Why Making Trees Count?

Program Goal and Objectives

Making Trees Count grants help people plant and care for trees on private land, thus contributing to the Every Trees Counts campaign’s goal of reaching 40% tree canopy for Toronto.

The key objectives of the program are:

  • increase native tree and shrub planting on privately-owned land
  • support tree care activities
  • support inclusive community engagement (such as diverse communities and neighbourhoods with less trees)
  • build community capacity, knowledge sharing, partnerships and networks
  • facilitate community-driven, locally-owned tree stewardship efforts

Be Part of the Movement to Grow Toronto’s Tree Canopy.

With this program, Toronto communities can become active partners in growing our city’s tree canopy. Planting trees together creates opportunities to build civic engagement and foster a sense of neighbourhood pride. Local, community-led projects support capacity building and provide local environmental and health benefits while strengthening community connections to nature.

Who Can Apply?

Organizations and groups interested in leading native tree planting and tree care efforts on private land while expanding their partnerships, reach, and inclusiveness are encouraged to apply. Applications are eligible as long as one of the applicants or partners is a registered charity or a qualified donee. See below for tips on creating a trusteeship with a registered charity.

Why do we need a registered charity as a trustee? The Toronto Parks and Trees Foundation is a Public Foundation. As a result, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) requires that the Foundation make grants or distributions only to registered charities or qualified donees. Under the Income Tax Act, qualified donees are organizations that can issue official donation receipts for gifts they receive from individuals and corporations. Registered charities can also make gifts to them.

Tips for creating a trusteeship with a registered charity

A non-profit organization that is not a registered charity wishing to apply for funding may consider a trusteeship with a registered charity. The charity would receive the funds for the proposed project. The CRA requires this relationship to be set out in writing, signed by the charity and the non-profit organization.

Terms of the agreement should include, at a minimum:

  1. Name of the project proposed
  2. Charitable number of the trustee organization
  3. Confirmation that the trustee is responsible for ensuring the project is completed
  4. Confirmation that the trustee is responsible for distribution of funds as the project proceeds; and
  5. Confirmation that the trustee is responsible and accountable to the Toronto Parks and Trees Foundation for performance of the non-profit organization’s implementation of the project

Eligible Funding

Minimum grants awarded are $10,000. While there is no grant maximum, we request that you contact us to discuss projects over $100,000. Only projects involving private land within the City of Toronto are eligible. Projects must identify sources of matching funding (potential sources and in-kind support are eligible). Projects must be completed within one year of receipt of funding and also demonstrate how efforts will be sustained after the project ends.

Grants can cover:

  • Staff costs associated with planning and delivering the project
  • Tree purchase and delivery
  • Site preparation
  • Tree planting and stewardship equipment
  • Outreach materials development and distribution
  • Website development specific to the project
  • Staff and volunteer training and travel for outreach and events
  • Space rentals, permits and food for events
  • Translation of outreach materials as well as event interpretation/sign-language (if not done by volunteers)

Not eligible for funding:

  • Purchase of land
  • Tree planting on public land
  • Purchase of non-native or invasive species (Note: no ash species allowed)
  • Advocacy and research
  • Projects with planting occurring outside the City of Toronto
  • General fundraising campaigns
  • Travel unrelated to outreach, events, tree purchase and delivery
  • Purchase of alcohol

The Application Process

There will be an annual call for applications. Interested applicants are encouraged to contact Toronto Parks and Trees Foundation in advance to discuss their proposal. Applying for grants is a two-step process.

Step One - Letter of Interest

Interested organizations must first submit a Letter of Interest to the Foundation. This letter should provide a brief overview of the project and how it addresses the key objectives of the grant program, potential partnerships, project timeframe, an estimated total budget and the amount being requested. The letter must not exceed four pages including images, maps and budget and it must provide the key contact's name, title, email address and day-time phone number.

The Grant Review Committee will review Letters of Interest. The committee will make final decisions on projects to be invited to proceed to the second round. The Committee reserves the right to accept or decline proposals based upon their review. The Foundation will notify organizations chosen to proceed to the second round.

Step Two - Full Application

Applicants that are successful in the first round will be invited to submit a detailed application for one-year grants. This is not a guarantee of funding. Full applications must include the following:

  • Background on the applicant and description of experience in tree planting and tree stewardship, environmental and/or community engagement initiatives
  • Project overview
  • Project partners and roles
  • Description of how the project addresses the program objectives
  • A detailed project workplan including plan to ensure adherence to best practices for tree planting.
  • A detailed project budget, including matching funding (partnership funding, potential sources and in-kind contributions)
  • Tree care and follow-up plan
  • Promotion and recognition opportunities for the City of Toronto

Full applications can be no more than 8 pages including images, maps and budget.

All applications must also submit:

  • An application cover page
  • List of current board members
  • The organization’s current year operating budget
  • A copy of the organization’s most recent audited financial statement
  • Letters of support from named partners
  • Trustee agreement, if applicable

Application Assessment


Application Deadlines


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