How To Apply

Who Can Apply

The Fund is intended for community organizations and institutions. The following groups are eligible lead applicants:

  • Nova Scotia municipalities
  • First Nations bands and tribal councils
  • Post-secondary institutions
  • Non-profit organizations operating in Nova Scotia, including:
    • Registered, Nova Scotia-based, non-profit societies/ cooperatives in good standing;
    • Registered Canadian charities actively operating in Nova Scotia; or
    • Federally incorporated non-profit organizations operating in Nova Scotia.

Collaboration, partnerships, and regional approaches between organizations and sectors are encouraged.

Applications from organizations of Mi’kmaq people, African Nova Scotians, racialized peoples, newcomers, Acadians, individuals living on low incomes, individuals living with disabilities, seniors, youth, 2SLGBTQ+, and women will be favorably considered.

Sunflowers at a farmers market.
Historic stone building and street in Pictou

When To Apply

The Fund’s second intake period is starting in fall 2023. These dates are subject to change:

  • October 17, 2023 – Open for round two funding applications
  • November 14, 2023 – Pre-screening deadline
  • November 28, 2023 – Full application deadline
  • January/February 2024 – Evaluation of submissions
  • March/April 2024 – Applicants are notified of funding decisions

Application Process

Carefully review the Applicant Guide to determine if your organization and project fit under the Fund, and to assess your capacity to complete an application and carry out the required reporting. Please note that application requirements and program guidelines may change between rounds of funding.

Create an account and log into the Submittable portal to complete the pre-screening form.

The pre-screening will require:

  • Applicant information (organization and contact person)
  • Screening information (communities served, potential barriers and resources)
  • Project description and timeframe
  • Approximate budget

Projects will be screened by Fund staff to ensure that basic eligibility requirements are met and to determine where low-barrier supports could be helpful. We will confirm your application meets basic eligibility and the full application will be sent to you within 5 business days.

Using the same Applicant Guide and Submittable account, carefully review the full application requirements.
The information requested in the application form includes, but is not limited, to:

  • Applicant information
  • Community or communities served, and location of proposed project
  • What climate risks are addressed by proposal and how it aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or help communities adapt to climate change
  • What core objectives and co-benefits are met by the proposal
  • Project description with proposed methodology, use of data, and anticipated outcomes
  • Project budget (a Project Workbook spreadsheet template will be provided)
  • Who is leading the project, including their roles and previous experiences
  • How the project’s results will be measured and evaluated
  • Optional additional documents

Detailed application information is in the Applicant Guide.

Projects will be assessed by Fund staff to ensure completion and basic requirements, before moving on to a review committee of multidisciplinary experts who will evaluate applications. The full evaluation matrix is available in the Applicant Guide; factors include:

  • The relevance to the community’s needs and challenges
  • The project’s ability to meet objectives of reducing or removing GHG emissions and/or improving a community’s capacity to adapt to climate change;
  • The project’s ability to meet co-benefits
  • The project team’s capacity and resources to ensure success
  • The project’s ability to measure and evaluate outcomes and results
  • The project’s budget and work plan.

Projects that address disparities and prejudice exacerbated by the negative effects of climate change, or that remove an unjust obstacle to mitigation measures are favorably considered. Similarly, applications from organizations of Mi’kmaq peoples, African Nova Scotians, racialized peoples, immigrants, Acadians, individuals living on low incomes, individuals living with disabilities, older adults, youth, 2SLGBTQ+, and women are favorably considered.

Once all applications have been evaluated and the successful projects have been selected, Fund staff notify all applicants to confirm if their project will receive a Sustainable Communities Challenge Fund grant. Any conditions or outstanding documentation are also be identified, and funding agreement contracts are be prepared. Recipients are also asked to identify the outcomes and measures of success they hope to achieve. All applicants, whether approved for funding or not, are invited to provide feedback for ongoing improvement of the Fund.

Recipients receive an agreement that details the terms of their funding, which includes the project description and duration, eligible project costs, a grant payment schedule and reporting requirements. The funding agreement also includes the milestones and deliverables identified in the project application and the target dates to complete them throughout the project.

Recipients are required to provide brief quarterly progress reports on whether their project is on track and any challenges they are experiencing. Upon project completion recipients submit a Final Impact Report, including a financial report on how the Fund was spent, and a description of how activities contributed to achieving the relevant project objective and co-benefits. Most mitigation projects are also required to submit a GHG Assessment as part of the final reporting. Please see Section 9 of the Applicant Guide for more information.

Lastly, to continuously improve the Sustainable Communities Challenge Fund, grant recipients are asked to provide feedback on their experience with the Fund.