Community Climate Transitions Innovation Fund

Are you doing local climate work at and looking for funding to start or scale your project?

This summer, the Tamarack Institute is offering funding for six climate-related projects in communities across Canada.

Ideal projects will help communities mitigate and/or adapt to climate change, focusing on innovative, participatory, equitable, and multisolving approaches.

Grants range from $2,000 to $10,000, supported through the Definity Insurance Foundation.

Thank you for your interest. The call for applications closed on August 24, 2023.

Read on for more details.

Joining the Tamarack network
Available funds
Important dates and application deadlines
Guiding values, community change approaches & defining innovation
Examples of projects
Process for selecting recipients and managing conflicts of interest
Guidelines to apply
Application form



Tamarack was founded in 2001 to catalyze collective action with diverse leaders to solve major community challenges including ending poverty, building youth futures, deepening community, and addressing climate change. We believe that by strengthening our collective capacity to engage citizens and lead collaboratively, we help build a more equitable and sustainable future. Community Climate Transitions (CCT) is Tamarack’s more recent issue-based network, launched in 2021.

With the support of Definity Insurance Foundation, the CCT team is launching the first edition of the Community Climate Transitions Innovation Fund (CCTIF) in June 2023. This fund will support successful CCT members to advance community-led climate action and innovation that is responsive to local needs.

The CCTIF aims to spark new ideas, create connections and build capacity for community-led projects focused on mitigating and/or adapting to climate change. We are seeking innovative projects and solutions that can have quantifiable impacts within the communities and beyond.

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Joining the Tamarack network

In addition to receiving the funds from the CCT Innovation Fund, grantees will be able to join the Tamarack network and benefit from the following:

  • Exclusive access to Tamarack webinars and events - online and in-person;
  • Access to leading resources on developing transition plans through collective impact and community engagement methodologies;
  • An overview of cutting-edge methodologies, evidence-based solutions and governance models to inform your thinking, as well as readings and other relevant educational resources to deepen your understanding of the climate crisis and its implications for municipalities;
  • Updates on the latest news, events and publications on community climate transition from within Canada and around the world; 
  • Access to Tamarack's Vibrant Communities publications, research and guides for cities and local leaders;
  • Networking opportunities with key people and institutions in the sector. 

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Available funds

We intend to support six (6) participative innovation projects per year that are aligned with our guiding principles and community change approaches (see below).

The goals of the Innovation Fund are to:

  • Support and resource community ideas; 
  • Develop community capacities; 
  • Ensure lived experience and community expertise are prioritized in this process.
  • Help shift power structures and advance various forms of justice (e.g., involving those impacted in decision making, fair distribution of benefits and burdens) 

Each year we aim to support a combination of one large, one intermediary, and several smaller grants to CCT members. Grant amounts will range between C$2,000 and C$10,000 each and be split as follows: 


Grant Name Amount Quantity
Seed Level C$2,000 4
Sprouting Level C$5,000 1
Scaling Level C$10,000 1


Each level is designed to match the advancement and resource needs of a variety of projects:

  • Seed level is for experimenting with new approaches and/or supporting early-stage projects that need help getting off the ground
  • Sprouting level is for growing promising projects
  • Scaling level is for supporting projects to scale up (impacting laws or policy), scale out (impacting greater numbers) or scale deep (impacting relationships, cultural values and beliefs)

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Important dates and application deadlines

  • The Innovation Fund will accept applications from June 5th until August 24th, 2023, at 23h59 ET.
  • Applications will be reviewed by staff and members of the CCT Advisory Group between September 1st to 15th, 2023. Some applicants may be contacted for follow-up questions on their proposals. Applicants will be contacted with a decision from September 15th.
  • The funds will be allocated in late September.
  • Each grant awardee will be required to use the funds within a year starting from the date of the allocation of the funds.
  • Grant awardees will:
    • Provide a short report of a maximum of 500 words at the end of the project that captures key impacts and learnings (Tamarack to provide questions that can be answered in a blog, video or other form), and 
    • Share a mid-way progress update with the CCT team verbally. The Tamarack team will set up check-in dates and reminders based on project start date and length and book virtual meetings on Zoom or Teams. 

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To be eligible, applicants must:

  • Represent a nonprofit, community organization or resident-led group, municipality*, or multi-sector collaborative focused on developing community-level solutions that advance a just and equitable climate transition.  
  • Include a minimum of two people leading the planning and implementation of the project;
  • Be fiscally and legally based in Canada. Projects submitted for funding should also be based in a Canadian province or territory;
  • Propose an existing or new project that is aligned with the Innovation Fund’s Guiding Principles (see below);
  • Be a member of Tamarack’s Community Climate Transitions network (consult our Membership Package to learn more);
  • Start the project within 2 months of receiving the grant;
  • Run the project for 6 to 12 months;
  • Share a budget which includes a maximum of 20% for overhead costs and;
  • Representatives must have financial authority or authorization from a senior-level representative of the organization to sign and agree to all the terms and conditions of the Funding Agreement.
Note: we are not able to support projects promoting political or faith-based activities.


 * We define municipalities as a town, a district with a local government of any size, but we also mean the governing body of a given municipality. 

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Guiding values, community change approaches & defining innovation

We are looking for projects that embrace the following values and interconnected ideas that lead to community change:

Community Climate Transition values: 

  • Equity, justice and reconciliation – must be at the heart of climate transition efforts
  • Multi-solving approaches – the social, environmental and economic challenges we face are interconnected, and our solutions need to 'multi-solve' and address root causes
  • Inclusion and radical collaboration – resident-led, multi-sector approaches are the necessary way forward
  • Bold action – the scale of the polycrisis demands boldness
  • Learning – we commit to lifelong learning and unlearning
  • Care and love – caring for ourselves and others is essential

Interconnected approaches to community change: 

  • Collective impact – a structured form of collaboration used by a group of actors from different sectors to solve a specific problem  
  • Community engagement – a process by which residents are engaged to work and learn together on behalf of their communities to create and realize bold visions for the future.
  • Collaborative leadership – bringing the appropriate people together as peers, in constructive ways with good information, to create authentic visions and strategies for addressing shared concerns. 
  • Community innovation – community-championed change with benefits that are meaningful to the community. 
  • Evaluating impact – new ways of measuring change that place the community at the centre of assessment processes, and using the results to drive new thinking, better strategies and deeper impact.

What we mean by 'Innovation'

Innovation creates a solution that is distinct from – and more ambitious and uncertain than – continuous improvement. Innovation exists in a number of different forms. These include: program innovation; product and/or service innovation; funding innovation; and system innovation. System innovation is particularly promising as it challenges a system’s conventional norms and looks beyond proven or accepted practices to create solutions that are based on a different set of assumptions. 

The CCTIF is looking to support Community Innovation, which differs from other forms of social innovation in its focus on community – placing community members as both the champions and as the arbiters of change.  

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Examples of projects

The CCTIF will fund projects that focus on sharing resources, reciprocal models of support, increasing awareness and engagement, and equity-centered climate mitigation and adaptation solutions such as:

  • Sandrine and Pierre are with a community-led organization looking to develop an assessment of energy poverty in their region. They receive a CCTIF Seed grant to do market research and get their project started. They also join a Community of Practice on Emergency Preparedness led by Tamarack where they meet like-minded people across the country that provide support and advice for the implementation of their project.
  • Aditi and Raven are running the local library and partnered with the city council to increase the number of climate-related books from Indigenous authors, for children and teens in their database and launch a climate café.
  • Javier and Arash lead their city’s climate-focused collective impact initiative and want to support the participation of individuals with lived experiences to join their leadership table. After joining the Tamarack network, they took advantage of the exclusive resources that deepened their knowledge of the collective impact concept.
  • Mingma and Diego work for a local non-profit and want to scale the community engagement volunteer program to decrease food waste and raise climate awareness in their province. They receive a CCTIF Scaling grant to increase the organization’s outreach to two new regions in the province.

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Process for selecting recipients and managing conflicts of interest

Achieving CCT’s mission requires input and guidance from diverse experts (both content and context experts) engaged in climate change and equity work. This includes our members themselves, as we strive to be as member-driven as possible in all that we do. We are also committed to experimenting with participatory grantmaking approaches, where communities themselves select which projects receive funding. In collaboration with the WES Mariam Assefa Fund, Tamarack launched a participatory grantmaking pilot in the Peel Region in 2021. Building off its success, we will once again take a participatory approach to grantmaking in how we allocate the CCTIF.

CCT has recently formed a new Advisory Group that is made up of members of our network and other climate leaders from public, private and non-profit sectors. This Group will work with CCT staff to select which projects receive funding. As such, managing potential conflicts of interest is essential and Tamarack will take measures to address both real and perceived conflicts. 


Conflicts of interest

All parties agree to avoid any conflict of interest in the performance of their contractual obligations, and disclose to Tamarack without delay any actual or potential conflict of interest that arises during the performance of its contractual obligations.

In the event of a breach of agreement or clear conflict of interest, Tamarack may terminate the partnership, including but not restricted to its obligation to make any further payments. If Tamarack terminates the agreement, Tamarack will require unexpended funds to be returned.

Scoring Rubric

Each applicant’s submission will be reviewed by members of the CCT team as well as an advisory board, and evaluated according to the following scoring rubric:


Rubric Score
Expectations exceeded 4
Expectations met 3
Guidelines adequately met 2
Guidelines somewhat met 1
Inadequate or incomplete  0


Criteria 4 3 2 1 0
Comprehensive and clear: Application fully completed, clear and concise            
Impactful: If achieved, the project would have important social and/or environmental impacts in the community           
Innovative: The project idea is innovative (see definitions provided of innovation and community innovation)           
Equitable: The project represents equity-deserving groups in either the people they serve (2 pts), the communities they work with (3pts) or the management team (4pts)           
Value alignment: Provided evidence that the project will embrace the Guiding Values           
Realistic and achievable: The project and desired impacts are realistic and achievement considering timeline, budget, management team and other considerations           


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Thank you for your interest. The call for applications closed on August 24, 2023.