On November 18, the Community Grant Review Committee met and recommended semi-annual grants. The 327 page PDF agenda containing the grant applications is available in the resources below.
Some community groups in Sooke did not receive any of the funding they requested, though they have been funded frequently in the past. Councillor Kerry Reay, who is Chair of the Community Grant Review Committee, posted an explanation on her public Facebook page. Recognizing that not all in Sooke are on Facebook, and of those who are, they may not be following Councillor Reay, Sooke PocketNews is forwarding this information on our pages.
For the purposes of this content, we are looking only at Category A grants.
This article contains:
- A table of Category A Grants (verification in process);
- Councillor Kerry Reay’s post from her public Facebook page. Reay is the Chair of the Community Grants Review Committee; and
- Response from Caryl Wilford, the Sooke Community Arts Council’s Grant writer and Acting President.
Table of grants
All numbers have been verified by the District.
Here is a table of what was requested, and what was recommended. The final column lists the total grant funding received.
|Agency||Request amount||Recommended||Total Category A Grants Received|
|Sooke Food Bank||$10,000||$10,000||$14,862|
|Citizens on Patrol Sooke||$2,800||$2,800||$12,400|
|EMCS Society for the Sooke Youth Council||$7,000||$3,500||$57,146|
|EMCS Student Art Bus Shelter Project||$1,925.87||$0 (the Committee did recommend the application come forward in 2016 as a Category B Grant)||$17,367|
|Greater Victoria Bike to Work Week||$300||$0||$1,200|
|JDF Regional Park Watch Society||$5,000||$1,000||$65,116|
|Sooke Community Arts Council||$4,000||$0||$37,750|
|Sooke Residents in Need Society – Victim Services||$8,323||$8,323||$74,430|
|Sooke Residents in Need Society – Crisis Centre||$6,120||$6,120||$73,427|
|Sooke Lions Club||$5,000||$5,000||$11,000|
|Sooke Family Resource Society||$5,000||$2,000 (+$600 contingent on them providing further support for travel costs)||$33,436|
|Sooke Region Food CHI||$7,000||$0||$51,265|
|Sooke Fine Arts Society||$7,000||$3,500||$54,000|
|Vancouver Island South Film and Media Commission||$1,000||$500||$3,000|
|Wild Wise Sooke||$2,925||$2,925||$1,225|
|Need 2 – Suicide Prevention and Awareness||$3,184||$1,592||$33,537|
|Sooke River Bluegrass Festival||$5,000||$0||New|
|Bipolar disorder society of BC||$4,500||$0||New|
Councillor Kerrie Reay’s post
The following is Kerry Reay’s post on her public Facebook page. The link is provided in the resources below.
-by Kerry Reay
It’s always easy to be an arm chair critic, we see all sorts of reviews across many facets of day to day life, why a football team did so poorly, what was wrong with the dinner presentation, the taste tests of wines, movie reviews and so goes it with the Community Grant Committee. I think one of the easiest things people can do is to criticize the work of others and speculation is always easy, it’s usually what makes a good rumor. So, just to be clear two years ago, the Sooke Taxpayer was paying out over $72,000 in what we call Category A grants (programs, events, wages) and $65,000 in Category B grants (capital items) for a total of $137,000 with many suggesting if the money is there it should be spent. My question has been “why should it be spent”? Asking this question doesn’t mitigate or take away from the great work and contributions and benefits that organizations/groups provide to the community of Sooke and our citizens – it is a responsible question to ask.
So, to set the record straight. There is no hidden agenda, there is no plan waiting to be hatched. It was time for the Grants to be reviewed. It was timing given that the requests for A grants now exceeded the amount budgeted for. When organizations are showing balances of $50,000 why should they need tax payer money? I don’t support grant money being provided to one organization so that they can give grant money to organizations already receiving funding from the District of Sooke.What is wrong with reviewing funding to organizations that have been receiving money from the tax payer for years, some groups having received over $30,000 or $50,000? Why shouldn’t organizations be held accountable for receiving tax payer money? Why shouldn’t we look to how that money is being spent? Why shouldn’t we question when budgets are $200,000 and $400,000 and people are pulling wages from the program. Why shouldn’t we look to how much Sooke is paying if we have 1.4% of the CRD population and paying 6.8% of the cost? Where is the fairness for the Sooke taxpayer? Why aren’t other municapilites paying their fair share? What is the advantage to the community of Sooke as a whole? Why shouldn’t we look to see if there is an opportunity to open up the funding so that other projects or events might be able to get some funding? Or is it expected those first at the grant table means exclusion of others? Or should we increase taxes so that more money can go into the grants. In my view grants are a privilege not a right. It is tax payer’s money and I have heard loud and clear that people have had enough of taxes going up. So when a huge portion of your grants are going to art groups and then you look at scaling it back or withdrawing some of it, now you are pegged as Anti-Art and Culture, which can’t be further from the truth.
I don’t support maximizing a pot of money with the same groups year after year to the exclusion of opportunities to others. Why do we expect sport groups to do all their own fundraising, they are all volunteers, parents who work and are very busy – because that it what we expect. At the end of the day it is tax payers money and as a Council we are entrusted to spend it wisely and being accountable for every penny.
I have taken a history lesson from the pages of Elida Peers and volunteering organizations like the Sooke Community Association that was and continues to be the fabric of the community of Sooke. If they had a project, they fund raised – might take a couple of years, but they did it without the taxpayers money. Take Millennium Memorial Park on Maple Street, they fundraised over a $100,000.00 to buy that piece of property from a developer, not looking to the taxpayer … then they turned it over to the District of Sooke. Did you know that the volunteer work of the Community Association owned all the property that Seaparc has? They sold that property for $1.00 to Seaparc.
Hard work and fundraising by the Sooke Community Association has been an integral part of making Sooke what it is today. I believe there is a lesson here.
Rebuttal from Caryl Wilford, Sooke Community Arts Council’s Grant writer and Acting President
-by Caryl Wilford
I would like to address the comments above made by Kerrie Reay on behalf of the Sooke Community Arts Council and to set the record straight on a number of points she has made here.
Our group does not have a balance of $50,000 in our accounts. Nowherenear that amount. As a non-profit our books are open for scrutiny by anyone who wishes to see them.
Grant monies that the SCAC has distributed as mentioned in Ms Reay’s communication above have been received by our group from the matching grants from the BC Arts Council. These monies have not come out of the monies given to us by the District of Sooke. They do not have the restrictions for use that Ms. Reay feels they should have.
The mandate of the Sooke Community Arts Council is to promote and support the arts in all forms. $1500 per year from the BC Arts Council matching grant of $4000 per year has been distributed to the Sooke Fine Arts Show to help fund their world class Art Show that has and continues to put Sooke on the map. That $1500 has also helped fund the Sooke Fine Art Shows Appetite for Art that raises money for the Food Bank here in Sooke. Some of the monies that came from the BC Arts Council matching Grant has been distributed to the Sooke Philharmonic Orchestra. $1500 per year has been distributed to them yearly to help with the costs they incur putting on their world class performances here in Sooke and the surrounding areas. A grant of $250 was given to Sooke Food Chi to help support Applefest this year. The monies raised from that went to the Sooke Food Bank. We have also funded worthy individuals in their pursuit of the arts in many forms. Written, dance, music, 3D, painting, among the artistic endeavors we have supported. Again, these funds came from the BC Arts Council to fulfill our mandate of supporting the arts. The monies DID NOT come from the District of Sooke.
The catch in all this is that without funding on the District level, we are not eligible for a matching grant from the BC Arts Council. That will be the case this year if in fact we receive 0 funding from the District. If we do not get funding from the District next year, we will lose our standing with the BC Arts Council and will cease to exist. There will be no further promotion of the Arts in Sooke by the Sooke Community Arts Council. A requirement of our basic funding from the BC Arts Council is that we have Local Government support.
The grant money that we did receive from the Sooke District goes towards the promotion of Art in our Community of Sooke and beyond the borders all the way to Port Renfrew. That is our mandate and one we take very seriously.
A perfect example of what we do is the Winter Show being held in The Reading Room as we speak. The owner Kathe was kind enough to supply a space there for us to do this. We do not have a space to call our own here in Sooke. Unlike the sports groups we do not have lit fields nor million dollar sports complexes. We rely on the kindness of the local businesses. The people who come to see the shows we put on help support a local business like Kathe’s by purchasing food and beverages while looking at the art on the walls and on the shelves.
Every individual in the Sooke Community Arts Council is a volunteer. We have no paid staff. A challenge when people have busy lives. Not a dime of the money we receive from the District of Sooke nor the BC Arts Council goes to wages. We have almost 150 members on our Mailchimp list…individuals as well as businesses and other art groups. We are an umbrella group for all.
As we have no home base, Fredique Phillip of the Sooke Harbour House allows us the use of that beautiful location to hold our meetings.
We also host and participate directly in the SeaParc Family Arts in the Spring. All through volunteer efforts.
We do a Spring Show very much like the Winter Show at the Museum in Sooke. We promote the artists in our region all on a shoestring budget and all done by volunteers.
We have put on Art in the Park for over 10 years promoting the artists who participate and this past year showcased some of the amazing local musical talent. Again, all on a shoestring budget with volunteer efforts.
Beach Art at Whiffen Spit happened again this past year through the efforts of the Sooke Community Arts Council. Again we are fulfilling the mandate given to us by the BC Arts Council.
We collaborate with the Sooke Fine Arts for Appetite for Art. We collaborate with Sooke Food Chi for Applefest.
We are an extremely busy and involved organization. Run by volunteers. We are not a business. We are not doing this to end up with a large bank account. We receive funds and we spend those funds through endless hours of unpaid work for the benefit of our community.
In doing all of this we ensure the local business community benefits. We do our advertising through local businesses, we do our printing through local businesses, we rent storage space from a local business. The monies we spend goes back into the local economy. About 95% of the monies we receive in funding goes back into the community.
The people we attract to Sooke for these events spend money at local businesses: restaurants, accommodations, tourist attractions, food stores, gas stations. The trickle down benefits go on and on.
Those involved in the Sooke Community Arts Council put in untold hours to make this all happen. Unpaid hours. For the benefit of the Community of Sooke. To not receive the support financially from the District is a huge blow both financially ( we stand to lose not only the $4000 from the District but the $4000 matching grant ftom the BC Arts Council ) but it is also very demoralizing to not have the support of the local governing body. To hear them say they appreciate our efforts is sounding very hollow at this point in time.
- Agenda package for the Community Grant Review Committee meeting
- Councillor Kerrie Reay’s public Facebook page
- Direct link to Councillor Kerrie Reay’s post on Facebook
- Caryl Wilford on Facebok
- Information on applying for a community grant in Sooke