At the March 8th Committee of the Whole meeting held in the Council Chambers at Town Hall, Council received the final reports for the Grant in Aid Program for 2010, and also brief presentations from applicants that were there to obtain funding in 2011. The gallery was overflowing, and it was standing room only during the process. Sixteen groups presented their final reports to Council and town staff during the afternoon.
It is the purpose of the Grant in Aid Program to provide an annual cycle of relatively small-scale allocations ($5,000) of financial assistance to community groups seeking support for proposals which will support the livability of Golden. The process enables Council the opportunity to provide funding towards valuable initiatives that will benefit the entire community.
“Volunteer organizations take on activities, programs and projects that the Town of Golden doesn’t have the financial or human resources to do so. What they contribute brings positive spirit and vibrancy to the community. The Grant in Aid Program allows town council an opportunity to provide some financial support for local groups who benefit our town in numerous ways. Clearly the financial need is increasing as we were oversubscribed this year. I was surprised at the variety of requests including many new ones. As a result, council will have some difficult decisions to make,” Mayor of Golden, Christina Benty said of the importance of such a program to the community.
There have been 25 separate groups vying for a piece of the $50,000 that has been allocated by the town for the Grant in Aid Program. Program policy requires council to allocate a maximum of 85 per cent of those funds to applications solicited in the first quarter of the year, being $42,500; Council then reserves the remaining 15 per cent for emergent applications throughout the year. The total amount of funding under application is $61,810.73, so that means Council will have some tough decisions to make.
At the meeting on March 8th, a wide array of proposals were brought in front of Council and all those in attendance. Pillars in the community such as the Golden Food Bank, the Abbeyfield Society, the Lutheran Church, Golden & District Community Foundation, Golden Chamber of Commerce, Alexander Park Elementary School, St. Paul’s Anglican Church Thrift Store, the Golden Women’s Resource Centre, a new Golden Festival Society, and the Golden Family Centre all brought forth viable suggestions of how the grant monies would be used to benefit the community.
Sports groups also had ideas and needs in which a grant of this nature could assist. Golden Minor Hockey’s Pee Wee Rams had a proposal, as did the Gymnastic Club and the Golden Dolphins Swim Club.
Local animals were also recognized in the proposal process as the Kicking Horse Rescue Dog Association was seeking some assistance as well as a relatively new cat/kitten rescue group named Little Mittens Animal Rescue Association.
Now the tough task of deciding which applicants are most deserving will fall into the laps of our Town Councillors. The decisions will not be easy as all applicants are certainly worthy. Unapproved applicants will not be held for future consideration and will not be eligible for re-application until the following year. Grant amounts will be released as soon as practical after July 2nd.