Campbell River City Council awarded more than $100,000 in funding Monday for local charities and non-profits under its new Social Grant Program.
Thirteen applications were awarded funding for social initiatives that range from a youth carving program and a facility kitchen upgrade, to mental health initiatives addressing homelessness.
The city developed the Social Grant Program in response to the frequent requests it gets from these types of organizations to help with one-time funding for various projects, thinking it would be better to have an annual intake and vetting process than to deal with the requests on an ad-hoc basis without a structure or set of criteria for how they would decide what to fund when the requests come before them.
One of program goals is to assist non-profit organizations in accessing more funding and collaborating with other organizations for larger impacts, according to the city.
“By providing this funding, we aim to support local organizations to address a range of social issues,” says Mayor Andy Adams. “The program has been designed with a focus on collaboration, and the results are clear: the program has leveraged almost three times the contribution we are providing.”
City senior planner Cleo Corbett says they were “very impressed” by the quality and variety of applications the city received during its first intake.
“These projects have the potential for very meaningful impact on the community,” Corbett says. “We look forwarded to the roll-out of these programs and initiatives and will aim to measure the benefits of this funding for the community.”
The process did have some hiccups, however.
Coun. Charlie Cornfield wasn’t thrilled that the grant total exceeded the $100,000 budgeted for the program, for example. After the vetting process was complete, it turned out that the city had approved $106,837 in grants.
“We should be holding the line at what we had budgeted,” Cornfield says, adding that if they really wanted to give money to all of the projects they approved, they could have easily just given everyone a few hundred dollars less to make sure they came in under budget.
“We set a limit, I think we should stay within it,” Cornfield says.
But a new program like this is bound to have a few growing pains, according to Coun. Michele Babchuk, especially when it involves this number of applications and this kind of money, saying the discrepancy between what is being given out and what was budgeted was due to a “calculation error,” and in the future, she’s confident the city will be staying within the $100,000 annual budget for the program.
The next intake for social grant applications is expected this fall. The Community Partnership Committee will again review and make recommendations on applications to council.
The list of 2020 Social Grant recipients is as follows:
Willow Point Supportive Housing: $5,000
North Island Metis Association: $10,000
United Way: $7,500
Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North Society: $11,000
Greenways Land Trust: $10,000
Campbell River Literacy Association: $10,000
Campbell River Family Services: $6,500
Campbell River Air Youth Association: $5,717
Campbell River Hospice Society: $7,125
Navy League of Canada, Campbell River Branch: $6,000
KDC Health: $8,695
Mental Health Recovery Partners North Island: $5,000
Multicultural & Immigrant Services Association of North Vancouver Island: $14,300