Trico Foundation offers grants to Alberta based charitable organizations that engage in social entrepreneurship. In other words, they are using business models (the sale of a product or service) to address a “gap in society” (i.e. an imbalance of power consistently marginalizing one group or individual so as to cause exclusion, suffering, or dehumanization. For example, economic exclusion/poverty, social exclusion, challenges to good health or well-being, children and/or youth at risk, or the aged/seniors at risk).

Our funding has been designed for organizations that feel they know the next thing they need to learn in their social enterprise journey and have identified that they need funding to take that next step. Whether you call it experiments, tests, social R&D, or something else, the key is, “It is part of building a culture of curiosity throughout the social sector about what works, what doesn’t, and why or why not” (“THE FUTURE IS MADE, ENVIRONMENTAL SCAN 2019: Trends and Emerging Issues”, Prepared for Calgary Foundation by James Stauch, MRU Institute for Community Prosperity). For ease of reference, from now on we will use “testing”. A good example of the type of testing we are talking about (and the power of testing) is this short video about Owlet.

While it is important that organizations are clear on their vision for the ultimate impact they want to achieve and have a high-level plan for how to get there (we will even ask you about this), we are most excited by organizations that embrace the social entrepreneur’s mindset (learn more about the social entrepreneur’s mindset here) and have the ability to progress by way of testing – for example, using frugal testing to learn, pivot where needed, and to make progress – rather than simply ‘working to a plan’.  

The annual budget for A.S.E.S.S. funding is $250,000 with a maximum request of $25,000 per project. See the A.S.E.S.S. Funding page for details on requirements and what we are most excited by. These grants are meant to be a standalone– meaning the $25,000 is not meant to be used as part of a larger amount that you are seeking/ combined with other funds.  For example, say that you have identified that you need $100,000 to open a storefront:

- What you could not do: You could not combine the A.S.E.S.S. $25,000 with other funding to reach the target amount of $100,000; 

- What you could do: If an organization/ other funder that you were seeking the $100,000 from said they were tempted but would like to see “X” first, then you could use the up to $25,000 of A.S.E.S.S. to prove “X”;   

- What else you could do: If on your way to getting ready for the $100,000 there was some uncertainty or questions that you wanted to experiment on or resolve, and you could run that test with $25,000 or less, then A.S.E.S.S. funding would be a perfect fit.

If you are unsure of whether your proposed activity/ next step fits our funding parameters, the best thing to do is complete the below idea submission for our team to review.

Please note that this is the first stage in our review process, further details can be found on the A.S.E.S.S. Funding Page

Question Title

* 1. To confirm your organization is a qualified donee based in Alberta that serves Albertans, please list your Charitable Registration Number:

Question Title

* 2. What is the product or service you are selling?

Question Title

* 3. Who pays for your product or service?

Question Title

* 4. How does your product or service create social impact?

Question Title

* 5. Please select the relevant check boxes below that describe the 'gap in society' your social enterprise seeks to address (i.e. an imbalance of power consistently marginalizing one group or individual so as to cause exclusion, suffering, or dehumanization):

Question Title

* 6. What stage would you say your social enterprise is at:

Question Title

* 7. Once up and running (past piloting), what are its social and financial goals (please include timelines). For example, “social goal: annually create 20 jobs for economically excluded youth, financial goal: we wish to earn an annual profit of $100,000, timeline: five years”:

Question Title

* 8. What is the test you are seeking funding for? (Please include timelines and amount --reminder: the maximum amount for these grants is $25,000):

Question Title

* 9. Your Details

Please note that given the high volume of Idea Submissions we get, only Idea Submissions that we are moving forward with will hear from us. We also ask that you please refrain from contacting the Trico Foundation Team directly. Should you need to reach our team, please email us at If we see a potential match between your idea and our area of focus, you will hear from us within 10 business days.

Thank you, The Trico Foundation Team