City considers expanding grant program to help more non-profit community groups

City council is looking at expanding the city’s grant-in-aid program to deal with an increasing number of funding requests

City council is looking at expanding the city’s grant-in-aid program to deal with an increasing number of funding requests from community groups.

The Community Partnership Committee, which is tasked with accepting or denying funding requests from arts and culture groups in order to deliver services or put on major events, has been inundated with applications in the last couple of years.

Barry Watchorn, chair of the Community Partnership Committee, said the city is unfortunately not in a position to accommodate all of the groups that ask for money.

“The committee has received an increasing number of grant applications from social service organizations which have lost senior government funding,” Watchorn said.

“If the city were to begin funding these organizations it could well be flooded with applications which could impact its ability to support current ‘category one’ organizations such as the museum, theatre and art gallery.”

Those category one functions are given core operating assistance and include the Museum at Campbell River, the Tidemark Theatre, the Campbell River Art Gallery, the Haig-Brown House and the Sybil Andrews Cottage.

Council, at its Committee of the Whole Meeting April 22, said it needs to first identify the total costs of those services and directed city staff to come back with a report on the operational costs for those arts and culture facilities.

Council also asked staff to prepare a report on expanding the Community Partnership Committee or establishing a separate committee to review and grant applications to organizations or groups that benefit the overall health and social well-being of the community.

This year, a total of 15 community groups received grants-in-aid from the city.

Those grants totalled $552,264 which was an increase of more than $25,000 over what was given out in 2014 to 17 groups.

The Community Partnership Committee received grant requests for this year totalling $609,177 which exceeded the city’s budget by $5,428.

The committee was forced to deny funding to: the Campbellton Neighbourhood Association ($1,500 for a sign), Volunteer Campbell River ($35,000), Storey Creek Golf and Recreation Society ($782), Campbell River Army Cadets ($1,000), Campbell River Air Cadets ($2,531), Royal Canadian Sea Cadets ($5,000), and D.A.R.E. B.C. ($1,700).

Groups can be denied funding for a number of reasons, including if they do not fit the criteria of being not-for-profit, based in Campbell River, or open to the greatest number of residents possible.

Grant requests may also be declined for events that already receive funding from other levels of government or a government agency. Applicants must also have more than 50 per cent of their required funding coming from other sources.