TORONTO -- The Ontario government says it will invest $83 million to support Royal Canadian Legion branches, non-profit organizations and child and youth programs as the province reopens following months of shutdown due to COVID-19.

The money from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) will see grants of up to $150,000 awarded to organizations looking to deliver “vital programming” to their communities during the pandemic. 

Dubbed the “Resilient Communities Fund,” eligible non-profit organizations will be provided with support to navigate the impacts of COVID-19 such as organizational training, strategic planning, research and development as well as mental and physical health resources.

The government says the fund will also assist non-profit organizations in improving their ability to access and develop new and alternative sources of revenues, including developing fundraising plans and seeking public-private partnerships.

As well, the fund will allow for non-profits to adapt or reimagine the delivery of their programs and services to their communities as to adhere to the province’s public health restrictions. Additionally, the government says that organizations may be eligible for the procurement of equipment and renovations to respond to the “new challenges” created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Friends, I just love our Legion halls,” Ontario Premier Doug Ford told reports on Wednesday. “Not only do they lead us in honouring our heroes, but they do incredible work in our communities, educating our younger people , providing services to veterans and their families, and giving back to their communities in so many ways.”

Lisa MacLeod, minister of heritage, sport, tourism and culture industries was also on hand for the announcement and said the government acknowledges how difficult the COVID-19 pandemic has been for Ontario’s non-profits. 

“From loss of revenue as a result of canceled fundraisers to the disruption of services to community members, we know that the pandemic has made it difficult for the sector to continue operating,” MacLeod said. “That’s why we’re taking action to support initiatives like the Resilient Communities Fund that are making such a positive contribution to communities across Ontario during this time."

Organizations interested in applying for the fund can access eligibility requirement and application deadlines here