United Way-FCSS annual grant program announces recipients

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Over a dozen local organizations will benefit from a large portion of community funding just approved.

The town’s Family & Community Support Services (FCSS) office has maintained an annual joint program with the far-reaching United Way charity in recent years. By the two parties combining their funds meant to benefit local groups, the goal is more efficient use of the funds and cutting down on red tape for the organizations hoping to benefit from the program.

“Every year, we receive a high number of grant applications, and the board has difficult decisions to make,” said FCSS manager Kim Krawec at the last council meeting March 22.

“They go through an intensive process to arrive at their decisions. They review every grant application, hear personally from every funded group, and they go through a full night of discussion and debate to come up with the recommendations.”

$120,000 is available in grant funding altogether, $70,000 from United Way and $50,000 from FCSS. While the FCSS office is funded in large part by the Town of Cochrane and is responsible for administering most of the town’s community-based programming, its complex funding model and range of offerings mean it’s not entirely a town department.

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Thirteen local organizations will receive funding this year. They were categorized into segments of the population served: children & youth, families, seniors and vulnerable populations.

Big Brothers Big Sisters will receive funding for virtual and in-school mentoring in Cochrane, while the local Boys and Girls Club will receive funding for after-school programs. Variety, the charity that funded the accessible playground in Centennial Park, will receive funding for their ‘Just Like You’ disability awareness education.

The new Family Resource Network within the FCSS office will receive funding for their supportive counselling program. Funding was also set aside for future grant decisions through FCSS’ community support program.

The Seniors for Kids Society will receive funding for their senior mentoring project, and Seniors on the Bow will receive funding to replace some of their more unreliable audio-visual equipment.

A resource guide for residents with developmental disabilities, the services of Cochrane and Area Victim Services, a resource worker for low-income housing, Big Hill Haven’s expansion of service hours, the Helping Hands Society and Kindred Cochrane Pride Society will all be funded in part by the program this year.

A breakdown of the funding and a more detailed outline of the beneficiaries are available on the town’s website. Criteria for the organizations include completing a final report and checking in mid-year, as well as carrying out additional fundraising efforts themselves.

Council agreed with FCSS’ recommendations and approved the funding. It was also noted at the meeting that the town-FCSS relationship had also been extended for three more years.

“I know FCSS has had a rotten year,” councillor Susan Flowers acknowledged to the FCSS staff.

“It’s great to see that you’re able to come out and support such a diverse amount of groups and that United Way hasn’t cut back this year which is good news.”

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