The Government of Manitoba says it is excited to further develop and enrich the arts, culture and sports areas in our province by opening the first intake of $34 million this year.
On August 16, Minister of Sport, Culture and Heritage, Andrew Smith announced that applications are open for the new Arts, Culture and Sport in Community (ACSC) fund.
"We understood that there was an issue after COVID with a lot of our community groups, a lot of them had suffered through COVID and lost volunteers," says Minister Andrew Smith. "A lot of them are volunteer-based organizations so they lost volunteers and they've also lost, in many cases, their ability to fundraise like they used to. We have a fund that exists, it's called the Building Sustainable Communities Fund (BSC), but it doesn't cover the same scope that this project does, which is ACSC, arts, culture, sport, and heritage in a scope."
There are three programs that the arts, culture and sports sectors can apply for, and each of them has guidelines that are better suited to what specific non-profit organizations need:
- Capital Projects. Organizations will be able to apply for up to $5 million, on a 50-50 cost-sharing basis, for large projects that support the development and renewal of spaces and facilities used for arts, culture, and sports programming and activities. The deadline for the submission of the application form and supporting documents is October 31st, 2022.
- Community Celebrations. Events, festivals and celebrations, both one-time and recurring, that promote cultural exchanges and are rooted in inclusion and belonging can receive full funding up to $5,000. The submission form and supporting documents will be (ongoing) quarterly for the next three years.
- Small Capital and Special Initiatives. Projects in this stream can receive between 50 and 100 per cent of eligible expenses, depending on the project's overall cost and will support initiatives such as organizational development opportunities, training, technology, volunteer and equipment development and those that will enhance the organization's ability to increase participation and engagement in arts, culture or sports programming. The deadline for the submission of the application form and supporting documents is September 26th, 2022.
"There's this really steep curve they have to overcome, and we're hoping that with this money that they can apply for, we'll be able to put them over the edge so that they can actually continue to thrive. They can build cultural centres, community centres, sports facilities, whatever it is that's needed to try and, you know, when times are tough, that's when you can spend the money. So, when times are good you can enjoy it and then have the community come back and fund the operations of it."
There is $100 million of funding that will be divided throughout the next three years. $34 million will be granted this year and $33 million for years two and three. This allows for groups that do not get all the funding they need for specific projects and initiatives. The spread-out funding plan allows for groups to prepare the plans for their projects so that when they apply for funding they can get approved.
"This is a good opportunity to try and change the channel on what's happened post-COVID. Hopefully, now we can turn around and make it not only better, but change the dynamics where you start to be able to have these communities in their own community organizations. Some communities are on the smaller side, so they may not have the capital to match, say some of the large, we have a matching requirement of 50-50."
Minister Smith encourages community groups to apply early and be thorough with the application form because there is the possibility for application forms that are not filled out properly to be rejected.
"My recommendation is to apply and apply early. Like any grant program, often some of the big challenges and bottlenecks are the application itself. If there are issues with the application, even if it may seem minor to the person applying, sometimes the person reviewing it might see it as something that would be a red flag and it can get declined. Deliberate and make sure it's very clear to whoever else is reading it at the other end that this is what you want to do and you do meet the requirements. If you don't tell them the requirements, they're not going to second guess it, there could be a change they could get denied."
"I want to see as many applications get accepted this first year."
The website for the fund is: https://www.gov.mb.ca/acsc/ and applications are open and the deadline is fast approaching. Visit the website for the requirements/criteria for each of the three programs, fill out the corresponding form and submit duly filled forms and supporting documents to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-866 Manitoba (626-4862) for guidance.