On February 16, 2011 ArtReach Toronto hosted a Funder Speed Dating event at The Great Hall (1087 Queen Street West) in Toronto.
The event was an opportunity for youth to meet with grant staff from Toronto Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council, Laidlaw Foundation, Ontario Trillium Foundation, FACTOR, City of Toronto Identify ‘N Impact Fund and Toronto Enterprise Fund. The purpose of the event was to provide youth with funding information, resources and an opportunity for networking.
The event opened with a short krump dance performance by urban dance crew North Buck, and commenced with presentations from each funding organization. Staff from each organization talked about the types of funding they provide, eligibility/submission guidelines, general information on applying for grants, how proposals are evaluated, and what makes a grant ultimately successful.
Funder stations were set up with groups of approximately 8-10 youth and young artists at each. Every 10 minutes, the groups of youth moved to a new station where funders had an opportunity to describe their programs in more detail and answer quick questions. This activity gave youth a chance to meet face-to-face with Toronto funders and discuss how their ideas and projects could be supported further.
The event highlighted the critical need for funding to support youth and arts projects, and the ongoing need for capacity building supports as well as access to mentorship, space and production facilities. Those in attendance included a wide range of youth artists and creative leaders running arts projects across the city. Over 75 youth from across the City of Toronto attended the event, and many remarked that they found the event useful in that it not only provided ample information on granting opportunities, but provided an invaluable opportunity to meet other people working in the youth and arts sector. Overall a very successful event!