The Community Foundation North Okanagan has teamed up with six other southern B.C. community foundations to provide more than $1.5 million to transform public spaces in response to COVID-19. (Kevin Trimmer photo)

The Community Foundation North Okanagan has teamed up with six other southern B.C. community foundations to provide more than $1.5 million to transform public spaces in response to COVID-19. (Kevin Trimmer photo)

Vernon-based group ready to back building COVID-resilient communities

Local foundation teams up with six others to provide $1.5 million in available project funding

Community Foundation North Okanagan (CFNO) has partnered with six other southern B.C. community foundations to provide more than $1.5 million to transform public spaces in response to COVID-19.

This funding is part of the Government of Canada’s new $31-million Healthy Communities Initiative. This investment by the federal government will support community-led organizations in developing local, small-scale infrastructure projects that respond to the immediate needs arising from COVID-19 while building towards a more pandemic-resilient future.

Starting Thursday, Feb. 11, organizations are invited to apply for funding between $5,000 and $250,000 to lead projects that help create safe and vibrant public spaces, improve mobility options and provide digital solutions to help their neighbourhoods or communities navigate the pandemic and look to build back better in the COVID-19 recovery.

This could include projects that adapt crosswalks and access to public transport to allow for safe physical distancing, the creation of community gardens, art installations, and free Wi-Fi in targeted public spaces. A variety of community-led organizations are eligible to apply, including local governments, charities, Indigenous communities and registered non-profit organizations.

Community Foundation North Okanagan is working alongside Community Foundations of Canada, the Canadian Urban Institute and other partners to serve communities across Canada, including equity-seeking groups interested in applying.

“Public spaces are the glue to our communities; they enable a feeling of belonging and of social cohesion. They are a big part of what makes communities safe, vibrant and connected,” CFNO executive director Leanne Hammond said.

“The goal is to fund projects that can quickly help communities adapt to the challenges presented by COVID-19 and that will help our community to connect safely. In return, benefiting the mental and physical well-being of our residents.”

Organizations interested in submitting an application are encouraged to visit www.cfno.org/chci to learn more about the program, eligibility criteria and how to apply. Organizations can also register to attend information sessions on the program.

The application period for the first round of funding closes on March 9 at 5 p.m. A second application period for funding will take place starting in May.

READ MORE: Community Foundation North Okanagan continues grant program

READ MORE: Community Foundation launches COVID-19 response fund to support charities



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