Program Guidelines


Picture1.pngArtReach is a funding program designed to support youth arts initiatives in Toronto that foster youth engagement and provide high quality arts opportunities. $300,000 in grants are available each year to support youth arts projects, thanks to our amazing partnership with the Toronto Arts Council.

Picture1.pngArtReach aims to support innovative youth arts projects that may not be supported elsewhere. ArtReach is about access, reducing barriers, and increasing opportunities for youth, individual artists, and organizations/ collectives to create or continue quality arts projects or programming. New and emerging art forms will be considered, and are encouraged.

The initiatives we fund must:

  • Support meaningful engagement of Toronto youth (13-29), who have experienced and/or are experiencing exclusion from active participation in quality arts opportunities
  • Serve youth living in Toronto, with priority for those who identify with an under-served community
  • Be offered by individual young artists and/or youth-led groups and organizations who live and work in Toronto
  • Encourage creative expression through quality arts opportunities and foster meaningful youth engagement in project design, implementation and evaluation
  • Promote social inclusion and provide opportunities for youth to develop leadership skills, build their personal and professional capacity, and access opportunities within their communities
  • Provide opportunities for youth to benefit from both the intrinsic (e.g. personal enjoyment, creative expression) and instrumental value (e.g. community engagement, skills development, social change) of the arts
  • Offer an ongoing workshop series that engages the same group of participants for each session. Drop-in style programming and one-time events not eligible for ArtReach funding

Please note:

  • Applicants cannot receive funds from both ArtReach and the Toronto Arts Council for the same activities and timelines. If you are planning on applying to both funders, please notify the program manager or granting officer at to ensure there is no overlap that will affect your eligibility
  • Artists who receive funding from ArtReach are not eligible to receive funding in the same year from any of Toronto Arts Council’s Strategic Funding Programs, including Platform A MicroGrants, or CUE Grants
  • Groups are restricted from re-applying to ArtReach until final reports are submitted for any open grants, and written notification has been received that the file has been closed
  • ArtReach can fund young groups, organizations or artists to a maximum of three times.

Picture1.pngArtReach embraces a broad definition of art and is looking to support emerging, popular, and traditional art forms. This includes but is not limited to: music creation/ recording/ production, dance, drama/ theatre/ performing arts, creative writing, poetry, spoken word, carnival and circus, Indigenous arts, film and video, TV, radio, podcasting, culinary arts, photography, digital media, multimedia, visual arts, comic or zine making, graffiti and street art, graphic design, textiles, storytelling, fashion design, crafts, hip hop, aesthetics, etc.

Click here to see a list of the projects ArtReach has funded.

Picture1.pngArtReach’s funding mandate is to support projects being carried out by individual youth and youth-led groups and organizations, where leadership positions and decision-making responsibilities are held by young people 13-29 years of age. ArtReach’s main point of contact should be the young person leading the project, and young people must lead the application process and project management activities. We recognize that there are many models for youth-led projects (including those that include administrative partners and adult mentors). In your application please describe your model in detail.

ArtReach will fund:

  • Youth led groups, collectives, or not-for-profit organizations
  • Individual young artists
  • Youth groups that are housed within larger not-for-profit or charitable organizations
  • Applicants providing arts training opportunities to youth facing severe barriers

Proposals from applicants that are not youth-led initiatives will only be considered where the barriers being faced by the youth participants are severe. In these cases, there must be a strong youth engagement model in place to allow for youth to still carry meaningful leadership roles. If this applies, please contact the program manager at to discuss.

Picture1.pngIndividual artists, groups of artists, unincorporated organizations, nonprofits, and charitable organizations may apply for community project grants at the following funding levels. Make sure your budget accurately reflects what you need to complete your activities from start to finish.

Apply for a $5,000 pilot project if…

  • You want to try out a new idea OR
  • You want to run a smaller-scale project (short timeline, reduced number of participants) OR
  • This is the the first time you’ve run this specific program (and have no previous experience coordinating or leading programming)

Apply for a $10,000 Phase One Project if…

  • This is the first time you’ve run this specific program, but have previous experience coordinating or leading programming OR
  • You want to want to keep an existing program running OR
  • You want to run a larger-scale project (longer timeline, higher number of participants)

You can ONLY apply for a $15,000 Phase Two Project If…

  • Your project was successfully funded by ArtReach in the past AND
  • You are expanding the previously funded project by at least one of the following measures:
    • Increasing timelines
    • Increasing the number of participants served
    • Reaching a new, underserved community
    • Adding new employment opportunities for young people
    • Teaching a more advanced level of your arts practice

Only expenses directly related to the project can be included in your funding request. These may include:

  • Salaries and wages for project staff and artists
  • Art supplies and equipment purchases/ rentals
  • Transportation for participants
  • Program planning, development, and evaluation-related costs
  • Staff and volunteer training costs
  • Promotion and outreach costs
  • Liability insurance
  • Rental and permit fees
  • Participant honoraria
  • Minor space improvements (e.g. painting, construction of a stage)
  • Capital costs (up to 20% of the total request)
  • Web design and printing costs
  • Events or forums.
  • Translation, interpretation services, or any accommodation services/ supports for special needs

If there are other expenses not included in the above list that are critical to the success of your project, please discuss this with ArtReach staff at, as it may be eligible depending on the project.

Picture1.pngArtReach is not intended to and will not fund the following:

  • Individual artists projects or creation of works (IE. we will not fund your mixtape!)
  • Programs that are drop-in style. Projects must be registration-based and serve the same group of youth throughout in order to maximize skill and relationship development of participants
  • One-time events or festivals
  • Retroactive expense coverage
  • General operating expenses (unrelated to the project)
  • Deficit/ debt reduction
  • Bursaries, scholarships, sponsorships or individual requests
  • Fundraising campaigns
  • Substantial capital and infrastructure costs (e.g. building, major renovations)
  • Capital costs that are more than 20% of the total project budget
  • Capital costs not directly related to the artistic learning opportunities being provided
  • Software development
  • Prizes

Picture1.pngSuccessful Applications:

  • Have a clear outreach strategy to connect with youth who may have limited access to engaging arts opportunities
  • Effectively describe why there is a need for a program like yours (use statistics or testimonials to support your case)
  • Demonstrate a comprehensive workplan that includes all activities from planning your project, to completing your final report (the more detail you can provide, the better)
  • Provide a detailed explanation of how the art form(s) proposed will be engaging, relevant, and impactful to underserved youth
  • Have a clear evaluation plan to show how you will measure, document and share project findings internally within your group, externally to your funder(s), and potentially to members of the general public
  • Includes details that show you have put time and research into this proposal. The more you include, the more the Grant Review Team is able to see that you’ve planned for every step of your project.

Want to know more about how to write an amazing grant application? Check out our Grant Writing 101 Toolkit, Videos (Good Habits, Top Tips, The Basics), or Resources Page!

If your project is eligible, ArtReach’s Grant Review Team (GRT) will review your application and funding request. The GRT is a group of young volunteers representing youth, non-profit/community organizations and artists from a variety of artistic disciplines, backgrounds, and experiences. Results on the success of your application are announced within approximately 60 days of the deadline.

If your project is not approved for funding, you will be provided with feedback notes via email on why your application was declined, and advisable next steps. 

A budget includes a detailed outline of project expenses (monies going out such as salaries for staff, rent, photocopying, etc) and revenues (monies coming in such as fundraising, grants, etc.). Budget expenses should include in-kind contributions (donations of service or product that would otherwise be an additional expense such as the donation of free meeting space in a community centre). For more info see our Grant Writing 101 toolkit

Projects funded are expected to include evaluation as one of the project’s activities. Evaluation looks at whether or not (and why) the project was successful in achieving its goals and objectives. There are many ways to collect this information, for more info see our Evaluation 101 toolkit

Individual Artist
An artist that has demonstrated skills and/or training in his or her artistic field (not necessarily obtained in an academic institution); is recognized as such by his or her peers; is committed to devoting more time to the artistic activity if he or she can afford to; and has a history of public presentation

Meaningful Youth Engagement
This includes youth being involved in the governance of a group or organization, as well as being involved in decision making around project planning, implementation, management and evaluation. Note that ArtReach’s mandate is to support youth-led initiatives, where primary decision-making rests with young people aged 13-29.

Quality Arts Opportunities
This means that the project offers arts opportunities that go beyond an introduction to the art form and offer experiences that have a personal or emotional impact on the participant, and a positive impact on the broader community. They also provide participants with sufficient resources to develop tangible skills in the given art form.

Social Inclusion
A socially inclusive community is one in which every member can fully participate without barriers or discrimination. A project that promotes social inclusion supports youth to overcome barriers, or works with youth to break them down.

Under-Served Communities
Refers to under-resourced geographic areas as well as under-resourced groups. This could include neighborhoods or Toronto Community Housing units (for example Chester Le or Flemingdon Park), as well as groups with specific experiences, cultures or identities (for example, youth who identify as Queer and/or Trans*, or youth in the Eritrean diaspora). ArtReach encourages applicants to describe their community, and the needs of its members, in their proposals.

A project work plan outlines the major activities and expected completion dates related to the project from start (planning) to finish (post-project evaluation). For example, a project work plan would include information about special events (e.g. performances, exhibitions), staffing, volunteer recruitment, fundraising, etc.

Youth who Have Experienced Exclusion
Youth who have been marginalized on the basis of race, neighbourhood, language, newcomer status, disability, gender, sexual orientation or any other factors.