General News · 20th May 2010
Supporting Innovation with Seed Capital
Through its direct support of Cortes projects and organizations, the Grant-In-Aid fund is one of the Strathcona Regional District services that most immediately and directly benefits Cortes Islanders. The province-wide intention and philosophy of Grant-In-Aid services is to act as seed funding - to help kick-start new initiatives with broad community benefit which may not otherwise happen and to support emerging innovation. Over the past many years, Cortes Grant-In-Aid funds have been distributed in relatively small amounts to many local community groups used largely as nominal core funding – supporting basic operation costs. Although this has supported excellent work, given the small amounts allocated I don’t believe it represents the highest and best use of these funds. After meeting last winter with most organizations that have traditionally benefited from these grants, I received broad support for a shift in the spending of Grant-In-Aid monies to better reflect this ‘seed money’ philosophy. This shift, beginning in 2010 and evolving in 2011, will be moving away from small allotments of core funding towards a few innovative projects. Although as your director I make spending recommendation for the Cortes GIA allocations, the final decision rests with the Regional District Board.
The shift in GIA spending is being rolled out over two years. Although the intention is to move away from small ‘core’ allocations, it was deemed unwise to do this all in one cycle, especially given that many other typical sources of funding for community service organizations are scarcer this year than before. As stated in my March article titled “Grant In Aid Funds” this fund was doubled to $30,000 this year, without an associated tax increase, in order to do three things:
1. To continue to support the good work of community groups in this transition year (Cortes Museum-$2,900, Whaletown Pottery Studio-$700, Cortes Radio-$1,400, Cortes Health Association-$1,500, CI School PAC-$1,200, Museum at Campbell River-$300, and Friends of Cortes-$2,250),
2. To be able to respond in part to the SCCA’s financial situation with a one-time larger grant and in a much more modest way ($13,000) than the proposed hall tax service, and
3. To fund a community-wide Cortes Fund Raising Coordinator under the FOCI umbrella. To this end, a $5,750 grant was awarded to hire Sandra Wood to work with all past regional district Grant-In-Aid recipients to find alternate ways of generating funds and sharing resources. (See the reverse side for Sandra’s first report.)
For the 2011 grant cycle, I anticipate being able to allocate much of the funds as ‘seed capital’ to support emerging innovation of broad community benefit.
I also commit to an open community meeting this coming fall on the draft 2011 Strathcona Regional District budget where the Grant-In-Aid service can be viewed by you in relation to all other services provided by your local government. The SRD’s Chief Financial Officer will lead this meeting and be able to answer your questions.
Regional Director, Cortes Island
THE GOOD NEWS
Cortes Fund Raising Update by Sandra Wood
In my new role as Non-Profit Fund Raising Co-ordinator for Cortes, I am excited to share my expertise with the many groups who are providing such amazing community services to our island home and creating jobs that support our local economy.
My Project Deliverables:
• Assist/train/educate non-profit groups with grant research & applications.
• Find alternate funding sources for established non-profit organizations.
• Establish a grant webpage with links & upcoming deadlines as a community shared resource.
I’ve been working with: Cortes Museum, Manson’s Hall, Seniors Society, Friends of Cortes, Whaletown Commons Society and other non-profit groups. We are developing fund raising strategies, researching options from family trusts, corporate sponsorships, foundations and government programs. The goal is to find alternative sources of funding for special projects and develop self-sustainability through new revenue generation ideas.
Over the past 2 months, during the key spring grant season, we have sent applications to: WalkBC, Canada Council for the Arts, Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC), Vancouver Foundation, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Coastal Community Credit Union (CCCU), and more. We have already had our first success with a $5,000 grant received from WalkBC.
Next is the summer grant season, which is traditionally less busy with fewer application deadlines and more time to prepare project business plans for autumn fund raising. While researching new grants, I’ll be in touch with the Cortes groups who could benefit. Looking forward to meeting with more of the island’s non-profit organizations in the coming months. Please feel free to contact me about your project via e-mail sandrawoodtelus.net or phone 250-935-6676.
Thanks for supporting this creative fund-raising initiative to make our community more resilient.
Kindest Regards ~ Sandra Wood