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Hamilton Community Foundation has a goal to improve high school graduation rates and access to post-secondary, including the trades, by focusing efforts on Grades 6, 7, 8 and supporting the transition to high school.

We are doing this through an initiative called ABACUS.

What is ABACUS?
ABACUS is based on four pillars of successful intervention programs:

  • Academic upskilling: supports the educational success of students
  • Mentoring: provides counseling and encourages accountability
  • Goal-setting: creates and fosters career aspiration, and provides timely information at pivotal moments
  • Incentives: uses financial and motivational supports to encourage students throughout the program

ABACUS also recognizes the importance of parental engagement to post-secondary access. You can read more at

HCF has awarded grants to support initiatives that include extracurricular academic, recreational and arts programs, college and university campus visits, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programs such as coding and robotics clubs as well as programs that specifically support Aboriginal and newcomer students.

Focus on teacher projects
Recognizing the critical frontline role of teachers in improving the community’s ability to meet the needs of this student group, HCF initiated a small grants program for teachers in 2016/17.  Since then, we have been pleased to support a wide range of projects to enrich the learning of middle school age children. Hamilton Community Foundation is once again offering a small grants program for teachers serving this age group.

Who can apply? What kinds of projects will be considered?

  • Teachers from any of Hamilton’s publicly funded schools
  • Project must be for students in Grades 6, 7, 8, or for students during their transition to grade 9
  • Projects must focus on either:
    • Student achievement and work to address learning loss due to the pandemic
    • Student belonging and re-engagement in with their peers, their learning and their school community upon return to school during this wave of the pandemic

We are looking to support projects that align with the overall goal of the ABACUS initiative. For example:

  • Hosting a parent information session/dinner to provide information on student mental health/wellbeing and/or different career pathways
  • Buying supplies to give students the opportunity to “do science” in new ways that promise to increase their engagement with the subject matter and improve their learning
  • Field trips to help curriculum come alive
  • Creating a peer/volunteer tutoring centre in an unused quiet space in your school that provides a comfortable area conducive to learning and teaching
  • Innovative ways to bring technology into the classroom (e.g., virtual reality, 3D printers, robotics)

Please note: funds may not be used for salary costs.

Funding available
Grants range from $100 to $500. Grants will be limited to three per school per school year.

For the 2022-23 school year, there will be one call for proposals with an application deadline of October 14, 2022. Details to follow in early June.

If a grant is awarded, the funds will be sent to the Board of Education for distribution to your school. Successful applicants should contact their Board of Education for details regarding distribution of their funds.
You will be asked to submit a brief on-line written report at the end of the grant.

Complete and submit the on-line grant application, with required attachments, by 5pm Friday, October 14, 2022.

**Use Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox or Apple Safari to open the application**

Questions? Please email us at