A second funding infusion is on its way to boost the West Coast’s Canadian content.
The Clayoquot Biosphere Trust has announced another round of Canada 150 grants and is ready to make $30,000 of support rain on local community-building initiatives.
“We want to support projects that foster a greater sense of belonging, support meaningful reconciliation and leave a legacy for Canada,” the CBT’s executive director Rebecca Hurwitz told the Westerly News.
“We’re always celebrating our local communities and ecosystems, but this has that additional lens of recognizing the anniversary of Canada and the future that we’re hoping to achieve.”
The CBT dished out $35,000 worth of Canada 150 grants at the end of 2016, but received so much interest that a second round of funding was set up.
“We wanted to test it out and see what the community reception was,” Hurwitz said of the first round.
“There was a strong interest in the fall and we had feedback from people that, because it was a new idea, they didn’t have enough time for their organizations to understand the opportunity and submit an application, so we wanted to create a second window for that.”
The Canada 150 grants are funded by a partnership between the CBT and Community Foundations Canada, which is helping Canadian communities celebrate the nation’s 150th birthday by supporting particularly patriotic projects being pursued by local charities, governments and institutions. Hurwitz said the CBT reached out to Community Foundations Canada to ask if a second round of funding was feasible and the federal organization was happy to oblige. She suggested the grants offer important opportunities for West Coasters to think about what being Canadian means to them.
“There’s a real spectrum for people of what it means to be Canadian. Some people identify strongly with that and others not so much. This is an opportunity to have a conversation about what it means for us to be Canadian,” she said.
“I was born on Canada Day, so for me my national pride has always been strong and something that I took for granted growing up but, living here, I’m really aware that not everybody identifies in the same way with being Canadian and there’s lots of good reasons for that,” Hurwitz said.
“We have a long history on the West Coast and a history that’s much longer than the history of Canada. We’re a place that reminds Canada of that and that’s important to remember.”
She hopes the projects the grants help launch lead to valuable and necessary conversations.
“My wish for 2017, is that we take the time to talk about what it means to be Canadian and I think that these projects are going to support some of those conversations and dialogue and have an impact on the future of Canada,” she said.
“It’s important to talk about that.”
She added it’s been neat to see the federal government put such a keen focus on local initiatives and work with organizations like the CBT to support local projects.
“I really appreciate that this national program is looking to local community foundations to identify projects that are meaningful in their regions,” she said.
“It’s super cool. They’re going to the grassroots and the applications will be reviewed by a local volunteer committee, so it’s Canadians making decisions about what’s meaningful in our region.”
The deadline for grant applications falls on Feb. 20.