Frequently Asked Questions

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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 application
  • Applicants must be available to participate in the Studio on August 6th, 14th, and 20th 2022. Days 1 and 3 of the Studio be online while Day 2 will be an in-person retreat in Toronto.
  • Support will be arranged for participants with technology barriers. 
  • Participants must show proof of vaccination to participate in the in-person retreat.
  • Applicants must propose a community project that ACTIVATES PUBLIC SPACE, ENHANCES CIVIC ENGAGEMENT, and FOSTERS SOCIAL INCLUSION.
  • The project must take place in the province of Ontario.

Participants will receive:

  • ​​An immersive experience through the Ontario Community Changemakers 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
    • ACTIVATE PUBLIC SPACE
      Public spaces are spaces that are open and accessible to all. They play a key role in people’s everyday quality of life and community wellbeing, and intersect with social determinants of health i.e., non-medical factors that influence health outcomes. Ontario Community Changemakers is looking for projects that can activate public spaces like sidewalks, streets, parks, plazas, trails, libraries and community centres with renewed energy, life, and vibrancy.
    • ENHANCE CIVIC ENGAGEMENT
      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.
    • FOSTER SOCIAL INCLUSION
      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 the ‘Changemakers’ page 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 Studio in August 2022.
  • 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 posts, posters, etc.).

Ontario Community Changemakers is a year-long program, running from August 2022 to August 2023.

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.

No, unfortunately the program will be delivered only in English.

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

About the Application

The online application opens on Thursday April 14, 2022. The competition closes at 11:59 pm ET on Sunday, June 19, 2022. 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, 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 will also have to align with Balsam Foundation’s principles which are social inclusion, equity, collaborative governance and being 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 15th, 2022.

This year we are collecting applications online and by post. When applying online, you have the option of submitting it in a written 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 occsupport@880cities.org.

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 occsupport@880cities.org.

About You

We are looking for people with new ideas and fresh perspectives on civic challenges. This program is for people who are ready to take their city building work to the next level. 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 Ontario's provincial boundaries.

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. If 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.

No. Previous cohorts of Ontario Community Changemakers are not eligible to apply again.

  • Must be 19-35 years old at the time application.
  • Must be able to attend all three days of the Studio.*
  • Applicants must reside in the Province of Ontario or in a
  • First Nations Territory within the provincial boundary of Ontario during the time of project implementation.
  • Project must take place 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.

*Participants must show proof of vaccination to participate in the in-person retreat.

mapgraphic - ontario

Are You Eligible?

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

Must be able to attend all three days of the Studio.*

Applicants must reside in the Province of Ontario or in a First Nations Territory within the provincial boundary of Ontario during the time of project implementation.

Project must take place 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.
*Participants must show proof of vaccination to participate in the program.
* Read more about the studio here.