Canada Funding Opportunity: General Application

The application portal for this funding opportunity is now closed, and will re-open in early 2022.


The WES Mariam Assefa Fund launched in Canada in 2020 to support efforts to build inclusive economies and ensure all immigrants and refugees can achieve their aspirations and thrive. 

In 2021, the Fund seeks to continue learning about the great work of organizations across Canada and identify impactful, innovative solutions that support the success of immigrants and refugees.  The WES Mariam Assefa Fund is looking for funding ideas aligned with one or more of the Fund’s four social impact goals. 

As a catalytic funder, we are especially interested in supporting initiatives in early stages of development or at key inflection points, such as exploring how to grow a successful model. Given that the Canadian government is the main funder of immigrant settlement and employment programs, the WES Mariam Assefa Fund will only consider funding solutions that complement – not duplicate – programs funded by the government. Programs should be new or additive to the field, target existing and future gaps in the system, or address needs that are not currently being met.  

The Opportunity

The application portal for this funding opportunity is now closed. The portal will re-open and begin accepting LOIs again in early 2022. Following the review of LOIs, selected organizations will be invited to submit a full proposalAwardees will receive grants that are up to two years in length, and most grants will range from CAD150,000 to CAD200,000.  Subscribe to our email list to be notified when the 2022 portal re-opens.

In addition to the funding provided, selected applicants will become grantee partners of the WES Mariam Assefa Fund. As part of the Fund’s partner community, they will have access to peer-learning, capacity building, and other programming. 

Please be sure to first read through the full details on this page and in our FAQs. Then, eligible organizations may submit LOIs through our online application portal, SurveyMonkey Apply. You will need to create an account there first.

All LOIs must be submitted through SurveyMonkey Apply. Paper applications and applications sent by email will not be accepted.


We will prioritize and consider projects that:  

  • Design or test solutions and partnerships that both advance economic mobility for immigrants and refugees and meet employers’ needs, such as reskilling and upskilling programs, demand-driven employment partnerships, equitable talent practices, and more.  
  • Build leadership capacity of immigrant and refugee workers or entrepreneurs.  
  • Change working conditions for immigrant and refugee workers in essential occupations and improve the quality of jobs. 
  • Create more inclusive communities where immigrants and refugees can flourish. 
  • Develop data-driven approaches to driving better outcomes for immigrants and refugees.  
  • Strengthen the immigrant-serving sector to ensure that it is more collaborative, innovative, and sustainable. 

2021 Key Dates

August 2
Letter of Intent (LOI) forms due
August - September
LOIs reviewed by staff
July - August
LOIs reviewed staff and external reviewers
Application notifications: declination or invitation to submit full proposal
Late October
Full proposals due (if invited to submit)
Anticipated grant start date

Evaluation Criteria

Applications will be reviewed using the following evaluation criteria:


Does the initiative put forth a compelling vision for the advancement of immigrants and refugees?

Community Informed

To what extent is the initiative informed by and responsive to the needs of immigrants and refugees?


What impact is the initiative striving to achieve and how timely is it? To what extent could this initiative contribute to systemic change?

Potential for Learning

Would the initiative result in learnings useful for the field, including models for replicability and scale? 

Partnership Orientation

Does the team leading the initiative authentically and intelligently collaborate with partners, when appropriate, to increase the initiative’s capacity, reach, or impact?


Do the initiative’s leaders understand the key considerations and resources required to successfully execute the envisioned work?


Does the initiative propose a new or improved approach to addressing the challenge identified?