June 14th, 2024

Community Foundation expecting more requests for grant funding

By Lethbridge Herald on January 28, 2023.

Alejandra Pulido-Guzman

It is that time of the year again. The Community Foundation of Lethbridge and Southwestern Alberta is now accepting grant applications for the Community Priorities, Henry S. Varley Fund for Rural Life, and Youth in Action Grants Programs. 

Community Foundation executive director, Charleen Davidson, said they are expecting an increase in applications this year, which is nothing new. 

“We’re so oversubscribed every year, that if a group receives funding, they have to take the next year off, just to give more people opportunity,” said Davidson. 

She said that in order to make it fair to everyone and to keep the process transparent, people need to apply every year, as they do not keep people on waiting lists that previously applied and did not receive funding. 

“It also helps (the) committee making more informed decisions and not trying to remember an application from the previous year,” said Davidson. 

She said another reason for new applications is because a lot can change in a year and sometimes the project has evolved. 

Davidson said there is specific criteria that applicants need to meet for each funding. 

“Groups have to be a registered charity, or they have to be working with a registered charity to apply first and foremost, and the project needs to benefit the greater community,” said Davidson. 

She said the Community Priorities Fund focuses on what they call brick-and-mortar or capital projects which include improvements or buying new technology for a specific place to benefit the community, whereas the rural fund is more about innovative work or collaborative work that is going on in a rural community. 

“The donor for that fund really wanted to maintain a high quality of life in the rural community, so that is the goal for that grant,” said Davidson. 

The Henry S. Varley Fund for Rural Life will support the community with $200,000 this year. 

The Community Priorities Fund is the Community Foundation’s largest granting program. Through two annual calls for applications, this fund will distribute $550,000 this year to charities and other qualified recipients throughout southwestern Alberta. 

Applications for both programs are due by 4 p.m. on March 15. 

“The Youth in Action is a different one because the whole idea was a donor’s idea and it was about encouraging and supporting leadership amongst youth, to come forward with a project that is going to help improve their community,” said Davidson. 

She said the youth will have to apply with a charitable partner, because they can only grant to charitable organizations. 

“A really great one that we funded a few years ago was regarding cigarette butts waste, because a lot of people just throw their cigarette butts away without realizing that’s garbage and they are littering,” said Davidson. 

She said the group came up with some receptacles to help collect some of this waste and keep it off the street and they worked with Volunteer Lethbridge as their charitable partner.

Davidson said the other difference with the other grants is that the Youth in Action grant only runs once a year, while the other two run twice a year. 

“The maximum grant for that (Youth in Action) is a $2000 grant and we award a maximum of $15,000 a year,” said Davidson. 

She said unfortunately they do not receive a lot of applications for the Youth in Action grant because the project has to be youth-led. 

“It has to be the youth who comes up with the idea, they’re really the ones spearheading the program or the project, so we don’t always get a lot of applications,” said Davidson. 

She said last year they only awarded $13,000 from their $15,000 budget. 

Application deadline for the Youth in Action grant is Feb. 28.

Anyone who is interested in learning about the application process is encouraged to attend a free grant information session on Feb. 9 at 10:30 a.m. via Zoom. Please RSVP to grants@cflsa.ca (the Zoom link will be shared upon registration confirmation). 

“We’re always excited to see the kind of initiatives that our community comes forward with every year.

“There is a lot of passionate people out there that come up with some great ideas and we’re doing some great work in the community and we’re always happy to be part of that,” said Davidson. 

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