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City shells out $279,000 in grants

The city has announced more than $279,000 in funding for 43 local charity or not-for-profit organizations through its Wellbeing Grant Program.
The grants support a variety of programs and services aligned with the goals of the city’s Community Wellbeing Initiative, a news release said. These include increasing democratic participation, improving standards of living, promoting healthy living, improving community vitality, and supporting arts, culture, leisure, education and environment.
This year, the city received 77 applications, representing requests for more than $760,000 in funding, the release said.
To make the application process more fair, city council approved some improvements to the grant program, it said.
“The improved Wellbeing Grant Program includes a robust policy with clear goals, more accountability and transparency, performance measures, and reporting requirements,” Barbara Powell, the city’s general manager of community engagement and social service, said in the release.
“Under the new program, organizations receiving funding are required to report how they spent the money and what it achieved for the community,” she said.
A panel of eight citizens with expertise in community benefit organizations was also appointed to review the grant allocation decisions.
“The citizen allocation panel is an important aspect of the grant program, as it increases community participation in municipal decision making,” Powell said.
For the 2015 grant applications, the city will offer training sessions and guidance material “to ensure applicants understand the process and that they include important information the panel needs to make informed decisions,” she said.

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