BOW VALLEY – Federal funding to support local charities respond to the COVID-19 public health crisis is now available in the Bow Valley.
The Banff Canmore Community Foundation (BCCF) is currently accepting applications for $75,000 in funding through the emergency community support fund, initially announced on April 21 by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
BCCF executive director Bill Fisher said the Bow Valley's portion of that $350 million fund will help support vulnerable populations disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
"We are a big mountain community and we need to take care of each other," Fisher said.
"We have been resilient in the past with other challenges, like the flood. This is another opportunity for our residents to band together and help each other, but to also make sure we stay safe and can really tackle the issues associated with this COVID-19 pandemic."
He said the funding could be a "real shot in the arm" for local charities doing great work on the front lines during these challenging times.
Applications must come from registered charities, but can also include partnerships between a local non-profit and a government agency, like the municipality or school board.
"It is not all that cumbersome [to apply]," Fisher said.
"You can access the grant application portal from our website. From there, it only takes about 20 minutes ... if you have really thought through the merits of your case."
In April, the BCCF also partnered with the Canmore Rotary Club Charitable Foundation and the Wim and Nancy Pauw Foundation to provide emergency grants to frontline agencies.
With all three organizations looking for ways to support the community during this crisis, they said it made sense to combine efforts and provide funding together.
“We know there will be overlapping needs across the valley, and it makes sense that they are addressed jointly," said Pauw Foundation executive director Cathy Geisler in a press release at the time.
"From a solutions standpoint, to a resource standpoint, to a funding standpoint – the dollars will stretch further if we work together.”
Fisher said the committee reviewing grant applications is meeting weekly, and approving applications that meet requirements as soon as possible.
The federal funding, however, is specifically to support efforts that support vulnerable populations like: seniors, those who have to self-isolate or stay home due to having a compromised immune system, unemployed service sector workers, new Canadians, visible minorities and the LGTBQ+ community.
"We want to make sure funding is getting to organizations that can then support those residents in the Bow Valley," Fisher said.
"There is a variety of ways these funds can be used and our goal is to review the applications, vet them, make a decision and get the money out to support that particular organization."
Funds can be used to cover staffing or resource needs, purchase assistance and more, with the deadline to apply at the end of July.
Community foundations across Canada have been tasked with reviewing applications and distributing the federal funding.
“We’re grateful for the leadership of local community foundations like the Banff Canmore Community Foundation, who have been at the forefront of local response efforts since the pandemic was declared," said Community Foundations of Canada president Andrea Dicks in a press release.
"Thanks to the Government of Canada’s contribution, our network will be able to unlock even more local impact for organizations serving vulnerable groups, helping us set the stage for more inclusive, resilient and sustainable communities.”
Go to the BCCF website for more information on the emergency community support fund, eligibility and application submission process.