Excitement is building at the Community Foundation of the North Okanagan offices as April’s arrival signals the start of Spring Granting season.
While more than a half-million dollars of designated and donor-directed funds are typically distributed in the winter, spring brings the opportunity for the Foundation to distribute income from undesignated funds in response to community need.
Local charities working in the areas of arts & culture, education, environment, health and social services submit their grant applications by March 31. The Foundation’s volunteer granting committee then evaluates and awards eligible applications for program-related or capital at the end of May.
After seeing the amount available for the Spring Grants Cycle climb incrementally from the $60,000-range in 2011-13, larger gains have been realized in recent years as awareness grows about the impact these grants have on such a wide range of groups, says Foundation executive director Leanne Hammond.
Last year, they broke the $100,000 mark, allowing the Foundation to distribute an unprecedented $116,508. This year, Hammond expects to be able to surpass $200,000!
“A few years ago, we were lucky if we could fund about one-third of the grant requests we received; this year, there’s a chance we could say yes to almost all of them!” Hammond says.
The rising donations point to a growing awareness of the impact undesignated giving can have.
“Donors are listening and paying attention to what our Vital Signs report tells us about community needs. It’s exciting to see donors leveraging our Grants Cycle funding and responding to where the needs are greatest and where they can have the most impact,” Hammond says.
Donors have many choices in how to give
“It’s about the power of ‘AND’,” Hammond explains. Donors can allocate some of the income on their fund to favourite charities, and also leave a portion undesignated for the Community Granting Cycle. They needn’t choose between their favourite causes OR other community needs. “We look at ways we can work together to help you do both.”
The potential is vast.
“To know as we go through these applications that we’ll have enough money to say yes to most of them is such a rewarding experience,” says Brad Marsh, chair of the volunteer granting committee. “Our donors are increasingly recognizing how impactful flexible funding can be.”
As the Vital Signs report shows, however, there’s always more to do, as the community needs grow and evolve.
For more information about applying for a community grant or exploring a granting partnership, visit the Foundation online at cfno.org or call today at 250-542-8655.