Sunday, January 14, 2018

Local Councils hear proposal for a community grant writer

Jonathan Skrimshire - Council for the Town of Pincher Creek and Council for the Municipal District of Pincher Creek each received presentations from the Grant Writer Task Group at their first regular meetings of the new year. The group, comprised of Page Murphy, Claren Copp-Larocque, Sam Schofield and James Van Leeuwen, presented the case for the creation of a salaried position for a community grant writer.

The group envisions the creation of a shared community resource: the community grant writer would assist the Town, MD, and a broad range of community organizations in the preparation of grant applications. At present much of this work is performed by inexperienced volunteers. The group argued that having this work performed by a single experienced individual would result in a greater success rate on applications submitted and would free community organizations to focus their volunteer efforts on their core missions.

The group presented their ideas for "the administrative, governing and funding structure necessary to create a position for a grant writer". They conceive of the position being hosted by an appropriate local body operating at arms length from local government - the Pincher Creek and District Chamber of Commerce was one suggestion - and being overseen by a small board drawn from stakeholder organizations. The group is seeking funding support from the Town, MD and stakeholders to launch the initiative, with the hope that the position could evolve to become self-funding over a three year period.

The Town and MD Councils will respond to the group's proposal at their regular Council meetings of January 22 and 23, respectively.


  1. Just when my blood pressure was on its way down with the positive news on the Mill Creek Lagoon issue, this had to come up.

    I cannot begin to tell you how distasteful I find this proposal.

    Grants are handed out by our various levels of government and by corporations. It is our money. We either support these grants by our taxes or by the prices we pay for the goods we consume. These grantors should be encouraged to hand out OUR money based on merit not on how well the request for a grant is worded.

    When these people talk about self-funding I believe they expect to rake in a % of the successful grant applications. This is just another parasitic activity, right up there with the fund raisers for charities and I don't want any part of it.

    1. A pressing challenge facing most rural community service organizations today is declining capacity to prepare and submit applications for grant funding.

      This is principally the result of ongoing decline in the demographic vibrancy and wealth generating capacity of rural communities, a long-term trend that has been steadily evaporating volunteer pools and funding pools that community service organizations depend on for operational sustainability and service effectiveness.

      A key impact has been stasis or steady decline in development opportunities for rural children, youth and businesses, and growing incentives for local youth and businesses to seek greener pastures in larger communities.

      This typically accelerates declines in demographic vibrancy and wealth generating capacity in a self-reinforcing cycle.

      The Grant Writer initiative will significantly improve the capacities of local service organizations to locate, secure and leverage project and operating funds from public, private and philanthropic sources within our community and beyond.

      The initiative will have several long-term positive outcomes:

      1) Considerably more grant applications will be written and submitted than local service organizations are currently able to write and submit, given the limitations described above;

      2) Opportunities for local service organizations to collaborate on projects, programs and operations will be considerably easier to recognize and realize, leading to stronger returns on funding from local and non-local sources;

      3) Grant applications will be better prepared and composed to reflect the genuine merits of a proposal, in relation to the interests of the public, private or philanthropic sources they are submitted to;

      4) The Grant Writer position will become self-sustaining over time (ideally within 2 - 3 years), obviating any need for ongoing financial support from local service organizations or local governments.

      Far from being a 'parasitic' liability, the Grant Writer will be a powerful asset for much-needed social and economic development in the town and district of Pincher Creek.

      Their overall impact will be to significantly improve the community's ability to meet its community and economic development needs and realize stronger returns on its own investments towards this end.

  2. I must be missing something here. I agree that in the short term a Grant Writer could (probably would) be successful in directing more money from the "evaporating funding pool" to this area. But surely other communities would pick up on this and hire their own Grant Writer. The pool distribution would likely return to where it is now but the evaporation of the pool would be accelerated in that it now has to support the Grant Writer Industry as well. Sounds like a potential infestation of parasites to me.

  3. Perhaps you missed the first sentence:

    "A pressing challenge facing most rural community service organizations today is declining capacity to prepare and submit applications for grant funding."


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