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Impact of Grants on First-Time Recipients

April 21, 2023

The Canada Council and Goss Gilroy Inc. conducted a research project on the impacts of grants on first-time recipients.

Research goal

This project aimed to describe the transformative and catalytic effects of a first-time grant, from immediate impacts on recipients to broader and longer-term community impacts.


Goss Gilroy held discussions with Canada Council staff and engaged 782 first-time recipients through a survey, and 81 recipients through focus groups and interviews.


Goss Gilroy concluded that: 

  • For many first-time recipients, a first Canada Council grant provides a sense of legitimacy and validation, increases confidence, brings greater financial security, and allows recipients to maintain or expand their practice. This is particularly important for recipients belonging to historically underserved and marginalized communities.
  • A first Canada Council grant can also allow recipients to connect with mentors, peers, collaborators, and other key stakeholders in their artistic community. Through their first Canada Council project, many recipients expanded their network, initiated new partnerships, and shared their knowledge, skills, and experiences with others.
  • Canada Council funded projects can be catalysts for the creation of new collectives and help organizations and groups define their vision, priorities, and approaches.
  • Funded projects also have a positive impact on communities by offering representation and professional opportunities for members of their communities; increasing the visibility of underrepresented communities and practices; supporting advocacy; encouraging intercultural dialogues and contributing to discussions of social issues.
  • Overall, first-time recipients were satisfied with their experience applying to the Canada Council. 
  • Participants suggested additional support to improve access for first-time applicants. This included improving access to Canada Council staff and enabling and supporting peer-to-peer mentorship for first-time applicants.

The Canada Council is integrating the findings from this research to guide its support for first-time applicants.


Please contact the Research, Measurement and Data Analytics Section at research@canadacouncil.ca.