young grapes after fruit set

young grapes after fruit set

Frequently Asked Questions

Why the name Trellis?

A Trellis is a structure designed to support growing plants. The mission of Covenant Bible College was to equip men and women to live as disciples of Jesus Christ. CBC was often described as a greenhouse where disciples were grown and then transplanted back to their local church. As a foundation, Trellis will continue the ministry by being a support on which the work of discipleship can grow. Read more about our purpose and core values…

What does the foundation fund?

Trellis makes grants for discipleship initiatives to the Evangelical Covenant Church of Canada, its member churches, camps and affiliated ministries. Trellis also continues to make grants to the conference as a whole. See the stories of Trellis-funded work.  Read more about how to apply for a Discipleship Grant.

Who can apply for grants?

The ECCC, its member churches, camps and affiliated ministries may apply for discipleship grants. In accordance with Canadian law for public foundations, Trellis Foundation provides grants to qualified donees who are registered Canadian charitable organizations. Click here to read more about our funding criteria.

Trellis funds the CBC Legacy Scholarship program for students pursuing discipleship education, administered through the ECCC. To apply for a CBC Legacy Scholarship, click here to visit

How can pastors promote the work of Trellis?

We are so glad you asked! We would love your help in spreading an understanding and knowledge of Trellis Foundation in your congregations and ministries.

  • Please encourage folks to sign up to be on our email list by clicking this button here or subscribe on our Keep In Touch pageSIGN UP FOR STORIES & PRAYER UPDATES BY EMAIL
  • ‘Like’ us on Facebook and invite your congregations to do so.
  • Consider making a personal or congregational contribution to the Trellis Fund on our giving page. As we grow the Fund, there will be more funds to disperse each year.
  • Continue making applications and giving us feedback so that we can partner with one another in the work God has so graciously called us to.

How are decisions made regarding who receives grants?

The applications are evaluated using a systematic approach or ‘rubric’ created based on Trellis Foundation values and priorities. You can check it out on our funding criteria page. In our research, a number of other organizations use this type of system. The number of applications, the amounts requested and the amounts available also effect these decisions. Since our year end is May 31, our first granting cycle of each year is in November. Remaining funds are distributed in the following March. In 2015-2016, the 3.5% disbursement amount equaled $55,093.31. The block grant to the ECCC was $20,000, the two multi year projects we had commitments to took another $11,000. This left $24,093 to various grant applications. We disbursed $14,810 of that in our November, 2016 grant cycle. That left $9,283 to be made available for the March 2016 grant cycle.

What does ‘innovation’ mean as a value of Trellis Foundation?

We value innovative ministry that addresses the heart of needs in our world, the growing edges of our society, and reflects creativity within the context of a specific church or ministry community. The question we ask in our evaluation process is: Does this proposal open up the doors for fresh winds of the Spirit in this context? Innovation does not mean the initiative has never been tried before. How does your idea bring something new to your context? What key additions can you make to existing ministry efforts that will make them that much more effective?

Is investment all about the $$$?

What we are looking for is strong buy in, support and investment from the local community. This would mean more than the one person who is applying is supportive and on board with the project. We are looking for longevity and sustainability. All of this is about much more than money. At the same time, money is often a strong indication of investment and commitment. Financial investment is considered in context rather than evaluated by a dollar amount.

Why is the application so much work?

We are simply doing what Foundations do. In order for us to effectively evaluate your application we need enough information to understand it well and see how it matches with the values of the Trellis Foundation. Even if the application is for a smaller amount, we still need to discern well. We are not looking for fancy explanations but rather clear, concise, and convincing applications. We have some good examples on our website. One of these applicants shared that it was an hour of solid writing.

How many churches or ministries make applications and who are they? How much is dispersed?

Every year we distribute the government mandated 3.5% of the Fund to qualified donees. Every Canadian Covenant organization with a charitable status is a qualified donee. We have dispersed $151,435 since the spring of 2014. This includes 15 organizations. (Some have applied twice.) The grants have ranged in amounts of $500 to $15,000. For a full list of donees, check out our Stories page. In addition to these specific donees, we also approved a block grant of $20,000 each year (from 2014-2016) to the ECCC. These funds go to various discipleship initiatives happening among the ECCC churches and camps. From 2017 to 2020, this block grant will equal roughly 30% of the dispersed funds each year. This is administered through the conference office. CBC Bursary Scholarships are also dispersed through the conference office and they total around $5,000 each year.

Does Trellis Foundation support ongoing and continuing projects?

Currently we are funding two multi-year projects. Because funds are limited, we do not want to reserve a significant amount to any one particular organization indefinitely. However, this is evaluated on a case by case basis rather than a policy. Our hope is that the Fund will grow through giving. This would mean more money is available for granting each year in perpetuity.

“I don’t think this applies to my ministry…”

You never know! You are always welcome to send us an email to get a sense of whether your idea might work with Trellis granting criteria: office(at)

To whom is Trellis Foundation accountable?

Trellis Foundation functions as a separate entity because Covenant Bible College was a separate entity. However, our accountability to the wider community is through the appointment (and removal!) of board members by the ECCC Leadership Board. All of our documents have been vetted through a legal process.

How much money is in the Trellis Fund? How is the Trellis Fund invested & managed?

The funds resulting from the sale of CBC properties have been consolidated from US and Canadian accounts into financial investments equaling $1.73 million. The Trellis Fund is held and managed by a reputable asset management firm based in Calgary, AB, We also have a financial advisor who assists us in navigating this responsibility.

The Trellis Fund consists of two pools. One pool (about $1.68 million in 2014) is invested with QV Investors. Rates of return as of December 31, 2016 are as follows: 1 year performance is 10.5%, 2 year annualized performance is 5.8%. Performance since inception = 5.5%, with a value on December 31, 2016 of $1,755,027. These performance metrics are net of QV management fees.

The other pool is the endowment fund (roughly $146,900) which was carried over from CBC’s assets. These are externally restricted funds that are invested through Covenant Loans and Investments and are only used for scholarships and bursaries for students attending discipleship programs.

In addition to meeting debt and operating obligations at the time of closure, Covenant Bible College also returned institutional investments that had been made to the ministry over the years. Beneficiaries of these repayments included Covenant World Mission and the Centre for World Christian Studies, The Midwest Conference of the Evangelical Covenant Church and the Department of Spiritual Formation of the Evangelical Covenant Church.

What kind of communication and reporting is made regarding the finances of Trellis Foundation? 

Our financial reports are available to the public on the (legally listed under Covenant Bible College). We are planning to have a summary snap shot of income and expenses available on our website. For establishing this Foundation we have had significant and required legal and accounting costs but are starting to see how the regular operations are working out. Our goal is to have less than 10% administration costs.

Why did it take so long to close the college and start the foundation?

CBC closed its doors in 2007, however it took several years to wind up the legal side of selling property, and obtaining government approval to close. The Canadian charity of CBC was dependant on the Colorado and Ecuador campuses for closure.

What about grants to Covenant Church ministries in the USA? Weren’t there US donors to CBC?

Canada Revenue Agency law prevents Trellis from making grants outside of Canada. While there were US donors to CBC, the large majority of support came from Canadians. However, before the assets of CBC-MidWest were transferred to Canada, donations were made to the MidWest conference, the Evangelical Covenant Church (USA), and North Park University. Funds from the sale of the Ecuador campus went in part to the Department of World Mission at the ECC, from which a sizeable gift was made to help launch the Center for World Christian Studies at North Park Theological Seminary. Read more about the ECC at…


Apply for a Discipleship Grant…


Read stories about discipleship initiatives funded by Trellis…

Make a donation & join us to catalyze discipleship…


Read about our partnership with the ECCC…