hands stacked together

Trust-Based Granting

Rooted in Colonialism

The United Church of Canada Foundation’s granting programs (Seeds of Hope, New Ministries, Scholarships, etc.) take a traditional approach to granting. This approach includes set deadlines, written applications, questions, key indicators and expectations, reporting, etc. While this works for many, we recognize and have identified that several organizations and groups would benefit from a non-traditional approach.

The traditional granting model is rooted in colonialistic practices that can inadvertently reinforce systems of oppression and power. We’re taking a more deliberate approach to collaboration that involves both listening to the grantee’s needs, and recognizing that they are the experts in what they’re trying to do.


Based on principles from the world of trust-based philanthropy, the United Church of Canada Foundation has recently begun piloting a new model of granting which seeks not just to fund innovative projects but to closely listen to grantees and help them along the way.

The Trust-Based Approach

Trust-based philanthropy tries to address power imbalances between funders and grantees through mutually accountable collaborative relationships. This new trust-based approach will fall outside of the traditional granting program criteria and guidelines and will be looking for, but not limited to, projects and organizations that:

• Have shared values
• Have a relationship with the Foundation or the United Church of Canada
• Have a project that aligns with at least one of the four Foundation priorities
• Has been identified as a priority group/project of the Church
• Is an organization that has been identified to benefit from a non-traditional and non-colonial way of granting

6 Practices of Trust-Based Grantmaking 

This program will also challenge itself to follow the six practices of trust-based grant making, according to the Trust-Based Philanthropy Project.

These are:
• Give multi-year, unrestricted funding
• Do the homework (putting the onus onto the organization to find and learn about potential grantees)
• Simplify and streamline paperwork
• Be transparent and responsive
• Solicit and act on feedback
• Offer support “beyond the cheque”

Journeying Together

Although the Foundation will also continue to grant in the traditional way, we are excited about this new direction. It is the hope that this pilot and new way of granting will advance equity, shift power, and build mutually accountable relationships, while also demonstrating humility and collaboration in what we do. Want to learn about the projects among the first trust-based grants from the Foundation? Read our blog on Activate Space! Also check out our webinar Building a Strong Foundation: Anti-Racist Works in Action featuring the Treaty Land Sharing Network.


About us

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adip isicing elit, sed do eiusmod. Tempor inciditnt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.

+381 123 456 677

Mon - Sat 8.00 - 18.00

Sunday closed

United Church of Canada Foundation