June 22nd, 2024

Volunteer Lethbridge deserves support from the city

By Lethbridge Herald on January 6, 2023.


Re: Municipal support for volunteerism and civic engagement.

Thank you to Al Beeber for his thoughtful and fairminded “Leave it to Beeber” column on Dec. 17 titled “Council was in a tough spot with budget deliberations.”

I appreciate that the author, like me, was surprised that Volunteer Lethbridge did not receive a fee-for-service agreement with the City of Lethbridge. Moreover, it seemed as though little to no consideration was given – there was not a single question or point of debate. 

For clarity, Volunteer Lethbridge will receive $200,000 in Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) funding for 2023, which is an agreement the organization has through the City of Lethbridge. 

However, 80 per cent of that funding flows through from the provincial government with the balance paid for by our municipality. This means that the only non-profit leadership and voluntary support centre in Lethbridge is supported by its municipality with $40,000 per year. 

Compare this with the very worthy organizations and initiatives that have healthy agreements with the City, including the Lethbridge Destination Management Organization ($630,900); Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden ($199,071); Southern Alberta Art Gallery ($183,800); Lethbridge Sport Council ($159,800); Diversion Outreach Team ($124,200). These numbers are public and based on the 2021 budget.

Volunteer Lethbridge serves 100+ nonprofit organizations, and hundreds of volunteers annually. The organization is flexible and innovative, creating community cohesion and health. Volunteer Lethbridge strengthens the capacity of nonprofit organizations who report increased demand for services, increased need and complexity of the people/communities they serve, and negative impacts on staff mental health. 

Volunteer Lethbridge has earned revenue and fundraises like many other nonprofits, but for stability and growth, the organization requires an investment from the City of Lethbridge. 

The organization will attempt to present again to city council. To provide a letter of support, please email info@volunteerlethbridge.com. Thank you, Lethbridge, for a great 42 years so far!

Amanda Jensen

Volunteer Lethbridge Executive Director 

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