Two Red Deer projects will get $150,000 each from the province’s Civil Society Fund to support local economic recovery.
Urban Aboriginal Voices Society received funding for its Indigenous Diversion Program for the provincial court system in Red Deer to address the over representation of Indigenous people in the justice system. The pilot project will develop collaborative “healing plans” for participants, supporting the individual’s journey and building the capacity of support organizations to work effectively together.
Sustainable Red Deer Society, operating as ReThink Red Deer, received funding for its Common Ground Garden Project that is helping to create a sustainable approach to food security in Red Deer. The garden also provides a fully accessible space for collaboration, volunteer mobilization, community education and intercultural connections, including exploring food needs/traditions of newcomer and Indigenous communities.
The Civil Society Fund, launched in the fall of 2020, will provide $20 million over three years to expand civil society’s capacity to address social problems facing Albertans.
A total of 37 projects across the province shared $7 million during the second round of funding. Organizations have up to two years to complete their projects.
Kathy Parsons, board chair with ReThink Red Deer, said as a volunteer organization, funding will allow staff to be hired to organize volunteers and the production of the garden after such a successful launch last summer in Capstone.
“The Common Ground project has become such a huge initiative. There’s so much momentum behind it, it’s become too much for volunteers to manage,” Parsons said.
“Being able to have some staff that is dedicated is going to make operations much more smooth, and it’s going to allow us to engage all the people who want to be engaged in the garden, and be able to take advantage of that full momentum.”
She said spring preparations at the site will begin in a few weeks, and expansion this year will focus on a fully accessible garden with raised garden beds and limestone pathways.
The intent of the Civil Society Fund is to support transformational change and improve how civil society organizations function and work together to address pressing social challenges.
Civil society includes non-profit and voluntary organizations, registered charities, informal groups or movements pursuing shared interests or values, and private-sector organizations and individuals pursuing social good.
As part of Alberta’s Recovery Plan, projects that receive funding will help organizations supporting Albertans address a range of social issues such as mental health, homelessness and domestic violence.
Red Deer-North MLA Adrianna LaGrange said the investment into Red Deer non-profits highlights the province’s dedication to community.
“This is a sign of our government’s strong support for Albertans struggling with mental health, homelessness, and unemployment. I look forward to seeing the impact that this funding will have on our communities,” LaGrange said in a statement.