Apply for a grant

The RTOERO Foundation awards grants between $10,000 to $50,000 to projects that aim to improve seniors’ health and wellness, promote social engagement for older adults and/or pursue innovative research in the field of geriatrics and gerontology.

Application process

The RTOERO Foundation grant application process consists of four stages:

Letter of Intent (LOI): Applicant will be asked to provide a project summary, some detail regarding outputs, as well as a draft budget and schedule. A submitted LOI (approximately 750 words) will be evaluated based on adherence with the Foundation’s objectives and funding criteria. If the project summary as described in the LOI meets all requirements, the applicant will be invited to submit a full proposal.

Proposal: Applicant is responsible for completing and submitting all the required details of their project proposal (approximately 3,000 words) on or before the stated deadline. Applicant will also be asked to complete a detailed budget and workplan.

Committee review: Our peer-review committee will assess proposals and make recommendations for funding.

Final approval: Funding recommendations are brought to the RTOERO Foundation board of directors for final approval.

Applicants are encouraged to review our FAQs and funding requirements in detail prior to submitting a letter of intent.

Please note: Although we very much encourage applications from Francophone organizations and researchers, the application platform is only available in English. Applications must therefore be submitted in English. We apologize for any inconvenience. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us and we will do our best to help.

Any questions? Contact us at [email protected]

Timing and deadlines

The RTOERO Foundation typically operates one granting cycle per year in the fall, but on occasion adds a second cycle in the spring. Grant proposals are accepted only during application periods.

Next deadline to submit Letter of Intent: September 27, 2023

Invitations to submit full proposal: October 4, 2023

Deadline to submit proposal: November 1, 2023

Approved applicants contacted: December 13-15, 2023


Please note: the Foundation does not provide feedback on submissions that are not accepted.

Funding requirements

The RTOERO Foundation will only consider applications from registered Canadian charities or other qualified donees as identified by the Canada Revenue Agency. Eligible applicants must have a Canadian registered charitable number (also known as a Business Number or “BN”) which is a 15-character code ending with RR0001.

A non-profit group working in partnership with a registered Canadian charity may also apply. Only projects that meet eligibility criteria and fall within one of our funding areas will be considered.

General criteria

In order to be considered for funding, projects must:

  • align with the Foundation’s vision of a society in which all seniors live with dignity and respect
  • directly address one or more of the foundation’s focus areas
  • include a detailed and reasonable budget
  • include measurable activities, outputs and outcomes to demonstrate project impact
  • provide proof of ethics approval (only for applicants whose institution requires ethics review and approval)

The Foundation has a strong preference for projects that also include:

  • sharable, lay-oriented and practical output materials such as toolkits, manuals, videos, etc.
  • one-year project timeline
  • sustainability plan to continue project viability after initial funding period
  • partnerships and collaboration with other organizations
  • potential to scale and/or replicate project after initial funding period
  • experienced project leadership and implementation team

The foundation will not consider proposals to fund the following:

  • capital costs
  • conferences or event sponsorship
  • endowment
  • emergency appeals
  • general fundraising campaigns
  • partisan political activities
  • projects outside Canada
  • reducing a capital/operating deficit
  • religious activities
  • retroactive funding
Focus areas

The RTOERO Foundation grant program has three focus areas. Project proposals must address one of these areas in order to be considered for support. Each year, the Foundation may accept proposals for one or more, but not necessarily all, focus areas.

  • Geriatrics research. Accepting proposals in 2023.
    Initiatives that take a scientific approach to an examination of healthy aging, health services and the quality of life for older adults. Projects will consolidate and analyze existing knowledge and/or discover new knowledge with the goal of better understanding issues that affect older adults. Applicants are typically academic or medical institutions.
  • Seniors’ health & wellbeing. Accepting proposals in 2023.
    Initiatives that have as their primary focus improved physical, mental and/or social health and wellness among older adults. Projects will increase our understanding of critical issues related to older adults and propose innovative methods to address those issues. Applicants may be national or provincial non-profits or smaller, community-based organizations.
  • Social engagement. Accepting proposals in 2023.
    Initiatives that have as their primary focus improved social engagement for older adults. Projects will increase our understanding of social isolation and loneliness among older adults and propose innovative methods to address social isolation. Applicants may be national or provincial non-profits or smaller, community-based organizations.
Applicant responsibilities

Successful applicants will be required to enter into a “grant agreement” with the RTOERO Foundation, outlining requirements related to communication, accountability and evaluation, including:

  • commencing project within six months of approval
  • spending of funds for intended purposes as outlined in applicant’s proposal and budget
  • returning any unused funds to the Foundation
  • recognizing the Foundation in project materials, publications, etc.
  • making key project staff available for discussion or interview for Foundation marketing and communications materials (newsletter articles, webinars, etc.)
  • submitting an interim report, final report and outcomes report
  • securing ethics approval (only if required by applicant’s institution)
Getting started

Before continuing, please ensure you have reviewed all of the information on this page to determine if you are an appropriate candidate for funding from the RTOERO Foundation.

New applicants will be asked to create an account with a username and password. Work can be saved at any point to return and complete/submit at a later date.

The Foundation grant application is an entirely online process. Submissions made via mail or email will not be considered.

Any questions? Contact us at [email protected].


  1. Who is eligible for funding from the Foundation?
    The RTOERO Foundation will only consider applications from registered Canadian charities or other qualified donees as identified by the Canada Revenue Agency.

    • Eligible applicants must have a Canadian registered charitable number (also known as a Business Number or “BN”) which is a 15-character code ending with RR0001.
  2. Do you accept applications from individuals?
    No. An individual must be partnered with an institution/organization with a registered charitable number in order to submit an application.
  3. Is our project eligible for funding?
    Please review in detail all of the information posted on our Apply for a Grant page to determine if your organization is eligible for funding.
  4. Does the Foundation fund projects that are already completed?
    No. The Foundation will not retroactively fund any project.
  5. We have received a previous grant from the Foundation. Can we apply again?
    Yes. However, preference will be given to organizations that have not received a grant from the Foundation within the past two years.
  6. Are we eligible to reapply if we have been previously declined by the Foundation?
    Yes. We encourage any applicant whose project was declined to resubmit the proposal or submit a different proposal during a future granting cycle.
  7. How long will it take to get a response to our application?
    Timing varies based on the number of applications we receive. In general, you can expect a response approximately two months after the application deadline.
  8. Are there any reporting requirements for accepted proposals?
    Yes. All accepted projects will be required to submit three reports:

    • Interim report: six months after the start date
    • Final report: within three months of project completion
    • Outcomes report: 12 to 18 months after project completion
Applying for a grant
  1. How do we apply for a grant?
    Submissions to the Foundation must be submitted through our secure online grant portal.
  2. Can we submit our application by mail and/or email?
    No. Only applications made via the online portal will be considered.
  3. Do you accept applications in languages other than English?
    No. Although we very much encourage applications from Francophone organizations and researchers, the application platform is only available in English. Applications must therefore be submitted in English.
  4. Can one organization submit multiple proposals?
    No. We only accept one proposal per organization per granting cycle. If an organization submits multiple proposals, we will only review the one that is submitted first.
  5. Can we save our application as a draft and return later?
    Yes. The letter of intent and/or proposal can be saved at any time to be edited and/or completed at a later date.
  6. Can we print a copy of our application?
    Yes. When the final application is submitted you will receive a PDF copy of the application that you may save and print for your records.
  7. What happens if we made an error on an application that has already been submitted?
    We treat submitted applications as final. No edits or additional information will be accepted.
  8. Do we have access to our application after it has been submitted?
    No. A PDF copy of your final application will be attached to the confirmation email but you will not have access to your application through the online portal.
  9. What should we do if we experience technical issues with the application portal?
    Technical issues should be directed via email to the Foundation at [email protected].
  10. Can I call or meet with the Foundation for advice on my proposal?
    No. In order to ensure a fair process, we are not able to offer advice or coaching on individual applications.
  11. How can I get in touch with the Foundation if I have additional questions?
    Questions for the Foundation should be directed via email to our general inbox at [email protected].
  12. When will the next granting cycle take place?
    The Foundation typically operates one granting cycle per year in the fall, but on rare occasions, adds a second cycle in the spring.

    • To be notified of future dates and receive RFPs, please email Deanna Byrtus at [email protected] to have your name added to our distribution list.
Application requirements
  1. What if our project fits within more than one of the Foundation’s focus areas?
    When submitting your application, you will be asked to select one primary focus area.
  2. How do you define “Activities”?
    The Foundation defines Activities as the specific tasks or actions necessary to produce Outputs. In short, they are what project personnel do in order to achieve the goals of the project.

    • Activities should include who/what/when/where/how details.
    • Activities should be mapped onto the project schedule.
  3. How do you define “Outputs” and how important is this to our proposal?
    The Foundation defines Outputs as concrete, quantifiable project deliverables which are the direct result of Activities. Outputs can be tangible (objects/products) or intangible (services).

    • The success of outputs can be measured as soon as project is completed.
    • We have a strong preference for outputs that are lay-oriented, practical and sharable.
    • A project may have many outputs, but we prefer to see at least one output that is not only tangible, but also practical; i.e. can be easily and affordably distributed to be used by communities and individuals across Canada.
    • Examples of outputs from Foundation-funded projects include, but are not limited to, reports, toolkits, websites, training manuals, web/software applications and resource booklets.
    • NOTE: To be considered a project output, the object and/or product must be produced within the project period. For example, if within your project period from January to December 2024 you will produce a research report as a first stage towards the building of a new website in 2026, you may include the report as a project output, but may not include the website itself as a project output because it will not be completed within the project period for which you are applying for funding.
  4. How do you define “Outcomes”?
    The Foundation defines Outcomes as changes or benefits for the target population from the use of Outputs. Outcomes can also result directly from Activities. Outcomes can be viewed as “step changes” that occur in order to achieve your longer-term impact.

    • Some Outcomes may occur as immediate or short-term effects during your project period and these should be easy to measure and quantify.
    • Other Outcomes, however, can be difficult to measure if they are a medium-term effect that will occur sometime after your project period has ended.
  5. How do you define “Impact”?
    The Foundation defines Impact as the ultimate goal of the project expressed as aspirational change at a societal and/or systemic level. Impact should be achieved as a result of your Outcomes.

    • Impact may take years to achieve. It is difficult to measure and is therefore typically stated as the future end-state you would like your target population to experience.
  6. Do you fund projects with a duration of more than one year?
    Occasionally, yes. But very strong preference is given to projects with a maximum duration of 12 months. Multi-year funding is not available.
  7. Does the Foundation prefer to be the sole funder for projects it approves?
    Yes. We do consider projects that require funding from multiple sources but in general, preference is given to those for which the Foundation would be the sole funder.
    * We do not consider the applicant organization as a “funder” (e.g. matching funds and/or in-kind contributions)
  8. Do you require an ethics review and/or ethics approval?
    For organizations that have been approved for a Foundation grant there are two potential scenarios.

    • If your organization requires an internal ethics review (typically medical and academic institutions), proof of ethics approval must be provided to the Foundation before project funding can be released.
    • If your organization does not require an ethics review, we still strongly recommend an assessment to identify potential ethical or consent issues that may arise from your project. This will be arranged by the Foundation and the assessment will be performed by a third party.
Project budget
  1. What is a reasonable amount to request for our project?
    Only project budgets that range from $10,000 to $50,000 will be considered for funding. The average size of a Foundation grant is $33,500.
  2. Can we include salaries in our project budget?
    Yes. We understand that high-quality staff are an essential component of any successful project. Within the project budget, a line item(s) for personnel is acceptable as long as those funds are for direct costs (i.e. used to cover staff salaries directly related to the project and only during the project period).
  3. Can we include capital costs in our project budget?
    No. We do not provide funding for capital costs, which include, but are not limited to, buildings (purchase or renovation), office equipment, vehicles, lab equipment, computers, printers, etc.
  4. Are there other restrictions on what can be included in our project budget?
    We do not provide funding for indirect costs (i.e. expenses not directly or readily assignable to the proposed project). These may include but are not limited to office/workspace rent, utilities, administrative staff salaries (e.g. accounting, human resources, information technology), cell phone plans, etc.
Grant approvals
  1. How many grants will be approved in a granting cycle?
    The number of grants we approve per granting cycle is based on the budgets of each approved project ($10,000 to $50,000 range) as well as the total pool of funds available for that particular granting cycle ($100,000 to $150,000 range).
  2. How are successful applications selected?
    Successful projects are selected through a multi-stage process. If a letter of intent meets our basic criteria, the applicant will be invited to submit a full proposal. Proposals are assessed and recommended for funding by the Foundation’s Peer Review Committee. These proposals are then brought to the Foundation’s board of directors for final approval.
  3. What does the Foundation’s Peer Review Committee value most in an application?
    Please review all of the information posted on our Apply for a Grant page which contains details about funding requirements and what we look for in a strong project proposal.
  4. Do you provide feedback on proposals that are declined?
    No. The Foundation does not provide feedback on proposals that are not accepted.
  5. What are the most common reasons for a proposal being declined?
    The reasons for declining a proposal vary widely, but the most common feedback from our Peer Review Committee include:

    • Proposal quality: poorly written, unclear and/or excessively academic. Reviewer should not have to read through the proposal multiple times in order to grasp what is being communicated.
    • Outputs: poorly communicated, with insufficient detail. Multiple outputs are a good thing, and output type can vary (tangible, intangible, etc.), but at least one should be tangible, practical and widely sharable.
    • Scope & scale: while we do fund projects that focus on smaller, local communities, we look favourably on projects that have a wider scope and/or the potential to be scaled up after the initial project period.
    • Budget: not enough detail and/or unrealistic (i.e. activities/outputs seem too ambitious for the amount being requested). While the Foundation appreciates ambition, we also want to ensure that the funding we provide will produce high-quality results.
  6. If our application is successful, when can we expect to receive the funds?
    Successful applicants must sign a grant agreement with the Foundation which outlines expectations for reporting, communications, etc. Once the agreement has been signed and returned to the Foundation, a cheque for 75% of the total project budget will be mailed to the applicant. The remaining 25% will be mailed upon submission of an interim project report to the Foundation.