Fort St. John's North Peace Community Foundation is getting ready to open its doors.
In less than a month, community groups and not-for-profit agencies in the city will be able to apply for funds through the foundation.
In the past, funding applications, for some groups, might have been made through the City of Fort St. John's grants-in-aid program.
That, though, will now be administered by the foundation – a decision made formal by city council Monday.
“This is something we have been working on for a long time,” said mayor Lori Ackerman.
“When we negotiated with Site C, part of that was a legacy fund agreement and how do you truly ensure that it is a legacy? You receive those funds. You take it out of the hands of council and you put it into the community. By creating a community foundation, you are assured (there's) some longevity.”
“The partnership agreement approved today allows us the opportunity to now reach out directly to the groups and let them know the process has changed,” said the foundation's executive director, Susan Adams.
As part of the decision, the city is also revamping its permissive tax exemption program.
“That grant program no longer exists in name but in purpose it does, and you would come through the foundation, through the grants-in-aid program,” said Adams.
Churches, for example, one of the groups that might have had property taxes waived under the permissive tax exemption program. They'll now apply through grants-in-aid.
While the foundation is based in Fort St. John, the hope is its boundaries will expand to communities like Taylor, Hudson's Hope, and areas B and C in the regional district.
“When you take that grants-in-aid decision out of the hands of politicians and put it into the hands of people in the community, they're quite often very informed on the non-profits and the work that they are doing and they can provide some good expertise,” explained Ackerman, who said the process may also bring an added benefit.
“They start getting a little more engaged in the community, they may wanna decide to run for council.”
Opening day for the foundation is September 1.
Funding applications for 2023 or intakes, as Adams termed it, will be accepted in September and October.
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