BY KALISHA MENDONSA
As Canada moves towards the 150th anniversary of confederation, the Government has released a number of initiatives to encourage communities to develop infrastructure, build organizations and celebrate diverse themes.
This week, NDP Minister of Culture and Tourism Ricardo Miranda announced $2 million in grant funding through the Community Initiatives Program available to non-profit groups to grow in 2017 and beyond.
“When I was looking at projects we could do for the 150th anniversary celebration, I thought we needed to do something from a community perspective at a grassroots level,” Miranda said. “I wanted to bring families together, share the stories of our province and share stories about our heritage.”
Miranda said his vision for the funding allocation is to reach far beyond Canada Day next year.
The program is targeted to small and medium sized non-profit groups who have difficulties in raising funds in order to be eligible for government dollar-matching programs.
He explained that for many government grant programs, non-profit groups must raise a minimum amount of money before they are eligible to receive donations from the government.
He said this is more achievable for larger non-profit groups, but for grassroots-level organizations, it can be a challenge.
Now, eligible non-profit organizations may apply for up to $25,000 through the Community Initiatives Program.
The matching requirement will be set at $150 cash for each grant to encourage participation among small and medium-sized groups.
“With $150 cash, they can get up to $25,000 in return. What they can do with that is innovative and unique to the non-profit. We know non-profit groups can stretch a dollar like nobody’s business and we hope that this money will have a huge impact on each of the organizations,” Miranda said.
Hopeful projects must align with one of the four Canada 150 themes, including building diversity and inclusion, supporting efforts towards reconciliation of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians, engaging and inspiring youth to carry forward the Canada 150 legacy or, finally, connecting Canadians with nature and raising environmental stewardship.
“The best way to spend this kind of money is to put it into the hands of the people on the front lines in our communities – the people who don’t normally get that kind of funding from us because they cannot match the initial qualifier,” Miranda said.
“This is a very targeted program created to put money directly into grassroots organizations who can use the money to celebrate our nation, our province and bring our communities together.”
Information and application guidelines for Canada 150 grant programs can be found online at http://canada.pch.gc.ca/eng/1468262573081.
Canadians across the country will commemorate the 150th anniversary in a large variety of ways, from day-long celebrations to legislative themes and initiatives that will kick off in 2017.