Do you have a great idea for an activity at U of T but need money to make it happen? The Student Initiative Fund (SIF) offers financial support for projects that enhance the student experience and foster a sense of community at the University. Your project could be eligible for up to $3000 in funding.
Examples of past projects include:
- Art and Mindfulness Exhibition
- Brunch for Breast Health
- How to be a Good Ally Workshop
- Beyond the Brain: A Multi-Disciplinary Conference on Neurodegeneration
Black Student Engagement Fund
The Black Student Engagement Fund (BSE Fund) offers financial support to Black student groups and individuals to support the experience of Black students and foster community amongst Black students across the St. George campus.
About the SIF Committee
The SIF Committee is made up of six students from U of T, two staff members, one non-voting chair and one non-voting secretary.
Committee members are required to stay on for a full year (fall, winter and spring semester of one year). Members will be expected to review all applications on their own time after the application deadline then attend a 2-hour voting meeting soon after to discuss and vote on which initiatives should receive funding.
Benefits to committee members:
- Gain experience reviewing and voting on funding processes.
- Meet other like-minded students.
- Receive CCR recognition.
- Develop connections with Student Engagement staff.
- Free snacks for in person meetings!
SIF Committee applications are now closed for the 2023-24 year.
U of T students and/or student groups from the St. George campus are eligible to submit a funding proposal to SIF. Students from UTM and UTSC are not eligible to apply. Read the SIF Guiding Principles and Terms of Reference (PDF) to ensure your eligibility. At least the primary or secondary contact for the application must currently be enrolled in courses during the semester in which the application is submitted.
How The Program Works
The Student Initiative Fund (SIF) is a reimbursement-based funding program. You must be a current student in the semester you are applying to have a SIF-funded event in.
Funding schedule and deadlines
Funds will be allocated in the fall, winter and summer terms. In your application, be sure to identify which funding term you are applying for. Your initiative should take place in the season identified in your application.
- Apply: September 25 – October 6, 2023
- Events: October 1, 2023 – January 31, 2024
- Apply: January 8 – 19, 2024
- Events: February 1 – April 30, 2024
- Apply: April 22 – May 1, 2024
- Events: May 1 – September 30, 2024
There are two tiers of funding, depending on the amount requested from SIF. A group or individual can only apply for one (1) event per tier each year.
Simple events or initiatives
Tier 1 funding is available for small-scale or simple initiatives that require funds up to $499 CAD for venue and food related expenses. Examples include snacks (with plates, napkins etc.) for an open mic night, a meet & greet session, supplies for a “mocktail” event or a room booking or audio and visual (A/V) fee.
Groups and individuals can only receive Tier 1 funding once in a given year. Receiving Tier 1 funding does not prohibit groups and individuals from receiving Tier 2 in the same SIF year.
Tier 2 funding is available for initiatives that require funds from $500 – $3000 CAD to enhance the student experience and foster a sense of community on St. George campus. Examples include an alumni night, an art exhibition, a workshop or speaker series, a themed conference or a cultural event for students.
Groups and individuals can only receive Tier 2 funding once in a given year.
- Before you apply, be sure that you and your project partners read and fully understand the SIF Guiding Principles and Terms of Reference (PDF).
- It is important to be clear about the total amount in the budget section of the application. SIF will approve, at most, one Tier 1 and one Tier 2 per independent individual or group per academic year.
- It is the responsibility of the primary and secondary contacts listed on your application to be reachable throughout the SIF process, including the submission of the Post-Initiative Report. SIF will only communicate with the listed contacts.
- Log onto the Student Initiative Fund Portal with your UTORid to apply. Only current students at the St. George campus will be able to enter the platform and successfully apply. Once logged in, press the “New SIF Application” button, and be sure to save your application once complete for it to be submitted.
Applications are closed for fall 2023. Applications for the winter 2024 term open on January 8, 2024.
After you submit your application
- Applications are reviewed by the SIF Committee after the funding term deadline has passed.
- Applicants are contacted by email. This process usually takes three weeks. The Committee’s decisions are final.
- When your initiative is finished, you must complete and submit the SIF Post-Initiative Report Form (PDF) to receive all of your allotted funds.
Please note: If you update your application’s budget within the SIF Application Portal while the SIF Committee is reviewing, or there is a change to your budget while preparing for your initiative, it is your responsibility to email firstname.lastname@example.org to make note of that change so that it can be accurately reflected.
Record-keeping and completing post-initiative report
Keep a clear record of where you are spending funds and keep all original itemized receipts. Any changes to your proposed budget should be approved prior to spending funds on non-approved expenses. Contact email@example.com for any budget changes that occur throughout the process.
Download: SIF Post-Initiative Report Form (PDF)
IMPORTANT NOTE: Be aware that failure to submit a complete post-initiative report will result in the project applicant being personally responsible for the project costs.
Please email a complete SIF Post-Initiative Report Form with original itemized receipts and proof of payment to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pre-project and post-project funds
You can request up to 40% of your approved funding (based on amount SIF Committee allocated) BEFORE the project starts, based on the projected budget included in your approved application. It takes a minimum of 35 days for advancement cheques to be processed once the request is received.
To receive all/the remainder of your allotted funds at THE END of your project, you must submit your SIF Post-Initiative Report, original receipts and proof of payment within one month of your project’s end date. After the Post-Initiative Report is received, the balance of funds will be released. This will also take a minimum of 35 days to process.
Considerations & Exceptions
Allocating funds to facilitators or participants who assist with your initiative can take three forms:
- awarded through success in a contest
- can be won by participants
- maximum of $100 per person (subject to pre-approval) and $100 per initiative
- cannot be cash
- recipient must sign a declaration (PDF) acknowledging receipt of the prize
- symbol of gratitude for assistance with an initiative, not won
- does not require an invoice
- maximum of $100 per person (subject to pre-approval)
- can be cash
- recipient must sign a declaration (PDF) acknowledging receipt of the honorarium
Fees for services
- paid via invoice for a service provided to initiative
- invoice required, upon payment must show that fee was paid
- can be greater than $100 (subject to pre-approval)
- can be cash
Proposals will not be funded if they:
- are for the purpose of fundraising
- are held outside of U of T (e.g. an application submitted by a U of T St. George student on behalf of their external community-based organization)
- involve personal expenses (e.g. SIF funding cannot be used for flights. Funding can be used for local GTA travel up to $100 and gifts/honoraria up to $100.)
- include alcohol-related expenses
- are capital in nature, unless the capital is used for the formation of a new student club
- are for general operating expenses of student clubs or organizations (SIF is intended for projects/events/activities and not business cards, apparel, or compensation for event organizers.)
- are from an applicant who has NOT submitted the post-project reports for any previous SIF-funded project
- exclude any student or student group from participation
- require event planning and risk management practices, and these have not been addressed
We encourage you to seek additional funding, if needed. Here are possible sources: