What can we learn from OTF giving history? PART 1

Ontario Trillium Foundation recently released a history of grants awarded between 2015-2019. I have decided to take a look at the data, and extract major lessons about their giving, type of funding, action areas, geographic area, target populations and so forth.
The analysis is divided to several articles; to make it easier for reading. The beginning of this article series presents some basic descriptive stats, to provide a general picture about OTF funding. As we go on, I present interesting comparisons and cross-tabulations. To summarize, lessons to be learned and recommendations for future applications are discussed.

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  1. Total number & type of grants

In general, 2503 grants were given in twelve cycles of applications, average number of grants approved per cycle is 209, with the range of 99-334 (lowest June 2016, and highest November 2015).

OTF reduced the amount of grants by ~15% in 2017/18 and 2018/19 rounds compared to 2015/16 and 2016/17 . Hence, less organizations are now grantees of OTF.

The major types of grants are (out of total grants): Seed (36%), Grow (26%), and Capital (25%). One cycle grants were: Ontario150 (8% 2016/17 only) and Provincial Impact (1% 2017/18 only). Collective Impact is present in all years, however comprises only 3% of total grants.
It seems that Seed is highly popular, and safe to assume that Collective Impact is significantly challenging for forming, applying, and actually get the funds.

Types of grants per year (not including Collective Impact, Ontario150 and Provincial Impact):

Grow and Seed grants are declining with time; however Capital is on the rise. Additionally, it seems that OTF tries to be consistent over time with core grants and open all of them every year.

2. Total grants for catchment areas

Not too surprisingly, for catchment areas, Toronto leads the chart, and right after come Halton-Peel, Simcoe-York, and Champlain (Ottawa). Provincial-wide grants take 6% of total grants.

Stay tuned for geographical analysis in respect to census data.

3. Frequent grantees (5 times or more)

Interestingly enough, 29 organizations made it to the top list of grantees. Tides Canada is significantly higher than all other organizations, seconded by Sketch Working Arts. Additional thirteen organizations received grants five times.
In case you were wondering how the rest of the distribution looks like, here are the numbers: 75% of total organizations that received 1-4 grants were awarded once; 17% – twice; 6% – three times; and 2% – 4 times.


4. Money, Money, Money

Average dollar amount per grant is $116,000. Seed grants get $55,000 on average; and Grow get $368,000.

When looking at trends over time, Seed keeps its boundaries of about $55,000; and Capital and Grow amounts are in steady growth, in 22% and 16% respectively, comparing 2015/16 and 2018/19.

If so, when considering to make an application for Seed, better to ask around $55,000; for Capital – ask for about $100,000; and for Grow you can aim high to $400,000 on average. Just a reminder, the official limits are $75,000 for Seed, $150,000 for Capital, and $750,000 for Grow.

When I correlated funds and number of months in Grow grants, surprising low correlation was found (r=.38**). An in-depth investigation reveals that the distribution is not normal, and skewed to the left, hence tend to focus on lower amounts regardless of duration.

If you pondered about the monthly support, here are some numbers:

  • average funding per month is $11,000 (st.dev. $5300, Median $9,400)
  • 25th quartile gets $6500 monthly; 50th gets $9,400, and 75th gets $14,700. Top decile gets $19,700-$23,500
  • Top three organizations:
    YMCA of Western Ontario (2016/17) ;
    Second Harvest (2016/17);
    Eabametoong First Nation (2016/17)

Stay tuned for descriptives of Action Area, Grant Result, Demographics; and  in-depth analysis for Action Area, Grant Result, Organization, and Funding Dollars.

Feel free to comment and suggest additional analyses.

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