The Underrepresented Initiatives Program aims to empower underrepresented communities within the Edmonton region, fostering inclusivity and diversity within the screen industries. The ESIO is looking to partner with organizations whose mandate is to work with and elevate individuals from underrepresented communities. This program is open to non-profit organizations who are seeking funding for an initiative that helps to increase representation in the screen industries. Funding may include new initiatives, one-time initiatives, initiative expansions, and community events. The initiatives funded through this program must align to at least one of the following goals:
  • increase the number of Edmonton producers from underrepresented communities
  • increase the diversity of the Edmonton screen industries as a whole in order to develop a broader talent pipeline that fully represents the population
  • increase the skill level, exposure, and experience of individuals from underrepresented communities working in the Edmonton screen industries
Organizations may receive a grant of up to $50,000 for an initiative. The organization must contribute an amount equal to or exceeding the grant from ESIO. This contribution may be cash or in-kind goods and services.


Edmonton refers to the Edmonton Metropolitan Region and is defined as the Cities of Edmonton, Fort Saskatchewan, Leduc, Spruce Grove, and St. Albert, the Towns of Beaumont, Stony Plain, Devon, Morinville, the Hamlet of Sherwood Park and Leduc County, Parkland County, Sturgeon County, and Strathcona County. Individuals from underrepresented communities are defined as those who identify as women, 2SLGBTQIA+, BIPOC, or a person with a disability.

Eligible Organizations

Organizations must have a focus on equity, diversity and inclusion within the screen industries. Organizations must be either:
  • a First Nation or Metis Settlement in Alberta; or,
  • registered and operating in Alberta for a minimum of 6 months and in good standing with the following Acts:
    • Societies Act of Alberta
    • Companies Act, Part 9 (non-profit companies)
    • Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act and must be registered in Alberta under the Business Corporations Act
    • Income Tax Act of Canada and operating in the Province of Alberta as a Charity
Other organizations may be considered.  Please contact [email protected] to discuss eligibility before applying.

Ineligible Organizations

  • Municipalities
  • For-profit organizations
  • Any other organizations not registered under the Acts mentioned in the Eligible Organizations section
  • Organizations not in good standing with the City of Edmonton or ESIO
  • Individuals
  • Organizations that have received an Underrepresented Initiatives Program grant commitment in the current calendar year

Eligible Initiatives

  • Initiatives must directly impact individuals from underrepresented communities.
  • Initiatives may include new initiatives, one-time initiatives, initiatives expansions, and community events.
  • Examples of eligible initiatives include education, mentorship and on-the-job training.

Ineligible Initiatives

  • Ongoing initiatives without a start/end date
  • Initiatives lacking an educational and/or training component
  • Initiatives with an end date exceeding 1 year of grant approval
  • Initiatives to fund operational costs of the organization

Eligible Costs

  • Initiative-specific costs, such as:
    • marketing and communications
    • contracted services (keynote speakers, mentors for participants)
    • equipment, materials, supplies (including hardware and software) used by participants
    • travel
    • use of personal vehicle (based on Canada Revenue Agency’s mileage rate)
    • hospitality (maximum of $40 per day per attendee)
    • venue rental
    • wages for staff who are fully dedicated to the initiative
    • wages for staff not fully dedicated to the initiative (in-kind, maximum of $40 per hour)
    • volunteer costs (in-kind, maximum of $40 per hour)
    • grants or stipends to participants (maximum of $5,000 per participant)
  • General overhead (maximum of 5% of the total project budget or $5,000 whichever is less)

Ineligible Costs

  • Time and labour provided towards preparation of funding applications, board/committee planning meetings, fundraising (including costs for fundraising campaigns), and websites for fundraising purposes
  • Endowments, charitable donations, bursaries, gifts, developing a business case or funding proposal, donor recognition/walls, and expenditures for or time and labour provided towards ground-breaking, grand opening, and other ceremonial events
  • Grants to other organizations
  • Activities for which the applicant has already received funding or a commitment for funding from the ESIO
  • Costs related to personal vehicle use (except mileage)
  • Fines, penalties, and contingency costs
  • Deposits on goods and services
  • Alcohol, controlled substances, illegal products, or activities
  • Prepaid cards
  • Portion of GST recoverable from the Canada Revenue Agency
  • Costs incurred prior to grant approval

Assessment Criteria

The following general criteria will be used to assess funding requests:
  • Alignment to Underrepresented Initiatives Program goals
  • Organization’s capacity, project viability, financial feasibility and project impacts
  • Other criteria may also be considered
Due to limited funds and demand for funding, not all requests that meet the established criteria will be approved for funding.  Requests may receive full, reduced or no funding for the initiative.


Organizations must submit a separate application form for each initiative. Organizations may indicate a priority order for multiple submissions; however, applications that best meet the criteria may be chosen over the applicants’ priority choices.


If you have any questions or concerns about the program, eligibility, or the application process, please contact [email protected].