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Social Innovation Project Grants

Expressions of interest for projects to support social innovation

We are currently accepting expressions of interest (EOI) for projects that explore:

  • How to support social innovation in Vancouver’s urban aboriginal community
  • How non-aboriginal focused projects can apply an aboriginal perspective to social innovation

In 2014, City Council designated Vancouver as a “City of Reconciliation”.  In 2015, staff developed the City of Reconciliation overarching vision:

As a City of Reconciliation, the City of Vancouver will form a sustained relationship of mutual respect and understanding with local First Nations and the urban aboriginal community, including key agencies, to incorporate a First Nations and urban aboriginal perspective into the work undertaken and decisions made by the City of Vancouver and, ultimately, to provide services that benefit members of these communities.

Current status Closed
Next application deadline Spring 2018

What is a socially-innovative approach?

There is no single, universally-agreed upon definition of social innovation. In general, a socially innovative approach:

  • Addresses social issues by applying new learning and strategies to positively affect change
  • Has a measurable impact on the broader social, political and economic contexts that created or support continuation of the issue being addressed
  • Is designed to explore what might work to trigger longer term systems, rather than implementing “program models” with known actions and clear end points
  • Recognizes that, while the long-term goals of a social innovation might be well defined, the path to achieving those goals may be much less clear

In the context of Indigenous communities, "social innovation" may often take the form of looking back to old traditions and rediscovering how those teachings show Indigenous communities the way forward. The Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience offers this working definition:

"indigenous innovations are a unique type of social innovation continually informed by the application of indigenous knowledge to promote the resurgence of indigenous knowledge and practices, as guided by the wisdom of the ancestors."


To be eligible for grant funding, projects must:

  • Be one-time only (1 to 2 years duration)
  • Be pilot or start up initiatives
  • Target gaps and emerging needs
  • Achieve a minimum of 1:1 leverage from other sources
  • Demonstrate strong support and collaborations with existing service platforms, other service providers, funders, and project partners

More information

For more information, including additional eligibility criteria and instructions for the EOI, read the Call for Expressions of Interest PDF file (120 KB).

Read our Frequently Asked Questions PDF file (100 KB).

Contact Eric Kowalski, Social Planner, at eric.kowalski@vancouver.ca or 604-871-6780.

Contact the Social Policy & Projects Division

Mailing address
Social Policy & Projects Division
City of Vancouver
501-111 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC V6B 1H4