative and engaging grant proposal that grantors will actually enjoy reading.

           Circular reasoning. Circular reasoning is a veritable death sentence for grant proposals. Circular reasoning can be explained like this: When the problem being presented is defined as the absence of the solution that is being offered. For example, “The problem is that our county lacks an environmental watch-dog group. Therefore, forming an environmental watch-dog group will solve the problem.” Avoid circular reasoning like the plague in your nonprofit grant proposal.

           Inadequate or unrealistic cost analysis. Nonprofit organizations tend to low-ball when seeking funds, thinking that the less you ask for, the more likely you are to get it. This is not necessarily true. Agencies would rather invest more and see your objectives fulfilled than grant you less and see it wasted. Unrealistic estimates also make you look fiscally inexperienced and unknowledgeable.
          In your budget section, document projected income and expenses. Also include in your grant proposal whether you have other sources of funding, or have applied for other sources. Rather than making your nonprofit seem less needy, additional funding sources may be a benefit. Most grantors will not want to be a nonprofit’s sole source of funding for a project.

           Lack of quantitative data. Granting agencies want to see statistics. They want to know that your objectives and your results are quantifiable. For-profit businesses include such information as a matter of course. But nonprofit grants are often too light on hard data. To show that you are knowledgeable about your area, your grant should include historical data, statistical analysis, graphs and figures, and long-term projections whenever appropriate.

> back to top

Media & Grants Recognition Tips

To assist grant recipients with their media releases and to offer guidelines for effective grant recognition, please review: Media & Grants Recognition Tips.


Previous Grants

2014 COF Discretionary Grants (Spring and Fall Cycle)  
Agur Lake Camp Society  $            8,000
Arion Therapeutic Riding Association  $          20,000
BC Epilepsy Society  $            1,500
British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals  $          20,000
Bumbershoot Children’s Theatre  $            6,900
Canadian Red Cross  $            4,000
Canadian Student Leadership Association   $            3,000
Central Okanagan Elizabeth Fry Society  $            8,000
Central Okanagan Emergency Shelter Society  $            6,494
Central Okanagan Heritage Society   $          10,622
Central Okanagan Women’s Resource & Educ Foundation  $            2,000
COACH   $            6,229
Fresh Outlook Foundation   $            7,000
HOPE Outreach   $            6,000
Inn from the Cold   $            9,000
KCR  $            8,900
Kelowna Art Gallery   $            7,425
Kelowna Childcare Society   $          16,523
Kelowna Community Food Bank  $          20,000
Kelowna Family Services Centre Society  $            2,792
Kelowna Museums Society   $            1,000
Kiwanis Music Festival  $            3,825
Lake Country Art Gallery Society   $          15,960
NOW Canada   $          10,000
Okanagan Artists Alternative Association     $            1,500
Okanagan Fruit Tree Project Society  $          10,600
Opera Kelowna   $          15,500
Oyama Community Club   $            5,000
PLAN Okanagan   $            4,300
Project Literacy   $            7,466
Resurrection Recovery Resource Society (Freedoms Door)  $            5,000
Senior's Outreach Services Society   $            4,000
Sing for Your Life   $            8,000
Society of Kelowna   $            3,825
Society of St. Vincent de Paul Central Okanagan (Ozanam House)  $            5,300
The Arthritis Society BC & Yukon  $            1,950
The Bridge Youth & Family Services   $            4,200
The John Howard Society of the Central & South Okanagan  $          10,000
The South Okanagan Rehabilitation Centre for Owls  $            3,000
Tides Canada  $            7,500
UBC O  $            5,000
UBCO – Theatre 26   $          15,000
Uptown Rutland Business Association/ARTSCO   $          15,000
Westside Community Food Bank  $            1,000
Westside Health Network

 $            8,000

Total     $          346,311


2013 COF Discretionary Grants (Spring and Fall Cycle)

Arts Council of the Central Okanagan  $         10,975
Bumbershoot Children's Theatre Society  $         11,000
Brain Trust Canada Association  $         15,614
Canadian Mental Health Association  $           9,500
Central Okanagan Community Gardens  $           3,500
Central Okanagan Land Trust  $           4,500
Centre Cultural Francophone de l' Okanagan  $         10,000
Community Recreational Initiatives Society  $           8,000
Cool Arts Society  $           2,400
Creator's Arts Centre Society  $           6,775
District of West Kelowna  $           2,500
Ecole KLO Middle School  $           4,000
FarmFolk CityFolk Society  $           7,500
Fresh Outlook Foundation  $           7,500
Friends of the South Slopes (FOSS)  $           8,000
Inn From the Cold (Kelowna)  $         16,555
Kelowna Art Gallery  $           3,000
Kelowna Ballet Society (Ballet Kelowna)  $           5,000
Kelowna Community Music School Society  $           1,000
Kelowna and District Safety Council Society  $           4,000
Kelowna Gospel Mission  $         10,500
Kelowna Summer Theatre Festival Society  $           8,000
Kelowna Visual and Performing Arts Centre Society  $           1,500
Lake Country Art Gallery  $         10,000
Lake Country Heritage and Cultural Society  $           1,000
Lake Country Open Air Performances Society  $           2,000
NOW Canada  $         16,000
Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs  $         10,000
Okanagan Car Share Co-Op  $           6,500
Okanagan Chinese Canadian Association  $           1,000
Okanagan Small Dog Rescue Society  $           5,000
Okanagan Symphony Orchestra  $           6,000
Opera Kelowna  $           5,000
Pathways Abilities Society  $         10,000
Project Literacy Kelowna Society  $           8,000
Reach Out Youth Counselling & Family Services Society  $          15,000
Resurrection Recovery Resources Society (Freedoms Door)  $          10,000
Society of Friends of the Early Music  $          1,800
The Kelowna and District Society for People in Motion  $           8,000
The Responsible Animal Care Society  $           2,500
The Salvation Army  $           8,000
The South Okanagan Rehabilitation Centre for Owls  $           3,000
UBCO  $           8,442
Westside Community Food Bank Society  $         10,000
Wild Neighbours Society  $           2,550
YMCA of Okanagan  $         12,612


$        323,723


2012 Discretionary Grants (Spring and Fall Cycle)
Agur Lake Camp Society  $           6,000
Arion Therapeutic Riding Association  $           13,362
Athletics for Kids Financial Assistance (B.C.)  $          5,000
Brain Trust Canada Association  $          5,500
British Columbia Schizophrenia Society  $          3,000
Building Healthy Families Society  $           10,000
Canadian Red Cross  $           8,000
Central Okanagan Community Gardens  $           3,750
Central Okanagan Elizabeth Fry Society  $           12,501
Central Okanagan Heritage Society  $           3,000
Central Okanagan Land Trust  $           6,000
Centre Culturel Français de l'Okanagan  $           3,400
Children's Festival Society of Kelowna  $           4,000
Church Serve (Hands in Service)  $           5,000
Community Recreational Initiatives Society  $           5,266
Cool Arts Society  $           2,000
Creator's Art Centre Society  $           3,000
Crossroads Treatment Centre Society  $           6,500
District of West Kelowna  $           2,000
Elevation Outdoor Experiential Programs  $           2,500
Festivals and Special Development Society  $           2,000
Hope Air  $           10,000
Intercultural Society of the Central Okanagan  $           5,000
Kelowna and District Society for Community Living  $           10,000
Kelowna Art Gallery Association  $           6,500
Kelowna Ballet Society (Ballet Kelowna)  $           10,000
Kelowna Community Development Society  $           4,000
Kelowna Community Food Bank Society  $           5,000
Kelowna Family Services Centre Society  $           5,000
Kelowna Gospel Mission  $           9,400
Kelowna Museums Society  $           4,897
Kiwanis Music Festival Society of Kelowna  $           2,500
Lake Country Food Assistance Society  $           12,375
Lake Country Native Association  $          3,000
Lake Country Open Air Performances  $          2,240
Mountain Bikers of the Central Okanagan  $          2,000
Okanagan Children's Theatre Society  $          6,700
Okanagan Chinese Canadian Association  $          3,000
Okanagan Symphony Orchestra (OSO)  $          8,000
Roots of Empathy (ROE)  $          7,000
Silver Lake Forest Education Society  $          5,000
Sing For Your Life Foundation, BC  $          3,000
Society of Friends of the Early Music  $          2,000
Summer Arts Scene for Youth in Central Okanagan Society  $          1,000
The Bridge Youth & Family Services Society  $          13,000
The Responsible Animal Care Society  $          2,500
The Salvation Army - Kelowna  $          10,000
YMCA-YWCA of the Central Okanagan  $          5,000


$        269,891




Q:What is a "qualified donee"?

A public foundation can only make grants to "qualified donees" which are organizations that can issue official donation receipts according to CRA standards under the Income Tax Act. These organizations include a registered charity; a registered Canadian amateur athletic association; a housing corporation resident in Canada constituted exclusively to provide low-cost housing for the aged; a Canadian municipality; the United Nations and its agencies; a university that is outside Canada that is prescribed to be a university the student body of which ordinarily includes students from Canada; a charitable organization outside Canada to which Her Majesty in right of Canada has made a gift during the fiscal period or in the 12 months immediately preceding the period and Her Majesty in right of Canada or a province. If you are unsure of whether you are a "qualified donee" or not contact the COF office for advice.

Q:What is the difference between "core" funding and "project" funding?

Central Okanagan Foundation grants are not intended to be sustaining grants to support the general operating costs of organizations committed over several years. However, through our grantmaking, it is our intention to be useful to charitable agencies at critical junctures and times of particular need which may include organizations requiring funds to reorganize their work, policy and/or practice. During these times of transition, the greatest need for funding support may be grants that enable agencies to strategically manage or adapt to changes that significantly impact their scale, mandate or core services. Committees may consider grants towards these types of activities. In addition, we also consider requests for time-limited operating/core funding for new 'start-up' agencies when it can be demonstrated that such funding will enable new initiatives to meet emerging needs not currently served by existing organizations.

Q:How do Advisory Committee members determine if they have a conflict of interest regarding applications and should be absent from the discussion?

Our Conflict of Interest Policy is very explicit about the need for Advisory Committee members to remove themselves from discussion pertaining to applications when they are on the board of, or employed by, the applicant organizations. In situations where the involvement is less direct, conflict of interest is most effectively avoided by declaring the bias and asking for guidance in terms of participation in the discussion. A Committee member can do this by contacting the Director of Grants and Community Initiatives prior to the meeting, discussing the potential conflict with the Chair, or by declaring the potential conflict to the whole Committee during the meeting.

> back to top

COF logo

Need our logo for your website or other projects? Grab it as a:

For another version such as an AI, please contact our Communications Coordinator at