Charities and non-for-profits in Sechelt adversely impacted by COVID-19 have an opportunity to apply for grants from a newly-created $100,000 relief fund.
District of Sechelt councillors voted the fund into existence at a June 2 regular council meeting after it was first introduced and debated at committee on May 12.
The one-time grant will be available this year only and will be funded using the $2.6 million the district received last year through a federal-provincial COVID-19 safe restart agreement.
Two significant changes to the fund were made at a May 26 committee-of-the-whole meeting. Council voted to increase the fund to $100,000 from $50,000 and to double the maximum amount available to each grant applicant to $10,000.
That maximum, however, isn’t set in stone. Instead, Sechelt council will have the opportunity to increase the amount following a motion from Coun. Matt McLean.
He pitched that council vote to increase the maximum allocated to a group “for projects that address an issue of paramount community concern as determined by council.”
The motion won the approval of most of council, including Mayor Darnelda Siegers, on the grounds that giving Sechelt council discretion on spending provides flexibility to fund worthy projects. “I’d like to have us have the flexibility inside of this without having to make an exception to a policy we just approved,” Siegers said.
Coun. Alton Toth didn’t support the motion, however, because he didn’t want to give organizations “false hope.” He said organizations should apply and be judged according to their merit as compared to others.
Eligible organizations must be either a registered charity or non-profit and provide “core community services” to vulnerable groups in Sechelt. They also have to show they are in need of the funding by providing financial information.
The funds can cover care, food, shelter, cost of support and services “and other necessities of life,” according to the policy, as well as operational costs such as staffing costs.
The application deadline is July 5 at 4:30 p.m.
More information can be found here: https://www.sechelt.ca/Live/COVID-19-Safe-Restart-Grant-Program
In January, Town of Gibsons council voted on a similar initiative, allocating $1,000 grants from a $25,000 fund using a portion of their $1.5-million restart funds.