Local grant money available

Grant money is piling up for Regional District of Bulkley Nechako electoral area E.

A Southside town hall at the Grassy Plains Community Hall on April 6

A Southside town hall at the Grassy Plains Community Hall on April 6

Grant money is piling up for Regional District of Bulkley Nechako (RDBN) electoral area E. More than $200,000 in gas tax funds and $80,000 in grant-in-aid money, all ear-marked for area E specifically, is waiting to be spent on community projects organized by registered not-for-profit organizations.

Steve Freeman, director of electoral area E, convened a town hall meeting on April 4, 2013 at the Grassy Plains Community Hall.  Approximately 30 residents attended. Freeman was assisted by Regional District of Bulkley Nechako staff and Dan Boudreau, Nechako Kitimaat Development Fund (NKDF) manager.

Freeman said he was concerned that he wasn’t seeing very many applications for the available funding.

“I wanted to make sure that people were aware of what is available and how to access it,” he said.

The application process can be a daunting prospect but the RDBN has resources available to help with the grant writing process.

Key considerations to keep in mind are that the funding is only available to registered organizations that are working on community development, non-commercial, projects.  Further restrictions might apply to certain funds. For example, the federal gas tax fund is only available for energy conservation or environmental projects, while grant-in-aid funding has fewer restrictions.

Freeman said that another important consideration when looking at grant applications is to consider how the money an organization might have on hand can be used to leverage more money form other funding organizations.

Money from one fund can be used to apply for money from another fund. The NKDF, for example, has a mandated ‘matching-funds’ approach to distributing money. Other funds might not be restricted by money-matching, but they’ll be restricted to a percentage of project funding, or might have other restrictions.

With a grant application process that can be long and involved, Freeman said that organizations need to contact RDBN staff before starting the application process to save everyone wasted time and effort.

“There’s quite a bit of money available,” said Freeman. “We need to figure out what we want to do in area E.”

The Southside town-hall was the second meeting Freeman organized. The evening before, there was a similar town-hall at the Francois Lake hall.