Ink on the 2013 budget was barely dry before regional district directors faced requests for additional funding.
Two Okanagan organizations approached the regional district board on April 4 to explain their work in the valley – and ask for some grant money.
Accelerate Okanagan is an organization committed to bringing science and technology companies to the Okanagan, with a mission to help entrepreneurs start and grow technology companies.
Accelerate Okanagan is partnered with a number of organizations including Gowlings Law Firm, Grant Thornton Accountants, KPMG Kelowna, Pushor Mitchell mLaw Firm, Unversity of British Columbia and White Kennedy Accountants. The group receives core funding through Western Economic Diversification and the BC Innovation Council.
Response by the board to Acelerate Okanagan’s request for $25,000was lengthy and variable, with several directors favouring a grant in aid to the endeavour, while others expressed concern over the tech promoting organization’s “Kelowna-centric” base, asking why the RDOS should help fund the enterprise when most of the group’s activities are taking place in the central Okanagan. The board, after some debate, opted to defer a motion to provide the grant was put forward by Osoyoos Director Stu Wells.
The Community Foundation of the South Okangan – Similkameen’s Executive Director, Aaron McRann, also approached the board to discuss the foundation’s work and request a partnership with the RDOS – at some point – with a funding request for $10,000.
The Community Foundation currently controls 6.3 million dollars in assets, having granted 1,250,000 over its 22 year history to a wide variety of charitable and non- profit causes. Calling the foundation a “360 degree funder,” McRann said Community Futures recently became involved in the “Smart and Caring Communities” campaign, which will focus on collaborating with regional district communities to build a “culture of philanthropy” to the region. Community Foundation received an anonymous donation of $100,000 to fund the salary of Sarah Trudeau, hired as the foundation’s Regional Development Coordinator.
The board’s discussion over McRann’s request centred on other requests for funding that had been deferred prior to budget finalization, noting as well that a number of agencies applying to the regional district for funding were also applying to member municipalities, creating a “double dipping” scenario that many directors disagreed with.