Created at the end of 2021, the Collective Fund for Social Equity at the Foundation of Greater Montreal (FGM) has a budget of $1.2M and targets initiatives that enable community organizations to unlock their potential and unique transformative vision. It is the result of a deep reflection process by FGM, spurred by the consequences of the pandemic, which aims to improve our granting practices and reinforce the support we lend to Greater Montreal’s community organizations.

The Fund’s approach, including the choice of organizations and projects it supports, is guided by the principles of trust-based philanthropy. Unlike a traditional call for proposals, this approach relies on knowledge of an entire community ecosystem and on a peer-informed decision-making mechanism. The FGM developed this Fund following in-depth exchanges with the community and through active and continuous listening.

The Fund’s first year of operation aligns with FGM’s renewed commitment to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) and has given priority to organizations and projects led by or for Indigenous people, Black people, and People of Colour (BIPOC). Priority has also been given to intersectional approaches that target other underserved populations such as women and girls, people from LGBTQ2S+ communities, and people living with a disability. In addition, FGM prioritized areas where needs remain numerous and pressing in the wake of the pandemic, namely food security, homelessness, and mental health. These choices were based on discussions with community stakeholders, observations, and learnings from the past two years.

The outcomes in 2021-2022

The first round of grants will provide $30,000 in funding to each of the 39 selected projects. Read our press release on this topic. By the numbers:

Geographic breakdown

80% of the supported projects are based on the Island of Montreal, 10% on the North Shore, and 10% on the South Shore.

Target populations

33% of the projects offer support for racialized people, 28% for Black people, and 16% for Indigenous people.

Priority issues

44% of projects target mental health, 28% food security, and 28% homelessness.


6 projects also support women and girls, 3 projects support the LGBTQ2S+ community, and 2 projects support people living with a disability.

The Foundation of Greater Montreal team and the members of the Fund’s Advisory Committee are committed to maintaining contact with organizations who were not selected. One of the fundamental objectives of this process is to build relationships of trust with the community, based on listening, openness, and transparency. We will continue to cultivate these relationships in the years to come. The process has also made the Foundation team more aware of its own blind spots and ways to address them, as part of our efforts to continuously improve our practices.

The process

The FGM team, accompanied by the social impact firm Credo, took the pulse of the community sector in Greater Montreal and worked to develop selection criteria that would allow the Fund to achieve its objectives in a fair and transparent manner. A simplified evaluation grid was thus created and used to review projects. Among other things, the projects considered had to align closely with a transformative vision of community services, as well as offer an intersectional approach to support different historically marginalised or underserved groups. Organizations were also required to demonstrate that they had the capacity to respond to the expressed needs, or the potential to develop that capacity. Finally, the Fund sought to support organizations with the resilience necessary to adapt their responses to new and evolving contexts, or who are addressing root causes of their target issues from an action-research perspective, for example.

Through a proactive research process, contacts and introductions, and exchanges with 158 different organizations, as well as through six active listening sessions held in 2021, FGM identified a multitude of projects of interest. Of these, 74 organizations met directly with an FGM team member. These files were then presented to the Fund’s Advisory Committee, who analyzed them in greater detail during three working sessions held in January 2022. The Advisory Committee is composed of 8 members from across the community sector, with complementary expertise and representative of the Fund’s target populations. Of the 74 applications submitted to the Committee, 39 were recommended for funding. These grants were ratified by FGM’s Community Engagement Committee in February 2022.

Our partners

The Foundation of Greater Montreal would like to thank its partners for their support and confidence in the Collective Fund for Social Equity: The J. Armand Bombardier Foundation, The Echo Foundation, The McConnell Foundation, and The Trottier Family Foundation.

The process of designing and implementing the Collective Fund for Social Equity was rich in reflection and learnings. FGM also thanks Credo for accompanying the Foundation’s team and developing materials that informed and supported the Advisory Committee.

The Foundation of Greater Montreal’s Collective Fund for Social Equity is a philanthropic fund that is also open to contributions from the public. You can read more about our process on the history page or look at this explainer.

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