The Pat Porter Active Living Centre had a busy 2023, giving over 5,000 people a ride, serving over 16,000 meals, and providing programming for a community of 44,000 individuals, including returning participants. 

Pat Porter had an income of just over $1 million in 2023, the main sources of which were grants, fundraising, and programming. 

Executive Director Audrey Harder says it’s the grants that helped pay their staff, got their games room completed, as well as install their new doors throughout the building. 

“And all automatic doors with the push button, so they're completely accessible.” 

She notes although their programming is quite affordable, the funding adds up quickly.

“Our programming is really not expensive, if you are a member, it's $2 per program. Those $2 add up over the year, and rentals, all of that increased significantly over the last year.” 

Harder says she was shocked when she realized how much money they made in 2023. 

“When we put it all together and I did my summary of the year, I almost fell out of my chair because I never expected that because when I first started it was around $430,000,” she says. “The income was still less than the expense, unfortunately, but that's how it goes sometimes.” 

The income for 2023 was $1,009,000 and the expenses were $1,049,000. 

“Some of the income we're still waiting to come in, so it'll come pretty close I think.” 

The Pat Porter has seen a lot of growth besides funds.

Since 2019, they have doubled their membership from 300 to 650. 

They also had about 12,000 people attend programs in 2019, which in 2023 was over 44,000. 

“So we've seen a quadruple in attendance in programming itself.” 

She adds that they used to have around 20 programs a week, and now they have between 50-80. 

Harder adds she has enjoyed seeing people get healthier. 

“People who come here, they start attending and whether it be for socializing or physical, we see people getting healthier and feeling better and knowing that they belong somewhere, which makes a huge difference.” 

Harder adds they have seen a huge increase in rides through their Steinbach Accessible Transit program, and part of that has been because of organizations like the Steinbach Legion and Classic Car Club that donate toward rides for people. 

“So when people aren't able to afford it, they can still get a ride, and that to me has been more of a success than the numbers themselves.” 

They have two drivers running almost every day and have opened up rides to evenings and weekends, whereas in the past it was always just during the day. 

“So the success isn't just more rides in the same time frame, we've spread out the time frame a bit and that has been because the City of Steinbach supports that, and they've been really great to work with.” 

As for their upcoming building expansion, Harder says they are looking forward to it as they are running out of space and need more space for both programs and rentals. 

She says they have way more demand for rentals than spaces they can supply. 

Harder also notes their staffing has grown from a team of eight to a team of 22. 

"If you spend any time in our office area, you'll see 22 people sharing 4 offices. Doesn't really always work great, but we manage.” 

The estimated cost for their upcoming expansion is $4.9 million, and they are waiting to see if their grant application will be chosen to receive the funding.

Harder is also working with local organizations to try and lower the $4.9 million. 

“Although the building we've planned at this point looks wonderful, I've started to make some changes already just to reduce costs.” 

She says they want to keep everything in the plans that is necessary, they just want to make sure that it’s the most affordable way to do it. 

“We're trying to think ahead and do a good job of planning, not just going with our first thoughts.” 

If they get the grant, construction has to start by the beginning of September. 

If they don’t get the grant, they might have to wait until next spring. 

“We might have to put it off longer, which would be unfortunate, but all good things take time, and we don't want to rush and make a mistake and have a building that's not what we want and not what we need.”