By Steffanie Costigan - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on February 3, 2024.
Volunteer Lethbridge is an advocate for stable funding of non-profit organizations in Alberta and was glad to hear the Government of Alberta is providing $9.9 million in funding through the Community Initiatives Program to 260 non-profits.
The funding was announced recently by Tanya Fir, Minister of Arts, Culture and Status of Women.
Each project must be completed within 18 months from the date of the CIP project-based grant funding payment.
Volunteer Lethbridge executive director Amanda Jensen congratulated the funding recipients.
“Volunteer Lethbridge is so pleased that there is an additional $155,000 infused into Lethbridge.Â We congratulate the grantees of the CIP Project dollars for this phase of funding – these funds make a difference to the recipients in delivering programs and events in Lethbridge.Â It is an effort to write these grant applications, and those that are successful recipients deserve congratulations,” said Jensen.
Local funding recipients include:
â€¢ Healthy Communities Association of Lethbridge and Area, $7,410.
â€¢ La Mediatheque de Lethbridge Society, $14,000.
â€¢ Lethbridge Centennial Quilters Guild, $6,000.
â€¢ Lethbridge International Airshow, $52,000.
â€¢ Oldman Watershed Council, $25,000.
â€¢ Southern Alberta Art Gallery Association, $51,110.
This totals $155,520 in Lethbridge investments.
Jensen said although the CIP grant funding is helpful more is needed permanently to help non-profits especially, with the impact of the pandemic and inflation.
“The CIP grant funding is a long-standing, historically non-partisan program that we are grateful for.Â At the same time, Volunteer Lethbridge, with its peers across Alberta, has been an advocate for more stable funding for non-profit organizations.Â
“Our last campaign specifically asked for the Government of Alberta to invest $300Â million over three years in a Community Prosperity Fund for non-profits to address the impacts of the pandemic, inflation, and historic under-resourcing to ensure this essential sector is here for Albertans when they need it most,” said Jensen.
Jensen expressed caution about the short-term financial contribution.
“We acknowledge that the CIP Project funding is one source of contribution to this sector, while also acknowledging we must be cautious around lauding short-term, unstable financial contributions that do not provide the support that the sector requires,” she said.
Jensen said the local recipients do great work in the community and Volunteer Lethbridge will continue to support any investment by the Alberta government in non-profits, whether short- or long-term.
But she noted “the Government of Alberta has not yet addressed our desperate cry for stability with long term sustainable funding,” she said.
She said non-profits provide employment opportunities to about 300,000 Albertans, the majority women, contributing $5.5 billion to the economy every year.
“TheyÂ provide food and basic needs, settlement and senior supports, sports and recreation, arts and culture, entrepreneurship, environmental health and more.Â They are proven, established partners in the delivery of essential services.Â
We’re doing the work that the government can’t do for anything even close to theÂ budgets weÂ operate.
“Two in 10 Canadians will access non-profit supports in 2024. Three in 10Â Albertans will. These are not handouts- the sector, from employees to recipients of the work they are investments in the non-profit sector and are crucial to the economy of Alberta,” said Jensen.