Change to Victoria’s granting structure needs clarity

Councillor wonders what the fallout will be in community

Moving to a competitive granting program sounds good in theory.

But what exactly it means for community and seniors’ centres is still a big unknown.

That was the concern among councillors, who asked for more tangible information on proposed changes to the way the city doles out grants to non-profit organizations.

“I have not been able to really answer the questions that I’m getting in the community,” Coun. Pam Madoff said at a governance and priorities committee meeting last Thursday.

“What does this look like? … I haven’t got a clue so I can’t say if it’s a good move or a bad move.”

The city’s sustainability department has proposed a move toward a more accountable granting process, which would report on investments and results more thoroughly and would require all non-profits to compete for dollars.

The United Way recently moved to a competitive process, and the change reportedly increased the quality of applications received.

Sustainability department staffer Kimberly Stratford admitted she expects some growing pains.

“It’s not our intention to cut our agencies off at the knees, but to create a competitive process, because right now we give money and … we don’t know what value for money we get.”

Council supported the policy in principle, but asked to see an implementation plan. The policy will also be circulated to all city grant recipients for comment.

rholmen@vicnews.com