OPINION: Municipal Grant funding program leaving no one happy

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By Nick Seebruch
OPINION: Municipal Grant funding program leaving no one happy
The Bereaved Families Ontario - Cornwall office.

The Municipal Grant program is a part of the City of Cornwall budget. It gives local agencies the opportunity to ask the City of Cornwall for some financial support.

The problem is, that for a few reasons, no one seems to be happy with the results of this program each year. Not the City Councillors, not administration, not event the agencies applying for the money think that anyone is getting served well by this program.
For 2019, the City of Cornwall administration presented requests from seven community agencies totaling at $122,830, but allotted only $56,000 total. Council ultimately dolled out roughly $51,000 of that and left $5,000 on the table.

Groups like Centre Culturel, Cornwall BMX Club, The Agapè Centre and Your Arts Council (YAC) all received $10,000 less than they asked for.
I spoke with Richard Salem of YAC, who said that last year, they applied for $50,000 and only got $15,000. He said that this underfunding of a community organization will mean that some programs may have to be cut, and that resources available to the arts community will be diminished because YAC will not be able to fully serve as hub for arts.

At least one Cornwall Councillor, Dean Hollingsworth, stated that he believed that the process was arbitrary.

Not only are there organizations that are not getting the funding they ask for, but we have some important local organizations that aren’t getting any funding at all.

Bereaved Families of Ontario-Cornwall announced this week that they will be ceasing operations as of May 31 due to lack of funding. This organization had 126 new adult clients last year, and 21 new children or youth clients. They held nearly 1,000 sessions in 2018. They have an annual operating budget of $50,000.

They do some of their own fundraising with their annual gala, and receive no support from the province or federal government.

Bereaved Families has applied multiple times in recent years for a Municipal Grant, but has not received any money from the City of Cornwall.
This is what I believe Municipal Grants should be used for, to provide a little money to support organizations that provide services to the community.

Organizations like Bereaved Families, the Agapè Centre and YAC all provide the community with services that would otherwise fall entirely on the municipality to provide.

Without the Agapè Centre, there would be hundreds of hungry, less fortunate people that the City of Cornwall would be responsible for helping directly, and now, with the loss of Bereaved Families, there will be hundreds of individuals in pain, who need help, who no longer have a place to go in their community.

It is about giving these organizations a little, with which, they have learned to do a lot.

What do you think readers? Should the Municipal Grant process be re-structured to better serve our community? Email me a Letter to the Editor at nicholas.seebruch@tc.tc

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