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Green Lights for Grants Interview Series

Understanding Nova Scotia’s granting organizations, their funding priorities, and what they need to see in your submission

Grant writing can be a challenge and we believe that understanding what funders are looking for and how they make their decisions can improve the success rates of applications. This series of interviews with funders, called “Green Lights for Grants” provides nonprofit organizations and community groups with information about a variety of funding programs and an inside view of the decision making process!

The idea behind the series of “Green Lights for Grants” interviews came about from discussions within the Public Engagement team supporting the Community Health Boards (PECHB) funding program. They recognized that requests from nonprofit groups for support through the Wellness Funds was much higher than money available so they decided to promote other sources of funds and to raise awareness of how to be successful in the application process. Working together with the Community Sector Council of Nova Scotia and the Acadia Entrepreneurship Center they are sharing these insightful interviews.

Watch the Interviews

Community Health Boards

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Interview with Aron Ashton

Manager for the Eastern Zone, representing the Public Engagement Team supporting Community Health Boards

Nova Scotia’s 37 Community Health Boards (CHBs) are made up of dedicated volunteers who help support many health-based community projects and partnerships across the province. Their grants directly finance projects focused on health promotion and the social determinants of health. We sat down with Aron Ashton, Eastern Zone Manager for PECHB program, to dig a bit deeper. Listen in as Aron talks about the Nova Scotia Health’s vision and mission (01:30), CHB’s funding programs (05:44), and how CHBs define community health (08:51). Aron also discusses the importance of partnerships for would-be applicants (12:35), the things CHBs love to see – and not see – in applications (14:18), and what community groups can be doing on a day-to-day basis to better prepare themselves to work with the CHBs (23:26). As population health challenges continue to mount in Nova Scotia, join us and get to know Aron and the work of his colleagues across the province.

Community Foundation of Nova Scotia


Interview with Emma Cruddas

Program Manager, Community Foundation of Nova Scotia

Emma Cruddas is a Program Manager with the Community Foundation of Nova Scotia (CFNS), and she was happy to join the interview series to tell us all about the Foundation and its work. Listen in as Emma talks about the Foundation’s vision and origin (00:45) and some of its most notable funds (02:30), including the Levenhurst Foundation and the Green Shield Canada Impact Fund. She goes on to describe the evolving nature of how we define ‘community’ (06:50), and what CFNS loves to see (10:37) and doesn’t love to see (15:06) when reviewing proposal submissions. Later in the interview, Emma underlines the importance of applicants having support from multiple stakeholders (23:33) and how the Foundation has a very open door policy for curious would-be applicants (26:33). Join us for this insightful interview and learn how CFNS can help you and your community.

Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia


Interview with Jill Chappell

Marketing & Communications Lead, Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia

COVID-19 has had a profound effect on many areas of society, but according to Jill Chappell (Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia), the demand for mental health support is at an all-time high. In this interview, Jill tells us about the Foundation’s work and grants (00:56) who can apply for financial support through the Foundation (09:33) and how the Foundation defines mental health (11:05). She reminds us that “there’s nothing more powerful than a story” as she explains what the Foundation loves to see in applications (15:27), and about the need to demonstrate an impact (23:00). Finally, she tells us how the community has stepped up to support the Foundation’s important work during COVID-19, sharing anecdotes about The Stanfields and small businesses like Ana and Zac (28:00). Listen in as we get to know Jill and the funding opportunities available through the Foundation.

United Way Halifax


Interview with Karen Gilmore

Community Sector & Investment Specialist, United Way Halifax

According to Karen Gilmore, “the United Way is well known but not known well”, and in this interview, she tells us all about United Way Halifax and its important ongoing work. We learn about UWH’s vision (01:10), and how it has come to focus on poverty reduction as its central goal (04:01). While multi-year funding is a staple of UWH’s work, she also tells us how the newly formed (and COVID-responsive) Atlantic Compassion Fund came to be (10:16), and how UWH really loves to hear a good impact story from applicants (15:40). She goes on to explain (23:30) that while United Way does have specific funding criteria, they are very open minded and that, “it’s not just about how we can make a life better today, but how we can make a life better.” Finally, Karen reminds us (33:07) that UWH is not just a donor, but also a recipient, and that the organization relies on the continued generosity of people and businesses to do their important work. Join us and bring yourself up to speed on this incredible century-old organization, and its work in 2020 and beyond.