Grant Types and Guidelines

Grant Types and Guidelines

Grant Types

Max Bell Foundation provides support with three types of grants: Project Grants, Development Grants, and Senior Fellow Grants.

Project Grants support clearly defined activities designed to achieve a specific purpose that aligns with the Foundation’s mission, strategic priority, and granting guidelines. A typical project grant ranges from 1-3 years in duration and has a budget that ranges from $50,000 to $200,000. Project grants are described in more detail here.

Development Grants (formerly called "internship grants") support organizations who wish to hire a junior level person to work for a short term (typically 4 month) full time contract. Please note that we do not make grants to individuals seeking internship positions, nor do we participate in screening candidates for internship positions supported by this program. Development grants are described in more detail here.

Senior Fellow Grants support mid-career individuals who wish to undertake a well defined project that will add value to debates over critical public policy issues in health and wellness, education, and/or environment. Senior fellow grants are described in more detail here.

Granting Guidelines

The primary criterion by which the Foundation evaluates proposals, whether for Project grants, Internship grants, or Senior Fellow grants, is the degree to which the proposed work aligns with the Foundation's mission:

Max Bell Foundation reflects the spirit and intent of its founder to improve Canadian society.

We encourage the development of innovative ideas that impact public policies and practices with an emphasis on health and wellness, education, and the environment.

In addition to alignment with our mission, we assess proposals according to the following guidelines:

We seek to support work that helps Canadians adapt to social, economic, and technological change while positively impacting the quality of life in our communities. Our current strategic priority is to support projects which educate Canadians about public policy and practice alternatives.

We are a western Canadian foundation with a pan-Canadian mandate. We prefer to develop project proposals in collaboration with applicants rather than reacting to proposals which are already fully developed. We seek opportunities to partner with other grant making agencies.

We prefer projects that:

  • value responsibility and self-sufficiency at levels of the individual, family, community, and society
  • identify, develop, and assess alternatives rather than perpetuating the status quo
  • do not duplicate existing work
  • are driven by demonstrable public needs rather than intellectual curiosity
  • focus on practical issues and approaches
  • recognize and address the complexities of public policy making
  • are designed to be outcome oriented (i.e., toward social and/or institutional change), not output oriented (i.e., toward delivery of a product or service)
  • give careful consideration to uptake of project outputs (e.g., outputs will be timely and useful for decision makers)
  • are likely to generate transferable results so that the project can impact more than its local context
  • effect change by building and leading collaborations
  • promote evidence-informed decision making
  • do not receive public sector funding

Support will not be provided in response to the following types of requests:

  • General administration costs
  • Emergency funds or deficit financing
  • Capital expenditures
  • Endowments, awards, fellowships, internships, sabbaticals, scholarships, or bursaries
  • General fundraising
  • Projects with only local impact
  • Grants to individuals

The Foundation can make grants only for charitable purposes, and only to organizations which have been issued a registered charity number under the Income Tax Act of Canada.

We encourage any organization which meets these criteria and whose project aligns with our mission and the above granting guidelines to apply for support.

Project Grants

Max Bell Foundation supports projects which fit our mission, strategic priority, and granting guidelines, and that fall within or bridge our program areas.

The term "project" is often used to refer loosely to any set of activities. We use the term in a more specific way. For our purposes, projects are:

  • clearly defined sets of activities that are coordinated and necessary to achieve a specific, well defined, measureable purpose that aligns with the Foundation’s mission, strategic priority, and granting guidelines
  • temporary and term-specific (e.g., 12 months, or 30 months, etc.) - not ongoing work of an organization
  • have clear, measureable goals linked to work plans that specify steps, dates, and responsibilities
  • have separate, clear budgets and financial accounting procedures

Projects are different from general operating support, capital purchases, and programs (programs have no set end point and contain several projects).

We expect that all expenses, including those associated with overhead and administration, should be budgeted for in proposals we consider.

Development Grants

Max Bell Foundation seeks to help registered charities identify, develop, and communicate to Canadians public policy alternatives in health & wellness, education, and environment.

We recognize that each of these policy areas is complex, and that doing impactful public policy work within them can require extensive development work such as data gathering, environmental scanning, literature reviews, preliminary analyses, detailed project planning, etc. Many organizations lack the resources required to undertake these activities, which may be necessary for developing and delivering on high quality project plans.

We also recognize that Canada's brightest young researchers who are interested in public policy issues have few opportunities to develop their skills under the tutelage of experienced mentors.

With these needs in mind, Max Bell Foundation offers a development grant program.  Funded proposals in this program have the following objectives:

1) To undertake developmental work on key public policy issues in health & wellness, education, and environment. Such work should demonstrably position applicant organizations to succeed with other larger-scale public policy initiatives.

2) To provide excellent learning and mentorship experiences for some of Canada's best and brightest young researchers, and focus their attention upon key public policy issues related to health & wellness, education and environment.

Grants within this program cover both a stipend for the incumbent and the overhead costs of mentoring and administration.

Max Bell Foundation's development grants are made to Canadian registered charities who intend to hire individuals for short term contracts. Please note that we do not make grants to individuals seeking an internship, nor do we participate in recruiting, screening, or hiring candidates for positions supported by this program.

Stipend: The stipend for holders of bachelors degrees (or equivalent) is $2,400 per month. The stipend for holders of masters degrees (or equivalent) is $2,880 per month. The stipend for holders of doctoral degrees (or equivalent) is $3,200 per month.

Mentoring and Administration: It is expected that the grantee organization, in agreeing to accept this support, will also commit to having senior staff both supervise and mentor the incumbent. We anticipate this to require approximately three to six hours per week. Administrative costs will include the search and hiring process, and an appropriate portion of overhead expenses.

Term: It is expected that the incumbent will work for the recipient organization on a full time basis (i.e., 160 hours per month), typically for four months (although in certain cases, longer terms may be considered).

Eligibility: The contracts are to be awarded through a competitive search open to all qualified applicants who are Canadian citizens. The incumbent may be seeking temporary employment, completing a work term in a co-operative education program, or between semesters of a course of study.

Project Topic and Scope: Incumbents should be charged with completing a pre-defined set of activities that will augment the grantee organization's ability to undertake more extensive work in an area of public policy that pertains to health and/or education and/or environment. The specific topic, scope, and methods of the project are agreed upon by the recipient organization and Max Bell Foundation staff. It is expected that work plans will be developed with several factors in mind:

  • the time available
  • the experience and abilities of the incumbent
  • the availability of a senior member of the recipient organization's staff to mentor the incumbent
  • the relevance of the proposed work to both the recipient organization and Max Bell Foundation
  • the potential availability of necessary research materials, data, or other resources

Administration: The recipient organization is responsible for the following:

  • searching for and selecting an incumbent through an open, competitive process
  • development of a practical work plan that meets both the recipient organization's and Max Bell Foundation's approval
  • providing the necessary infrastructure (e.g., office space, computer, internet connectivity, telephone, etc.)
  • mentoring
  • assuring that the incumbent completes their work within the specified time frame

It is expected that the incumbent will provide periodic reports on her/his progress to both the recipient organization and Max Bell Foundation.

Deliverables: In addition to the regular reports from the incumbent, senior staff of the recipient organization will prepare a final report on the grant. It is expected that the project undertaken will yield formal written output(s) that could include, for example, one or more of:

  • a literature review
  • a research brief
  • policy recommendations
  • a complete proposal to potential funders, including Max Bell Foundation, for a more comprehensive initiative

Where warranted, the Foundation may assist participating organizations with the publication of outputs electronically and/or in hard copy versions.

How to Apply: This is a flexible program that permits Max Bell Foundation staff and potential recipient organizations to work collaboratively to identify initiatives of interest to both. If you are interested in participating, we ask that you initiate the process by outlining:

  • the basic elements of a project, including the objectives, the intended outputs/deliverables, and a summary work plan showing activities and outputs by month
  • the process by which you would search for and hire an incumbent
  • a budget with line items for incumbent stipend, administration/overhead, and mentoring/supervision

Please forward the above information by email, mail, or fax to:

Alida White

Max Bell Foundation

Suite 380

1201 – 5th Street S.W. Calgary, AB T2R 0Y6

Phone: (403) 215-7310

Fax: (403) 215-7319


Senior Fellow Grants

Max Bell Foundation’s Senior Fellows Program provides opportunities for experienced professionals to devote a substantial portion of time to engage in research, writing, and educating the public. The overall goal of the program is to add value to debates over critical public policy issues in health and wellness, education, and/or environment.

The structure of the fellowship is flexible, but will include:

  • a meaningful time commitment from the incumbent, not to exceed one year
  • a budget including $80,000 in consideration of the incumbent’s time, and up to an additional $20,000 for related support (e.g., administration, research, travel)
  • the production of deliverables focused on a critical and timely public policy issue (e.g., essays, monographs, web based materials, briefs, public lectures, symposia, round tables, etc.)
  • engagement with appropriate audiences

We welcome opportunities to co-support projects undertaken by Senior Fellows that otherwise fit within these program guidelines

The program will support one Senior Fellow per year. To qualify for support as a Max Bell Senior Fellow:

  • candidates must be Canadian residents or eligible for retention in keeping with Canadian charitable law
  • candidates must agree that during their term as a Senior Fellow, they will have no other employment duties, and will devote a block of contiguous time to the Fellowship project

To apply for a Senior Fellow grant, follow the application process described on the Apply For Support page and indicate in the project title that you are applying for a Senior Fellow grant. The Foundation will review your Letter of Intent and contact you to follow up. Where warranted, applicants will be asked to develop a full proposal and will be interviewed in person by a Committee of the Board of Directors.

Applications will be assessed according to:

  • the relative fit of the proposed work with the Foundation’s mission, strategic priority, and granting guidelines
  • the qualifications and track record of the candidate