Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The Community Foundation of Southeastern Alberta sees the silver lining in unprecedented times, with $1.3 million distributed across their various funding streams, according to the CFSEA Annual Report.
“Typically we grant about $450,000, but due to some emergency funding that came through the Government of Canada and the Government of Alberta, we are able to support charities who were working with our most vulnerable populations in the early days of the pandemic,” said Niki Gray, Acting Executive Director.
The CFSEA experienced substantial growth this year, said Gray. While they had distributed significant funding in the previous year, they didn’t see as significant a rate of return, where they saw 25%, something Gray considers one of many highlights.
“Our highs are definitely on the $1.3 million that was distributed through grants. A lot of our impact stories are always something that we like to highlight within the report itself. We didn’t see a ton of lows,” said Gray. “Through our youth in philanthropy program, we had a record number of schools who participated and youth groups. Through our funding, we were able to distribute well over what we anticipated, and the donations that came in were substantial due to a couple of bequests.”
“As for lows, of course, we are seeing that charities and frontline workers continue to lead the charge and support those who need it most in the fight against COVID-19. So we will continue to seek opportunities beyond our ongoing grants to support those disproportionately affected by the pandemic,” said Gray. “We also highlight the amount of grants that went out to our rural communities, which is always something that we are trying to strive for and promote that we are in those communities and have the opportunity and donors there have the opportunity to give where they live to impact the community that they live in. Honestly, we didn’t see a ton of lows. And this and I know in annual reports, you always want to look for those to see the positives and negatives, but the work that our charities are doing to support those in the frontline workers right there, they’re supporting their communities and vulnerable populations. And that is still a trend that we see and will foresee going into 2022.”
Gray notes the generosity of their communities and donors in the region, which allowed them to help those who need it most over the course of their fiscal year.
CFSEA looks forward to continuing to help communities and organizations throughout the region even with the unpredictability of the ongoing pandemic, through both new and existing programs.
“We’re looking forward to seeing some of the projects that are coming out from our charities and unique ways in how they’re supporting their clientele and some fundraising opportunities for them too, so we are reaching out to the agencies across Southeast Alberta through a joint agency endowment building program,” said Gray. “So working with agencies to help them establish their or grow their current endowment funds, with the Community Foundation to help long term sustainability and, and steady predictable funding coming to them annually. Helping them connect with their donors and not just having to worry about ongoing fundraising, especially when there’s so many barriers with a pandemic.”
Beyond even their success distributing funds throughout the region, the CFSEA is also doing well, said Gray, with “great community connections and amazing volunteers.”
“We’re working with local governments to see how we can work together to ensure the needs are being met across the region. The community supporters and donors are generous. It’s just incredible, mind blowing. So we’re doing great, we have a great board, diverse and unwavering dedication to the organization. We’re doing really good,” said Gray. “We have an exciting year coming up.”