The deadline to apply for operational funding under the Community Investment Fund (CIF) for the Region of Queens Municipality is January 29.
For years, the region has supported not-for-profit groups for funding to help them with infrastructure projects, training and expanding their services.
For the 2020-21 fiscal year, the fund’s second year of existence, the region approved $189,000 to be given to local groups and organizations.
“It’s a pretty sizeable amount. This doesn’t include the facade program and other related programs that we offer,” said RQM Mayor Darlene Norman. “I think this is pretty good for our size and you also have to realize that we don’t charge our not-for-profit groups taxes on any of their buildings or properties either.”
The CIF was approved by council in November 2018 and the new fund brought together a number of different programs that had been in place. In its first year — 2019 — $133,111 was given out.
The CIF program is separated into Operating Investment and Capital Investment Funds.
Operating Investment Funds are divided into three categories – event/tournament investment funds, training investment funds and travel assistance investment funds.
Assistance for eligible capital funds is open year-long.
Last year, on the operational side of the fund, almost $51,000 was distributed to 10 groups.
One of the recipients was the Community Food Resource Network (CFRN) in Caledonia, which is operated by Dianne Huskins and received $5,000 in April 2020.
CFRN has been renting part of a building to use and the funds were allotted so the group could take over the entire building.
The COVID-19 pandemic changed Huskins’s plans for this. Instead, the money was used to pay rent, allowing for the full 100 per cent of donations to be used for food to distribute to people in need in North Queens. CFRN also operates Muriel’s Closet, a place to hold rummage sales with all items donated by community members.
Jessica Smith, the administrator for the Hank Snow Home Town Museum in Liverpool, said the $10,000 the museum received was a much-needed boost.
“It definitely helped our museum stay open this year. It was such a huge help. I honestly don’t know what we would have done without it,” she said.
Nonetheless, the museum was closed for the majority of the tourism season, and Smith reported that visitor numbers were down about 90 per cent last year from 2019. And it was unable to hold its Hank Snow Tribute, its largest annual fundraiser.
Smith said she’s happy to let other groups know about the feasibility of obtaining the grant. “It helps not-for-profits and small businesses like us. It’s also not like many other grants where there are pages and pages that have to be filled out. It is pretty easy,” said Smith.
Kevin McBain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin