Saanich councillors Zac de Vries, Judy Brownoff, Colin Plant, Nathalie Chambers and Ned Taylor (back row, left to right); Coun. Karen Harper, Coun. Susan Brice, Mayor Fred Haynes, and Coun. Rebecca Mersereau (front row, left to right). (Saanich)

Saanich creates ‘flexibility’ with updates to its community grants program

Changes open District for more ideas, smaller grants

Changes to Saanich’s community grants program are expected to provide flexibility for new applicants and stability for organizations that provide services in Saanich on a recurring basis.

READ ALSO: Oak Bay council awards $211,475 in community grants

On Monday, council approved changes to the grant program that supports non-profit community associations and organizations for services, projects or events that contribute to the Saanich vision outlined in the Official Community Plan and align with council’s Strategic Plan.

Coun. Susan Brice said the committee felt it was time for a review to streamline the grants process in Saanich. “We felt that in this way, we can look at grant requests, make a recommendation to council, and it won’t take up so much council time,” Brice said. “It will provide flexibility and some stability for organizations that provide services year after year.”

Brice said the changes will open up grant funding from Saanich for more ideas, smaller grants, and grants won’t be tied to a particular time of year. Brice said the “micro-grants” for Small Acts of Vibrancy represent what the committee would like to see. “Sometimes you only need a couple hundred bucks to pull it off,” Brice said.

READ ALSO: Victoria Foundation’s community grants support 109 local non-profits

The first change is grant recipients will no longer be required to present their application before council during the budget process. Instead, the Finance and Governance Standing Committee will consider the application, make a recommendation to council, and council will make the final decision. Applicants will also be required to submit a one-page report on the achievement of their program and project goals within a year of receiving the grant.

The other change to note is that council will provide up to the amount of financial support granted last year to registered societies or non-profit organizations who provide a service, operate a facility owned by the municipality or have another formalized arrangement on an ongoing basis, such as Silver Threads.

Saanich resident, researcher, and council meeting regular Teale Phelps Bondaroff also tweeted his support for the updates to the grants program on Monday, stating “micro-grants are a great way to help foster community-building projects across the District”.

READ ALSO: Province announces $3.5 million in funding for community solutions to overdose crisis

sophie.heizer@saanichnews.com


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