More than 2,000 non-profit community groups across British Columbia will benefit from an immediate injection of $15 million in new grant funding, Premier Christy Clark announced on March 24.
“We’re putting families first by providing more funding for programs that support healthier children, stronger families and more vibrant communities,” said Clark.
“We’re fulfilling our commitment to provide an immediate boost of $15 million to community gaming grants. These non-profit organizations turn the small amounts they receive into big benefits for the communities they serve.”
Various local entities are dependent upon grants for portions of their operating funds and at least one representative feels the premier’s disclosure can only be seen as a step in the right direction.
Agencies and organizations to be in line for an increase were not known as of press time, but Sooke District Arts Council treasurer Marion DesRochers said it’s encouraging to see the support instigated by the newly-installed premier.
“Whether or not they bump up anything there’s always a need for money,” said DesRochers on March 26.
Groups like the local arts council may not be precisely what the premier had in mind when announcing the increase, but, if not, there is a relationship and additional support may be more likely given the government’s recent tactic.
Funding is what the local district arts council is all about, as it exists in order to pass along available resources at the grassroots level. The more it gets the more it can give.
“If we get a request from a group we try to help them as much as we can,” DesRochers continued.
“At the same time, putting on our own events (such as Art in the Park, Beach Art and Family Art) costs us a lot of money. The district is very generous in supporting us but we’re always in the red.”
DesRochers is hopeful the benevolent gesture by the premier is the start of a trend, as she agrees with the idea that a healthy arts sector makes economic sense.
“We have one of the best art shows in Western Canada in Sooke Fine Arts and we have been cut back too,” she concluded.
“Whether we’re able to tap into this amount for the coming year, I don’t know. But I know we’ve got a budget we’ve got to really, rigorously stick to.”
The restoration of funding will bring over 500 organizations back up to historical funding levels, including youth, arts and culture groups; community service groups, fairs, festivals and museums and organizations involved in community education.