This year the Cochrane Foundation is excited to offer a new granting stream for qualifying community groups/organizations within the Cochrane area.
Kelsey Envik, Board Director, shares the Calgary Foundation in which they are partnered with approached them with the idea of granting more dollars to support projects on a community level.
By awarding $25,000 to the Cochrane Foundation, the board of directors will now have a broader scope when it comes to supporting community initiatives through a new granting opportunity called 'Neighbour Grants'. "It is exciting for us; our grants, historically, have been invested in capital costs for charities and this allows us to support events, festivals, and smaller projects on a project funding basis, which we have wanted to do for a very long time."
Although the applicants have to meet criteria, Envik shares they know this type of funding is needed and it will help fill the niche to fund smaller projects that previously may not have qualified under the Community Capital Grant stream. "The idea is that communities have the best idea on how to improve their community whether it's through conversations, workshops, festivals, or gatherings. Some of the qualifications would be the project needs to prove it has a level of engagement, it is developing community, it is perhaps helping with diversity issues and inclusion, that it has an impact and a sustainable impact on the community and residents that live here."
Just like the Community Capital Grant application, those groups or organizations hoping to be considered for up to a maximum $5000 (per applicant) Neighbour Grant must be either a registered charity, registered Alberta Society or partner up with someone who is. "Because it is a new fund it's going to be a little learn as we go, so we just have to put it out there and see as the applications come in. We are really wanting to promote the idea of people getting event and project funding for the things they need funding for. We know it's needed because we get more requests than we can fund every year for our community grants and a lot of those projects are event or gathering related. We are hoping to get quite a few applications and that it encourages people to get out and create events that are eligible as well. We are just excited that we can finally support those initiatives."
A group applying for a Neighbour Grant can use the funding to cover expenses related directly to hosting/operating the project or event such as supplies, room rental, or other costs.
Throughout its 26-year history, the Cochrane Foundation has been able to reinvest over $960,000 back into our local community from the annual interest earned off of a permanent endowment fund (currently at 1.6 million) that was created to support important community ideals related to arts and culture, environment, youth, education, health, recreation and more. To date, over 103 different organizations have benefitted from the grant dollars available which is governed by ten local community leaders who sit on the board, including Brenda Tennant, who is taking the place of her late husband Jack who was a longtime board member.
Information and online application for the Community Capital Grant, Dr. George McQuitty Memorial Fund Scholarship Grant, and the Neighbour Grant can be found HERE and all submissions must be in by January 31st to be considered.
Envik, says there is no shortage of groups looking for funding and over the past few years the list only grows. "The need is increasing, the number of organizations is increasing, applications are increasing, and their costs are increasing. The more money we have as our asset base, the more money we are able to give back. We feel we do a good job being able to distribute to a wide range of groups that touch all the needs of Cochrane."
Monies for this year's chosen applicants will be distributed in mid-March at the Ramada Cochrane Foundation Awards Night which provides all successful applicants an opportunity to connect and network.