Frequently Asked Questions

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Applications for the Ontario Community Changemakers are now closed. Thank you to all who applied!

About the Program

Here are the eligibility requirements:

  • Applicants must live in the Province of Ontario.
  • They must be aged 19-35 years old at the time they apply.
  • Applicants must be available to participate in the online Virtual Studio on August 7th and 14th, 2021. Support will be arranged for participants with technology barriers.  
  • Applicants must propose a community project that activates public space, enhances civic engagement, or fosters social inclusion. The project must take place in the province of Ontario.

Participants will receive:

  • An immersive experience through the Ontario Community Changemakers Virtual Studio that will allow them to develop the skills to become city-building leaders within their community.
  • Project management training in financial budgeting, communication, and interactions with partners.
  • $5,000 (CAD) in seed funding to implement a community project.
  • Ongoing support and mentorship from city building experts.
  • Access to a provincial network of peers and community leaders.
  • Opportunities to be publicly recognized and promoted by 8 80 Cities and Balsam Foundation.

Your project should:

  • Be implementable within 12 months.
  • Fall within these three sections
      Public spaces are areas or places that are open and accessible to all. They play a key role in impacting the social determinants of health and support community wellbeing. Sidewalks, streets, libraries, parks, plazas, trails, and community centres are all potential locations for project ideas that create renewed energy, life, and vibrancy to local communities.
      Bringing people and communities together to address common challenges or increase awareness of important issues is a fundamental aspect of civic engagement. OCC is looking for project ideas that spur people to take collective action and increase community participation in civic processes.
      Our society has many barriers, both visible and invisible, preventing marginalized communities from accessing public spaces and participating in public life. Projects that address those barriers and seek to foster social inclusion for people regardless gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation or socio-economic status are exactly what Ontario Community Changemakers is all about.
  • Be innovative, with an emphasis on addressing existing community needs.
  • Be managed and led by you but developed through community collaboration.
  • Be affordable to implement and free for the public to enjoy.

Check out these projects for some inspiration.

Yes, we encourage applications for both new and existing projects. If your project is already underway, your application should demonstrate how your participation in the program will help you scale up or advance the goals of your current work.

Each Changemaker is required to:

  • Participate in the online Virtual Studio in August 2021.
  • Implement (at minimum) one community project.
  • Participate in ongoing networking and skill-building opportunities.
  • Submit regular project updates via blog posts, videos, or other media content.
  • Submit a final report to summarize progress and accomplishments. This report can take various media forms (i.e. video, blog post, posters, etc.).

Ontario Community Changemakers is a year-long program, running from August 2021 to August 2022.

20 Changemakers will be selected to participate in the program.

Each Changemaker will receive a $5,000 (CAD) micro-grant to implement their proposed idea or project.

No. You do not need to raise matching funds to qualify for the Ontario Community Changemakers program.

The program is managed by 8 80 Cities, a non-profit organization based in Toronto that exists to create safe and happy cities that prioritize people’s well-being. The program is funded by Balsam Foundation.

This year the program will be delivered only in English. However, we are working on making it bilingual in the future.

Intellectual property developed through Ontario Community Changemakers needs to be released under an open-source license.

About the Application

The online application opens on Monday May 17, 2021. The deadline is Sunday, July 4, 2021 at 11:59 PM EDT (10:59 PM CDT). Late entries will not be considered.

Applications will be reviewed and evaluated on the strength of the project idea and its potential to ACTIVATE PUBLIC SPACE, ENHANCE CIVIC ENGAGEMENT, and/or FOSTER SOCIAL INCLUSION. Finalists will be scored against three criteria: the potential impact of their idea, the level of innovation it displays, and the capacity and leadership of the applicant to carry out the project. The projects should also incorporate equity, collaborative governance, and be climate-considerate.

No, all applications must be submitted in English.

You may submit as many ideas as you would like.

The finalists and winners will be selected by 8 80 Cities and Balsam Foundation.

You may submit your answers in a recorded audio format.

All applicants will be informed about the status of their applications by July 16th, 2021.

This year we are only collecting applications online. You have the option of submitting your application as a written format or recorded format using the integrated software within the application.

If for any reason you have issues completing the application, please reach out to us at

For those of you who chose to apply by selecting the “Record your Responses” method, you may experience issues recording your responses from your phone, tablet, or computer. This is most likely due to the privacy settings on your device. Please refer to the step-by-step troubleshooting guide for the device you have below. If you continue to have issues with the recording, please contact us at

About You

We are looking for people with new ideas and fresh perspectives on civic and placemaking challenges. We are committed to prioritizing applicants who represent communities and groups who have been historically marginalized and are underrepresented in leadership positions.

Yes. Applicants must be aged 19-35 at the time they apply.

Yes. You must reside within the Province of Ontario or a First Nations Territory located within the provincial boundary of Ontario.

No. Applicants may apply independently, or in affiliation with non-profit, for-profit, and/or government entities. If you are proposing to carry out a project as part of a larger organization, you should be the project lead and major decision-maker.

If the project you are proposing is part of your paid work or on behalf of a larger organization, you should be the project lead and major decision-maker, including for budgetary decisions relating to the OCC grant. In the event that your employment ends, our expectation is that you will retain ownership of the project and any remaining grant funds, not your employer.

We will select individuals only, not groups or pairs, to participate in the program. If you will be completing the work alongside multiple people or as part of a larger organization, you should be the project lead and major decision-maker.

Yes. Prior funding does not affect eligibility for the Ontario Community Changemakers program.

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Are You Eligible?

Must be 19-35 years old at the time of application

Must be able to attend Virtual Studio*

Project must be located in the Province of Ontario or in a First Nations Territory within the provincial boundary of Ontario.


Applicants must propose a community project that activates public space, enhances civic engagement, and/or fosters social inclusion.

*Support will be arranged for participants with technical barriers.