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At the Committee of the Whole meeting on Monday, Council will be asked to approve a new policy covering grants from the Town that spells out who are the organizations approved to get grants and what are the rules.  Grants will only be provided to non-profit organizations, they must “benefit the community by assisting the arts, culture and social well-being”, they must benefit a “wide segment” of the community and it must be approved as part of the budget process. There is also a collection of other rules although in the end, grants are approved – or not – by a Council vote.

Notable is an absence of a dollar limit of how much could be given altogether or to one organization.  Although the policy includes some ambiguities and likely would not be lawyer approved, it is clear that applicants must be organizations, not individuals, and that they must meet the following criteria:

  • Be one of:
  • An incorporated not-for-profit
  • A minor sports association or organization
  • A Community service organization or group that returns 100% of its net proceeds to the community for the community's benefit.
  • Be organizations which have demonstrated a desire to help themselves;
  • Promote and enhance the well-being of the Town and its citizens;
  • Ensure that the requested service, activity or program is open to the community;
  • Have a volunteer board with directors and financial statements and have been in existence at least a year;
  • The grant must not be the sole source of funding.
  • May be requests for financial assistance for events of municipal, provincial or national significance which are expected to bring economic and public relation benefits to the Town of Cobourg;
  • Applications must be on the official application form and include financial statements from the previous year and a budget;
  • Only one application per year is allowed
  • Applications must be made by October 31st so they can be included in the budget process (an exception would be made for this year)
  • Report back at the end of the year on how the money was spent – which must be for the sole purpose for which it was awarded within the current fiscal year.

Grants are divided into categories:

  • Community Project
  • Operating
  • In-kind Contributions
  • Special Events

There is more detail on categories and the rules in the full policy – download a copy of draft below

The Policy also states:

Other requests for waiver of fees and in-kind donations may be granted in exceptional circumstances at other times during the budget year in writing to the Municipal Clerk by requesting delegation status at a Council Meeting for approval by Council.

Municipal Council has the sole authority to approve Community Grants, and Council will not approve any grant application which does not promote and improve the cultural, social, and economic well-being of the Community, and any grant not in-line with the municipal values.

On the application form the Town asks:

What will the funding be used for: (Be specific to how the request will improve quality of life within the Town of Cobourg).

So it’s clear that the Policy spells out that grants are not intended for feel-good Charitable causes but only where there is a defined benefit to the Town in “arts, culture and social well-being”.

Download a copy of the proposed Policy here (the introductory memo has been omitted).

Addendum Nov 16, 2015

This policy was approved at the regular Council Meeting on Nov 16.



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