Each season brings us unexpected weather and blows in new types of economic challenges. Many local charitable organizations continue to be asked to deliver their programs and services with less money while still meeting the growing needs of our communities. We’ve asked charities to “pivot” so many times the word has lost much of its meaning.
The Better Together Fund was started by the Community Foundation North Okanagan to offer support to charitable organizations outside of regular grant programs. No one has a crystal ball, yet throughout the year many service organizations will need to alter their programs or start a new project to meet an unexpected community challenge. Needs and opportunities don’t appear conveniently ‘on schedule’ for structured granting cycles.
“None of us knows what’s coming – what the next big crisis will be, or what opportunities are just around the corner. Being responsive means having the ability to take quick and thoughtful action to overcome obstacles and tackle that next challenge. We need to grow donations to the Better Together Fund and get prepared to step up,” explains Leanne Hammond, executive director of the Community Foundation North Okanagan.
“The Better Together Fund was created to cut through bureaucracy; to mobilize money when it is needed most.”
The flip side of crisis is opportunity. Last year through this fund, the Community Foundation was able to provide the money needed to bus school kids to a National Truth and Reconciliation Day event.
Imagine planning an event only to find out more people want to attend than you had planned on. Rather than cancel this important day of learning, or limit it to schools within walking distance, the Foundation was able to step up within a few days and cover transportation costs to ensure kids throughout the district had equal opportunity to participate.
“So much in life is unpredictable – the Better Together Fund is designed to work in the real world and support the unexpected,” Leanne says. “For charities, access to funding takes time. They write grant applications, obtain letters of reference, secure board approvals, and prepare project budgets. They submit their applications during a specific window of time and then often wait several months for an answer. This process doesn’t make sense when you have a time-sensitive opportunity or would like to respond during a crisis.”
The Better Together Fund offers donors a way to support important projects that arise, right when that help is most needed. In fact, it was at the request of donors that the Community Foundation created this quick-response model. Whether are called upon to handle heat domes or flooding, food shortages or funding shortfalls, this type of support can push a project over the finish line.
When you donate to the Better Together Fund, you are helping our community plan for the unpredictable; by pooling your resources with other like-minded individuals you are helping make an impact – with the right projects, at the right time.
After 47 years of being in relationship with its charitable partners, the Community Foundation North Okanagan understands how critical it is to have a rainy-day fund, especially when it starts pouring outside.