By RON FANFAIR
Organizations that deliver culturally appropriate services to newcomers could benefit from a $50 million community capital fund launched by the Ontario government last week.
The new fund will support infrastructure projects that help the province’s non-profit organizations to deliver critical public services to diverse cultural communities. These include newcomer settlement services, multi-service community centres, performance venues and cultural activity centres.
Minister of Tourism and Culture Michael Chan says the new fund will strengthen diversity, support local economic development and create more jobs for the province’s families.
“This is one more important way to further improve the lives of Ontarians,” said Chan. “This initiative will address the capital needs of these variable organizations and equip them to better serve Ontarians through services that foster great leadership and develop a strong work force, services that provide room for people to grow and services that help individuals contribute more to our economy.
“The growth of Ontario’s non-profit organizations is absolutely important for Ontarians to compete in an ever-changing globalized world. Organizations that serve Ontario’s diverse populations do receive funding for their operating expenditure…Funding for capital projects is very, very limited. As a result, operating budgets often become over-stretched.”
The Ontario Trillium Fund (OTF) will administer the fund.
“It will further enhance the foundation’s capacity to build healthy and vibrant communities across Ontario,” said OTF chair Helen Burstyn. “We have good working relationships with an extensive (range) of community groups which will contribute to making this program a success.
“This opens up a whole new window of opportunities for these organizations. It will provide funding for new buildings as well as renovations, retrofits and upgrades to existing buildings.”
Application forms and selection criteria will be made available in September for the program that will fund up to 50 per cent of total project costs, with a minimum contribution of $20,000 and a maximum of $50,000.
“Because the program requires organizations to come up with matching funds, this will be an opportunity for them to engage their whole community in supporting and promoting capital projects,” Burstyn added.
Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI) executive director Debbie Douglas challenged the federal government and the corporate community to support the initiative.
“This is a good opportunity for you to show the kind of leadership that the provincial government is showing,” she said. “This fund helps to strengthen our member organizations in terms of governance, programs, finance, administration and looking at space and ensuring they are meeting the kinds of expectations that communities and our clients have.”
The deadline for completion of the projects is December 31, 2012.
Interested agencies and organization can contact the Ontario Trillium Foundation for additional details.