Catalyst and Transformation (CAT) Fund

Catalyst and Transformation (CAT) Fund

Catalyst and Transformation FUND

This program is made possible through the support of the City of Toronto,  the Metcalf Foundation, the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Ontario Arts Council.  

The Catalyst and Transformation (CAT) Fund is a capacity-building program for creative sector organizations seeking support for substantive restructuring, mergers, structured partnerships, hibernations, and wind-downs. 

Administered by: Work in Culture

Program Overview 

Applications are now closed as funds have been fully allocated. Please stay tuned for future updates on the CAT Fund. 

As we emerge from the pandemic, many organizations in Toronto’s creative sector are facing difficult questions about relevancy, and how to rebuild, restructure or transform themselves.  COVID has hugely impacted society, and of course the arts, culture and creative community. Calls for change have come from both inside and outside the cultural sector as we reckon with climate change, confront truths in the country’s brutal relationship with Indigenous communities, and recognize the systemic racism facing Black and other racialized communities. Board members and organizational leaders may be exploring some very hard questions about the financial viability of organizations over the long term and the actual demand for the programs and services provided. We know that some are looking at strategic partnerships both within and without the creative community, restructuring, exploring new business models, mergers and even wind-downs — all of which may need expert input to ensure appropriate handling of artistic contributions and assets that might benefit the arts ecosystem. 

*Please note: Strategic partnership does not mean one-time projects or collaborations but partnerships that shift the operating models and structures of the organizations involved. 

This program is designed to catalyze and assist Toronto-based non-profit organizations and small creative industry companies in exploring their options in a confidential environment. The program will include support for accessing expert help (e.g., lawyers, accountants, HR specialists, business consultants, etc.) as well as support for implementing transformational decisions such as sharing space and resources, mergers with other organizations, or wind-downs.  The grant will focus on support during two distinct phases of organizational change from initial exploration of options, including accessing expert input, to moving forward to implementing a chosen direction. Applicants can apply and receive support for each phase dependent on the outcomes and decisions at the end of the previous phase. The funding provided can cover almost any expense related to structural change with some exceptions as noted in the Guidelines. Work in Culture will have final say on eligible expenses. 

Administered by Work in Culture, and funded by the George Cedric Metcalf Foundation, the City of Toronto, the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Ontario Arts Council. 

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible, organizations must be Toronto based (have an M postal code), have been incorporated for at least three years, and have revenues of no more than $2 million for the year ending in 2019. 

Some of the eligibility criteria differ from funder to funder:

  • The Metcalf Foundation will fund registered charities;
  • The City of Toronto will fund non-profit organizations and small for-profit arts and culture companies; 
  • The Canada Council for the Arts will fund non-profit organizations, which may also be registered charities. A condition of Canada Council funding is that project details will be shared by WorkInCulture with the CCA for auditing and program evaluation purposes. The CCA may contact recipients of its funding directly to invite them to participate in program evaluation activities.  In addition, successful applicants funded through CCA’s contribution must publicly acknowledge the financial support received from CCA through its Fund, including the CCA logo, in all communications materials and promotional activities. 

Application Process

Applications will be reviewed by Work in Culture’s leadership team as they are submitted, starting in December 2021 and on an ongoing basis until the funds are fully allocated. 

UPDATE (January 2024): Applications are now closed, as funds have been fully allocated. Please stay tuned for future updates on the CAT Fund.

If you are interested in applying, please start by sending an email with an expression of interest to Karen Ennis at [email protected], Work in Culture’s General Manager and Fund Administrator, who will explore with you whether the fund can support your organization through one or both of the program phases outlined. 

If the program proves suitable for your needs and your organization decides to apply, you will be sent an application form to fill in and return. 

Work in Culture EDI Policy: 
Work in Culture is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion based on community best practices and self-reflection. We will continuously improve and implement strategies, policies, and practices through an ongoing process of evaluation and change.  

Application Accessibility Support for Deaf persons or persons with disabilities
Applicants who are Deaf or have a disability and need support to complete their grant applications can apply for funds to cover the costs of assistance. Up to $500 is available per eligible applicant to apply for each phase of the grant. Please contact the Fund Administrator for further information. 


For inquiries please contact:  [email protected]