Grant funding shifted

The melding of the well-established Wild Rose Foundation with another provincial grant funding program has drawn concerns in Red Deer.

The melding of the well-established Wild Rose Foundation with another provincial grant funding program has drawn concerns in Red Deer.

The Wild Rose Foundation has been combined with the Community Initiatives, which supports project-based initiatives in areas such as community services, senior services and arts and culture.

Janice Wing, executive director of Red Deer and District Community Foundation, said representatives from various communities, including Red Deer, used to sit on the Wild Rose Foundation board.

“My concern, with the loss of the Wild Rose Foundation, is the level of local input we would have in the decision making about that funding,” Wing said.

Representatives had input into which local groups should get grants and how much.

The 2009 provincial budget formally announced on Tuesday that it would set aside $143 million for community grants. This includes $28 million for the Community Initiatives Program.

Shawn Cass, spokeswoman for Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, said the budget for community grants was cut from last year’s $552.7 million. Last year’s total also included one-time grant programs, she added.

She said the department is streamlining grant programs as part of a government review of community investment programs.

“There’s quite a bit of duplication between (the Wild Rose Foundation) and the Community Initiatives program,” Cass said on Thursday. “They have similar application forms, similar approval processes.”

Cass said the foundation still exists with staff staying on and key programs like Board Development continuing. It’s the grant program that has disappeared but because it was similar to Community Initiatives, organizations should be able to apply through that one.

The Community Initiatives program relies on community support, through matching funds or through volunteer support.

“There’s also a number of people in the department who work through the Community Initiatives program to help organizations with their applications, similar to what the local representatives would have done in the communities for Wild Rose.”

ltester@bprda.wpengine.com

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