This week’s announcement that last year’s top-up of $15 million for gaming grants for social profit community groups will be repeated in the current fiscal year and, in Premier Christy Clark’s words, be “baked in the budget” for the next three fiscal years received some mixed reviews across the social profit sector.
However, the Alliance for Arts and Culture is seeing the announcement as a positive development, opening the door to further progress.
"We have heard from many of our members about their sense of relief upon hearing that their eligibility is restored for Community Gaming Grants”, said Alliance executive director Rob Gloor in responding to the announcement. "While the total funding amount does not reach the levels allocated in 2008, before the cuts occurred, it represents a significant increase to the arts and culture sector compared to where we stood last week.
“We wish to thank the government for taking these positive steps based on the Triplett recommendations. His report also contains many further options which have not yet been addressed, and we look forward to a dialogue on continued improvements,” Mr. Gloor continued.
Mr Gloor promised that the Alliance for Arts and Culture will provide service and support to its many members who are now eligible for the special round of applications.
Applications for gaming grants can be online here.
“The funds added to this year's allocations will benefit those organizations that received reductions or became completely ineligible for grants. This group includes the majority of arts and culture organizations that had received Community Gaming Grants for several years. Therefore, the restoration of eligibility is a major boost to the arts and culture sector.
"At the same time," continued Mr. Gloor, "it has no negative impact on those organizations which were already eligible and received grants this fiscal from the existing budget of $120 Million.
“The Alliance is eager to review the details of the funding and associated allocations process in the context of Mr. Triplett's recommendations. The arts community has endured tremendous funding challenges over the past three years, and we are grateful to receive some news of positive steps,” Mr. Gloor concluded.
- The Province has increased gaming grants in its annual base budget to a total of $135 million, beginning this fiscal year.
- That will mean $15 million more in gaming grants than originally budgeted for 2011/12.
- This funding will reach right across the province with a large part going outside of the Lower Mainland to more than 2,000 organizations in hundreds of communities.
- Groups focusing on adult arts and sports, animal welfare and environmental concerns will be eligible for community gaming grants.
- These reinstated groups will receive a total of $8 million. The Province will conduct a special intake of applications from Jan. 16 to Feb. 13 to ensure these groups are eligible for funding this fiscal year. Interested organizations will be required to apply online.
- Of this $8 million, $6 million will be allocated for adult arts, culture and sport organizations, while environmental organizations will be allocated $2 million.
- This funding will benefit non-profit organizations that deliver key community services such as animal shelter organizations, fish and wildlife associations, lake and stream stewardship societies, district arts councils, museum societies, and theatres.
- The remaining $7 million will be used to increase funding to groups that have experienced reductions during the past three years, including those responsible for fairs, festivals, youth arts and culture, community service, the B.C. Senior Games and community education organizations.
- Funding will benefit community-focused organizations such as Kiwanis and Lions Club, heritage and folk music societies, non-profit child development societies, youth music schools and pipe bands.
- The Province is also exploring options for introducing multi-year funding in the coming years for groups that have achieved earned independence through sound fiscal practices.
The government media release can be found here.
MEDIA COVERAGE: Media coverage of the January 11 announcement reflected the mixed responses throughout the community. Some of the major coverage included:
- canada.com: "Funding puts wind back in sails of B.C. gaming grants"
- Pete McMartin in the Vancouver Sun: "The government's sleight of hand doesn't fool charities"
- Georgia Straight: "Norman Armour greeted the news with relief. "Reinstating adult arts within the eligible criteria for Provincial Gaming support recognizes the important role that the arts play in the lives of British Columbians ..."
- Tri-City News: “It’s not as good as it could have been,” said Jane Matthews, executive director of the PoMo Arts Centre Society, “But I think that we have to be realistic in that everyone is still feeling the recession.”
THE REVIEW: Between August 11th and Sept.16th, 2011 Mr. Triplett held Community Forums in 19 locations across BC. A total of 1,229 British Columbians attended these forums and 336 people made oral presentations
The full Community Gaming Grant report can be found here.
The community presentations can be found here.