The Tontine Award is a free-spirited initiative that was created to support:

  1. Creative expression – including literature, film, dance, theatre, visual art, music, cooking, fashion, and any other form of creative expression.

  2. Women*

  3. Community – successful projects will have some element of outreach or emphasis on building community (rather than personal/private consumption) 

  4. Ottawa-Gatineau region – projects should aim to contribute to the vibrancy of the local area; this means we are a bilingual initiative!

What’s in a name?

The new Tontine Award is inspired by women in francophone Africa who support themselves, their families and each other through micro-finance cooperatives known as “tontines.”

Why the Tontine Award?

  • To support local women* to explore their talents and express their creativity;

  • To showcase the diverse perspectives and contributions of local women and the multiplicity of their creative expression;

  • To contribute to a vibrant community that embraces the arts and encourages creative pursuits among its members

Why a micro-grant arts initiative that specifically supports women

Infusing a city with arts and creativity is good for both individuals and communities and contributes to overall innovation and well-being.  We want our community to hear the true diversity of women’s voices in Ottawa-Gatineau! We believe local women have unique contributions and experiences to share with – and enrich – our city.  By providing small grants to women who may or may not identify as ‘professional’ artists, we are also creating an avenue for supporting grassroots creativity that might not otherwise receive traditional sources of arts funding.

* We strongly encourage trans women, queer women, women of colour, women with disabilities, HIV + women, women of all ages, including young women, immigrant women, single mothers and people from marginalized genders to apply.



* Nous invitons les femmes de tous horizons, âges et couleurs à proposer des projets créatifs. Cela comprend les personnes transgenres et allosexuelles, les femmes immigrantes, les femmes handicapées, les femmes séropositives pour le VIH, de même que les mères seules.