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Direct Social Services (DSS) Grant

Grants to Vancouver, British Columbia
Nonprofits to Meet Critical Social Needs

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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City of Vancouver - Social Policy and Projects

Deadline Date:

10/11/19 4:30 PM Receipt


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Grants to Vancouver, British Columbia nonprofit organizations for programs that address social issues that make community members vulnerable. First-time applicants are required to contact program staff prior to submitting an application. Funding is intended to create a healthier city by addressing critical social needs.

Social Policy grants are investments that contribute to a healthy city for all. They support nonprofit community-based programs that facilitate the physical, spiritual, mental and emotional well-being of people and:

  • Are co-developed and governed collaboratively with and by the communities and individuals they serve;
  • Respond to dynamic community needs;
  • Reduce the impact of systemic factors 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.

City Priorities:

  • Homelessness Prevention
  • Support for Urban Indigenous Peoples
  • Community Safety
  • Improving Service Access
  • Promoting Inclusion, Belonging, and Connectedness

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;
- 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 (including trans*, gender-variant and two-spirit people), 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;
- 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;
- Use a minimum of 85% of the grant funds for staff salary and benefit expenses;
- 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.

Ineligible Programs:
- Those which fall wholly or primarily within the mandate of other government departments, e.g.(but not limited to): Direct healthcare programs (such as health self-help groups, health information programs, medical treatment, maintenance or rehabilitation programs); Employment training; Initial settlement programs.
- Direct welfare supports, including food banks, meal programs and provision of clothing;
- Housing;
- One-on-one counselling with licensed psychologists, social workers or registered clinical counsellors;
- Programs which are primarily recreational (formal recreation programs such as clubs or teams), or educational (formal education leading to a credential);
- Travel expenses, attendance at, or fees for, conferences, workshops or other forms of training;
- Delivery of conferences;
- Transportation expenses, except those that allow users or potential users to access services;
- Legal fees;
- Payment of: City property taxes; capital expenses, operating or capital deficits;
- Act in the capacity of a funding body for, or make grants to any other group or organization;
- Programs directed to the preservation of any particular ethnic or cultural heritage, except in instances for Reconciliation initiatives;
- Time-limited projects (three years or less), or programs in the developmental or formative stage (18 months of operation or less);
- Research.

Pre-Application Information:

Deadline date for 2020 applications: October 11, 2019 at 4:30 PM

Note: All new applicants (i.e., those not funded in the previous year) must contact a grants planner in Social Policy to discuss their application prior to submission.

Grants are usually disbursed in two equal payments, with the first being in March. Thus, organizations need to ensure they have adequate cash flow to cover the first quarter of the year.

Direct Social Services grants are primarily to fund core staff who support the effective and efficient delivery of programs. A minimum of 85% of a DSS grant must be used for staff salary and benefit expenses – the remaining 15% may be applied to program, administrative or other eligible expenses.

Contact Information:

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

Phone: 604.829.2007
Email address:

Social Policy and Projects
City of Vancouver
501 – 111 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC V6B 1H4

Fax: 604.871.6048

Grant Coverage Areas:

City of Vancouver

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

Canada: British Columbia