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General News · 21st May 2014
Noba Anderson
Every year the Strathcona Regional District sets aside some funds for the local Cortes Grant In Aid (GIA) program to support local non-profits that carry out work of benefit to the island as a whole. This year’s budget is $25,000.

After the allocation of some funds to an early time sensitive GIA application this spring, I received an email from a Cortes resident who usually positions himself as my critic, criticizing my recommendation, but also asking that I advise the community about my GIA allocation considerations before making recommendations to the Regional District board. This year is a particularly good year to seek your feedback because there are more requests than ever before, both in $ amount and first time applicants. Below, I outline some criteria and considerations I use when making funding recommendations and share with you at the most simplistic level what funds have been requested this year. I would welcome any input you might have about how to best distribute your funds this year.

It is suggested in the application form that the applicant demonstrate both a need for the service/project within the community and the financial need of the organization. Each proposal must also outline how the grant will benefit the community.

In 2010, I wrote the following article: Grant-In-Aid Philosophy: 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.”

Since then, I have heard from many groups that core GIA funding is actually really key to their organization given that it is one of the very few available funding sources that can support core operations. Lots to consider.

2011 I wrote: “After receiving many applications, I used four general criteria for evaluation and selection: financial need, broad community benefit, additionality (an initiative that may not otherwise happen), and preference given to ‘core funding.’”

Since that time, I have tried to hold in mind allocating 1/3 of the funds to a high community priority or new initiative and 2/3 to ongoing core operations of community groups.

So, 2014…

Do date, of the available $25,000, $11,300 has already been allocated to time sensitive applicants. These are:
• $1,000 to the Nuyumbalees Cultural Centre on Quadra for the restoration of their Cook Welcome Poles,
• $2,500 to Reel Youth – a project of Tides Canada for their Spring 2014 intergenerational film program;
• $4,000 to Cortes Island Business and Tourism for core operations needed to match an early grant opportunity;
• $3,000 to the Friends of Cortes Island for a feasiblity assessment to set-up an enterprising non-profit for Cortes land ownership; and
• $800 to The Leadership Institute DBA Hollyhock for scholarships to Cortes NGO volunteers to attend a facilitation workshop.

I currently have before me the following additional applications. I would like to make funding allocation recommendations to the SRD board within the week, so your timely feedback is appreciated.

• Cortes Isalnd Rod & Gun Club - $3,000 for Club House Replacement;
• Cortes Island Museum & Archives - $1,915 for a new website;
• Cortes Community Health Association - $11,645; $645 for the monthly community meal, $4,500 for youth programming & $6,500 for home support;
• Friends of Cortes Island - $3,000 Hague/Gunflit Lake Algea Bloom mitigation coordination;
• Lakehouse Learning Society - $2,625 for a bursary program for Lakehouse students;
• Cortes Literacy Now (Cortes School is the financial steward) - $3,000 for core support for literacy programming;
• Reel Youth - a project of Tides Canada Initiatives Society - $2,500 for Spring 2015 intergenerational film program;
• Southern Cortes Community Association - $7,000; $2,000 to upgrade the hall sound system & stage, $5,000 food bank contingency and bulk ordering;
• Whaletown Community Club - $5,500 for general operating;
• Parents Advisory Committee - $5,765 for a food sustainability plan and proposal;
• Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society - $5,000 for their Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation Program;
• Museum at Campbell River - $2,500 for general operating; and
• Campbell River Search & Rescue Society - $4,000 for general operating.

That is a requested amount of $52,450 and an available amount of $13,700. Suggestions welcome of how to best proceed – in the small and immediate picture as well as a larger view. What is this an indication of? How can it be addressed beyond these funds and this year?

Many thanks, Noba Anderson