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Direct Social Services (DSS) Grant

Grants to British Columbia Nonprofits in Eligible Locations
for Programs that Assist Vulnerable Populations

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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City of Vancouver - Social Policy and Projects

Conf. Date:


Deadline Date:

10/16/20 4:30 PM Receipt


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Grants to British Columbia nonprofit organizations in eligible locations for programs that address inequity and assist vulnerable residents. First-time applicants are required to contact program staff prior to submitting an application. Funding is intended to support services, advocacy, and community development programs that meet the needs of residents who are experiencing social, physical, or economic disadvantages, or who face discrimination. Funded activities must serve the City of Vancouver.

Direct Social Services (DSS) grants grants are offered through the Social Policy and Projects Grants Program. The Social Policy grants program supports non-profit community-based programs that facilitate the physical, spiritual, mental and emotional well-being of people and:

  • Respond to dynamic community needs;
  • Address equity by reducing the impact of systemic barriers that create conditions of vulnerability; 
  • Facilitate partnerships and networks between the city, other levels of government, business and non-profits; and
  • Inform and respond to Council priorities

Priority consideration for Direct Social Services grants is given to services or programs that meet the following:

  • Align with the Social Policy Grants Statement of Intent;
  • Reinforce or support the goals of the Healthy City Strategy* with a specific focus on goals 1, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 9;
  • The primary function is to remove barriers and/or provide supports to ensure more equitable access to services and opportunities;
  • The primary focus is residents who are experiencing social, physical, and/or economic disadvantages and/or who face discrimination
  • Use one or more of the following approaches:
  • Service-oriented, and aimed at reducing the effects of disadvantage; OR
  • Systemic or individual advocacy aimed at securing services and protecting rights; OR
  • Community development, which empowers and involves population experiencing marginalization in solving social problems, bringing about positive social change, and extending participatory democracy.
  • Use one or more of the following strategies:
  •  Organizing/mobilizing volunteer resources; OR
  •  Developing mutual support (e.g. coalition building, collaborative projects) among groups, individuals and group support systems, or cross-cultural support networks; OR
  •  Facilitating improved access to other services; OR
  •  Building the capacity of individuals, families or communities to address the causes of marginalization; OR
  • Developing or supporting new service delivery models.

*For Healthy City Strategy Goals, see pg 5 of Program Information listed in Supporting Documents below.

Grant dollars must be used to support the program for which they have been awarded. This could include salaries, program expenses or organizational expenses such as rent. 

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 142178

Term of Contract:

The term of a Direct Social Services Grant is one year, from January 1 to December 31.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

An organization must:
- Be a registered nonprofit society, community service co-op or social enterprise wholly owned by a nonprofit and in good standing with the Registrar of Companies; or be a registered charity, in good standing with the Canadian Revenue Agency; or a First Nations Band (If you are not registered as one of the above you may partner with a fiscal sponsor who is a registered non-profit society or registered charity in order to meet this requirement);
- Have an independent, active governing body composed of volunteers. The by-laws must have provisions that no Board director can be remunerated for serving as a director and that no staff member can be a voting member of the board or executive;
- Demonstrate accommodation, welcomeness and openness to people of all ages, abilities, sexual orientation, gender identities, ethnicities, cultural backgrounds, religions, languages, under-represented communities and socio-economic conditions in its policies, practices and programs, except in instances where the exclusion of some group is required for another group to be effectively targeted;
- Be in compliance with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the British Columbia Human Rights Code;
- Have the demonstrated functional capacity and sufficient resources to deliver the programs to which the City is being asked to contribute;
- Show costs that are reasonable and on par with other similar programs;
- Deliver the funded program in Vancouver to Vancouver residents.

Exceptions to the above may be approved at the discretion of the Managing Director of Social Policy & Projects.

For ineligible programs and expenses, see

Pre-proposal Conference:

Online Information Session:

Ask questions and address any COVID-19-related concerns with completing applications at an online information session.

Register for either session by emailing and indicating which session you’d like to attend.

- Friday, September 25, 9:30am to noon
- Wednesday, September 30, 1pm to 3:30pm

Pre-Application Information:

Deadline date for 2021 applications: Friday October 16, 2020 at 4:30 pm. All required materials must be received via email by the deadline.

- October 16, 2020 Deadline
- October – December Staff Review
- February 2021 Recommendations to Council
- February 2021 First Payments Released

It is important that all new applicants (i.e., those not funded in the previous year) contact a grants planner in Social Policy to discuss their application prior to submission. This is to ensure that your organization and program meet eligibility criteria.

There is no limit to the number of programs for which an organization can apply. Please note that a program must have been in operation for at least 18 months at the time of application in order to meet basic eligibility requirements. If you wish to apply for a program that has not previously been funded, you are strongly encouraged to contact a social planner on the grants team to briefly discuss your idea before starting to work on the application.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Please email an electronic copy of each required document to

Social Policy Contact Information:
Phone: 604.829.2007
Email address:

City Hall
453 West 12th Ave
Vancouver, BC
V5Y 1V4

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

Canada: British Columbia: Vancouver;

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