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Committee takes a look at grant money allocations

The results of a new system of handing out city grants will be considered Wednesday by a city council committee.
Council’s community and social services committee will have a chance to question members of the city’s new grant committee, which consists of eight citizens recruited and chosen by city hall.
A year ago, council approved a new system that involves handing out grants to local non-profit groups based on how they contribute to the city’s “well-being priorities.” The groups can apply for small operating or project grants, and for the first time they can also apply for capital funding.
“This program is designed to direct city funding to not-for-profit, non-governmental community organizations to promote the well-being of Guelph residents,” says a new city staff report.
The 2014 grants budget was $279,400, but the city received 77 grant applications totalling almost $765,000. Forty-three of the 77 organizations were awarded grants – 27 for operating costs, 13 for project costs and three for capital costs.
The grant committee found that the “quality of financial information provided by the applicants was inconsistent,” and it wants future improvements in this area, the report says.
The only 2014 grant under $1,000 was a $550 grant to the Kinette Club of Guelph to provide group tours for seniors of Christmas lights on city streets and a drive through the Sparkles in the Park display in Riverside Park.
Grants of $15,000 – the maximum allowed – went to the Guelph Arts Council and also to the Guelph Jazz Festival.
Wellington Watchers is getting a $7,000 grant that will allow it to hire a new part-time employee and to expand its public outreach activities.
City hall provided some information earlier this year about the 2014 city grant allocations. But the new staff report gives a bit of detail about each winning application – and some of the wording is curious.
Faery Fest Inc. got a $6,000 grant for 2014, and the explanation provided by the report is: “Attract visitors from Guelph and surrounding townships through advertising, venue cost and the rising cost of Jousting.”
Jousting is one of the attractions of the annual Faery Fest, which is moving this year to Marden Park after several years in Guelph’s Riverside Park.

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