CANA Small Grants Program

Applications for Round 6 of the Program closed on Sunday 23 Aug 2020. Round 7 applications will open in early 2021.

The CANA Small Grants Program supports small organising projects that educate and organise new and/or diverse voices to advocate for a rapid transformation to net zero emissions using the below understanding of climate justice.

Funding for your project

Grants from $500 to $10,000 are available to individuals and organisations. The Program is designed to resource CANA members to run high impact, low cost organising projects. We seek applications for grants of $500 to $5,000, although in exceptional cases, CANA’s Small Grant Program Committee may grant up to $10,000. 

Eligibility for funding

We prioritise applicants which are smaller local organisations and individuals (including local affiliates, branches or action groups associated with larger organisations) over larger organisations with numerous staff. Organisations with greater than $2 million organisational income are excluded. 

We only accept one application per organisation per round from an Australian non-profit organisation or educational institution operating within Australia.

Successful grant applicants who are not CANA members will be required to apply to join the Network and pay an annual fee - $100 for grassroots organisations. (Note that fee is waived for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led organisations).

Selection criteria

The project has to educate and organise new and/or diverse voices to advocate for a rapid transformation to net zero emissions using the below understanding of climate justice. 

Priority will be given to projects that, either:

  • Build new relationships in communities most impacted by the climate crisis, empowering them to transition, adapt and create solutions that work for them
  • Activate new allies as advocates
  • Assist a particular community to understand the urgency of the climate crisis and gain their commitment to leading an organising project 
  • Help build the skills and capacity of a community or leadership team to deliver outcomes
  • Have a clear strategy for delivering ongoing or scaled impact over time and are part of a long term plan for creating change
  • Demonstrate that there is clear follow up from your event or campaign
  • Demonstrate participant demand if the project includes training or an event
  • Demonstrate that the transition is socially and environmentally just - so that all people have access to a safe climate and healthy environment.

This program is not suitable for one-off installations of renewable energy technology.

A summary of the recent independent review of the Small Grants Program 2017-2019 includes tips for strong projects. 

What is Climate Justice?

Seeking justice for people who are most vulnerable, oppressed, marginalised, discriminated against and/or disadvantaged in society. These communities bear a disproportionate burden from climate change impacts (and who have often contributed least to climate change) and need support to reduce their vulnerability and increase their preparedness.

Ecologically sustainable solutions to climate change are complex and systemic, but can entrench existing and potential structural inequity and oppressive systems of power (colonialism, white supremacy, patriarchy, capitalism, imperialism). Alternatively, climate justice solutions can benefit all people and ecosystems. 

Individuals from communities with lived experience of climate injustice should play a crucial role in directing and controlling the discerning of problems, creating plans, creating solutions, accessing campaign support and accessing resources (material, financial and intangible) - using the principle "nothing without us, about us". Communities should have their needs and rights widely heard for winning campaign impact that will bring justice and a fair world benefiting their own community financially, economically, environmentally, culturally and socially. 

Climate justice is critical for tackling the climate crisis, with the required urgency, because increased power must ultimately come from those people who stand to lose the most from inaction on climate change. This means using (relative) privilege to support least-privileged communities by distributing or giving up power for participatory, inclusive and transparent self-determination.

Advocacy campaigns and projects focus on the intersection between climate change solutions with First Nations justice, economic and intersectional social justice, economic independence, human rights, intergenerational justice and equity, labour rights, women’s rights, gender equity, sexual justice, disability rights, racial justice, the right to a safe & healthy climate, geographic equity, ecological sustainability, and/or democratic rights.

Application form

To assist with your preparation to apply, you will need to prepare answers to the below questions:

Your organising project 

  • What is the name of your organising project? 
  • Project details - Provide a brief description of how you intend to use the grant funding (Approx. 100 words) 
  • Project Rationale - Describe the reasons why you are planning this project and how it will educate and organise new and/or diverse voices to advocate for a rapid transition to net zero emissions. Describe the strategic opportunity and political or economic context that gives you the opportunity to make progress to create change (Approx. 100 words) 
  • Project goal - Provide a broad sentence of the overarching impact that you expect to achieve from this project addressing the root causes of climate change (Approx. 50 words)
  • Project objectives - The objectives to achieve the above goal should be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound). For example, by the end of the project period we will have: a) identified and approached ten potential education sector community organisers; b) provided introductory training to a minimum of six of these; c) supported the six to develop and (begin to) implement a local education sector organising plan. (Approx. 100 words)
  • Project timing - What are the proposed start and end dates for your project? 
  • Project lead - Who will be leading your project? Full name, position and phone number required. 
  • Project support contact - Who is the project's secondary contact? Name and position required (It is preferable for this person to be a volunteer leader.) 

Your campaign strategy 

  • Have you previously received a CANA small grant? 
  • Please describe how you've built on what you've learned - If you have previously received a CANA small grant, demonstrate how you have learned from your previous work and how you have modified your approach for this project. If you haven't previously received a CANA small grant, please note N/A. (approx. 100 words) 
  • What is your theory of change? - A theory of change is a succinct way to communicate a set of assumptions about what kinds of actions will produce desired outcomes. A Theory of Change can possibly be expressed as “If we do X (action), then we will produce Y (change/shift towards justice), because Z (rationale or logic, to build power)". (Approx. 100 words) 
  • Tell us about any principles of climate justice in your organisation and/or project (Approx. 100 words) 
  • Why are you the right organisation to implement this project? - Please describe your capacity (including the key relationships you hold and expertise you have) to create meaningful change. (Approx. 100 words) 
  • What is your follow up plan? - Projects that have the most ongoing impact to create change are those that are followed up on as part of an ongoing strategic plan. Briefly describe what you plan to do after your project, such as fundraising, follow up with new volunteer leaders, or partnering with another organisation. 

Your organisation 

  • Applicant name - Organisation name OR individual's name to sign grant agreement. 
  • What is your organisation’s mission? 
  • Where does your organisation operate? 
  • ABN or Registration Number 
  • Address 
  • Website - A facebook page is fine, or note if one is in development
  • Is your organisation a CANA member? - Successful grant applicants who are not CANA members will be required to apply to join the Network and pay an annual fee - $100 for grassroots organisations. (Note that fee is waived for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led organisations). 
  • What was your organisational income for the last financial year? - Organisations with greater than $2 million organisational income are not eligible for funding
  • How many staff and/or volunteers do you have? 
  • How much do you expect your project to cost? 
  • How much funding are you seeking from CANA? - Grants from $500 to $10,000 are available to individuals and organisations. The Program is designed to resource CANA members to run high impact, low cost organising projects. We seek applications for grants of $500 to $5,000, although in exceptional cases, CANA’s Small Grant Program Committee may grant up to $10,000. Write a whole figure, not a range. 
  • What date do you require the funds? - Funds will be available for this round from early October 2020
  • What other potential funding are you seeking? - Will you be applying for funds for this project from other grant programs or from government? Or have you secured funding from other sources for this project? If so, please specify the funding amounts and sources. 
  • Project expenses - Please provide a breakdown of what (goods/services) you will purchase using the grant. The total should match the total requested. Please only include amounts that will be used for this project application, rather than the breakdown for the whole campaign.  

Click here to complete each section of the online application form

Further information

Please direct any questions to Melinda Millen melinda@cana.net.au


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