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Investing in emerging connections

** This program is currently closed to new applications **

We are looking for teams and individuals who are:

  • Engaged in community-grounded projects that tackle inequity, injustice and unsustainability;
  • Committed to learning and working towards social change;
  • Interested in building partnerships with Concordia and other relevant stakeholders.

Program overview

The Gateway Program is SHIFT's most accessible funding program designed as an entry point for teams who wish to join our Learning Community (LC) and deepen their connection with Concordia University and SHIFT's larger ecosystem.

This program is intended for teams, organizations or individuals who are working on community-driven projects that are aligned with SHIFT’s mission and values. Successful applicants receive up to $5,000 to support their work.


The objective of the Gateway Program is to help participants develop the socially transformative potential of their work.

Applicants commit to joining the Horizons Learning Journey and the SHIFT Learning Community, and to leveraging SHIFT's support towards exploring potential connections within Concordia University, or to access coaching support from SHIFT's existing project teams.

Horizons Learning Journey

Gateway projects join the Horizons Learning Journey, a peer learning program, with four meetings per year.

  • Two meetings will be a Peer Learning Session, wherein Gateway participants are paired with an already- existing SHIFT project team doing similar work, for mutual mentorship and coaching.
  • Two meetings during the year will be with the entire Gateway Program 2022-2023 Cohort, to share project progress and to open a space for shared learning.

Key details

  • While a Concordia connection and a multi-stakeholder team are not required to join the Gateway Program, participants must have an interest in expanding these elements of their projects with SHIFT’s support.
  • Gateway Program participants must be interested in becoming engaged members of the SHIFT Learning Community
  • The Gateway Program will be awarding funding to 5 projects. Successful applicants will receive a grant of $5,000 to support their socially transformative work.
  • All eligible projects will be assessed through our participatory selection process and funding will be awarded to the projects that are most aligned with the selection criteria.
  • The deadline for submiting an application is Sunday, February 26, 2023. 

Value exchange

In-kind support (What does SHIFT offer?)

Each funded project has the opportunity to work with their SHIFT point person to co-create a tailored in-kind support plan that suits their needs.

The SHIFT Learning Community

Our Learning Community is composed of the members of existing and newly SHIFT-funded project teams. The SHIFT Learning Community is unique in its commitment to:

  • Drive work within respective neighbourhood, community, or institution towards justice, equity, and sustainability;
  • Learn from others about how to increase the socially transformative impact of their work;
  • Contribute to collective learning about how community-scale initiatives can bring about systems-level change.

Being part of the SHIFT Learning Community brings many benefits, including:

  • Connections with other socially transformative projects
  • Promotional support via SHIFT communications channels
  • Access to one paid Concordia student intern per term (pending student interest)
  • Project development coaching, troubleshooting and feedback
  • Links to Concordia student and alumni volunteers for punctual engagements
  • Relevant introductions across the SHIFT ecosystem
  • Other customized support to be discussed as needs/opportunities arise

Project commitments (What does SHIFT expect?)

In the spirit of collaboration and reciprocity, and in lieu of traditional reporting requirements, we ask the teams we support to contribute to the vibrancy of the SHIFT community. Our goal is for this value exchange to be light, useful and relevant to the trajectory of each project.

SHIFT will ask projects funded through the Gateway Program to commit to the following:


  • Complete the project as described 
  • Attend at least two meetings with SHIFT staff during your project to discuss progress, additional needs, etc.
  • Provide a high-quality photo of your project in action with permission to use it in SHIFT materials
  • Submit three bullet points describing your key learnings from this project
  • Share one output from your project with members of the SHIFT community (e.g., research finding, copy of project plan, information pamphlet, etc.)

Community engagement

  • Participate actively in Horizons Learning Journey meetings: quarterly meetings with their peer learning partner, and two meetings in the year with the 2022-2023 Gateway Program Cohort.
  • Attend at least one networking event with other SHIFT funded projects.
  • Participate in SHIFT’s own evaluation and assessment (if requested).

Application process

The application deadline for the Gateway Program is Sunday, February 26, 2023.


  • Complete this simple Self-Assessment form (Optional)
    • Interested applicants are highly recommended to complete their self-assessment at least two weeks before each cut⁠-⁠off date to facilitate the process.
    • Determine whether your project is a good fit for the SHIFT Gateway Program by answering a few ‘yes & no’ questions.
  • Meet with SHIFT Staff
    • Once you’ve completed the self-assessment, meet with a SHIFT staff member to learn more about the Gateway program and the Learning Community, and to help you finalize your application.

  • All applicants are required to complete an online application form.
  • Applicants who prefer to submit their responses orally may request an additional meeting with SHIFT staff who will record their answers.
  • After each cut-off date, an independent Selection Jury will review all eligible applications against SHIFT’s selection criteria and award $5,000 to the five projects that are most aligned.

Please note: There is no interview process in the Gateway Program. Funding decisions will be made based on applications only.

Support for applicants

Throughout the year, SHIFT holds a series of information sessions and workshops to help you with the application process. Also, at any time you can consult the resources below or book an appointment to meet with a staff member.

Available resources




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