Community-led projects awarded gaming grants funding

PEOPLE of all ages and abilities in communities throughout the province will benefit from improvements made to not-for-profit programs and services with capital project funding from the Community Gaming Grants program.

“The pandemic has highlighted the critical need and created an increasing demand for the kinds of services not-for-profits provide for people in British Columbia. These organizations work hard to raise money to buy equipment and make renovations that create more inclusive and accessible spaces like transition and recovery homes, elevators and universal washrooms,” said Josie Osborne, Minister of Municipal Affairs, on Mionday. “Our government is committed to investing in not-for-profit organizations by supporting their efforts to help people thrive in healthy, vibrant communities.”

The Community Gaming Grants program provided $5 million to 45 not-for-profit groups for capital projects in 2021-22. Funding will be used to help local organizations make upgrades to their facilities and community infrastructure, update technology and buy vehicles and equipment for programs.

Examples of the projects funded include:

* a new elevator and universal washroom at the ArtStarts in Schools society in Vancouver so that members have better, more accessible amenities;

* the redevelopment of the original Aunt Leah’s House so that more mothers and their children will have shelter and services;

* a building renovation of the Foundry Langley gathering and inclusivity space so that youth can better access inclusive gathering spaces;

* the construction of a post-treatment recovery home for the Lillooet Friendship Centre so that adults in need can have more support to strengthen their recovery from addiction and their overall wellness; and

* the Otter Point Boardwalk replacement for the Williams Lake Field Naturalists so that people can access a more flood-resistant and wheelchair-accessible boardwalk.

The Province continues to prioritize capital projects through 2021-22 to support not-for-profit organizations that are facing increased demand for services during the pandemic. Many organizations will also be using funding to make modifications that support physical distancing and other measures to ensure they meet public health and safety guidelines.

“Aunt Leah’s Foundation is thrilled to receive this critical funding for the rebuilding of the original Aunt Leah’s House where, over 35 years ago, the organization began to provide supported housing and services for mothers at risk of losing custody of their children,” said Jacqueline Dupuis, executive director for Aunt Leah’s Foundation. “In 2020, Aunt Leah’s provided safe housing and security to 25 mothers and children, and the new Aunt Leah’s House will increase our capacity to help keep families together and successfully achieve independence.”

The Community Gaming Grants program has made it a condition that all grant funding through 2021-2022 comply with provincial health orders, and the program is providing flexibility for organizations to delay project and service delivery until they can do so safely.

Lawrie Portigal, Vice Chair, BC Association for Charitable Gaming, said: “Support for capital infrastructure has always been a critical piece for many not-for-profits, especially in this trying time. I congratulate the successful applicants and applaud the gaming branch and provincial government for providing this opportunity for groups to access much-needed funding for critical capital projects that are essential for recovery and sustainability of the sector.”

Niki Sharma, Parliamentary Secretary for Community Development and Non-Profits, said: “Funding from the Community Gaming Grants program is vital for non-profit organizations to continue the important work that is empowering people and communities throughout British Columbia as our economy recovers from the pandemic.”

Quick Facts

* The full list of capital projects sector recipients is available here:

* Since 2017, capital project sector grants have helped 332 not-for-profit organizations in 110 communities buy equipment and make renovations essential to their operations.

* Every year, commercial gaming revenue funds essential government programs and services, including health care, education, justice and social services throughout B.C.
* As much as $140 million of gaming revenue benefits communities through the 5,000 organizations that the Community Gaming Grants program supports each year, with $5 million dedicated to funding the capital project sector.

* Community Gaming Grants provide funding to arts and culture groups, sports, environment, public safety, human and social services, as well as parent advisory councils in schools throughout B.C.

* Each year, eligible organizations can apply for a capital project sector grant, in addition to one of the six sectors of regular Community Gaming Grants.