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'Extremely problematic': Non-profits sound alarm over cuts to community grants program


Proposed changes at Winnipeg City Hall could mean the amount of dollars available to community groups could be cut in half, and the way the money can be spent could also be limited.

Under the changes to the community grants program, the amount of money available to groups starting in 2025 would drop from $3.4 million to $1.3 million.

Additionally, the grant money would no longer be used for annual operating costs, like salaries, utilities, or insurance. Instead, it must be tied to a specific program.

The changes were unanimously approved by the mayor's executive policy committee on Tuesday.

"The city is operating from the assumption that the operating grants are out there, that you just have to find them, you have to ask somebody. They're not," said Eddie Ayoub, artistic director of Art City Inc., a local non-profit community art centre.

Kiana Fontaine and Eddie Ayoub are pictured at Art City on June 19, 2024. (Jon Hendricks/CTV News Winnipeg)

Ayoub says a large part of Art City's funding is already made up of year-to-year programming grants, but it's not a stable funding stream.

Meantime, other non-profits believe the drop in funding could hurt some of the city's most vulnerable.

"What they're saying is that what you've been doing that's been working for all these years, we're not going to support it anymore. And to me, that's extremely problematic," said Breda Vosters, director of grants and information with Resource Assistance for Youth Inc.

Mayor Scott Gillingham says while the proposed changes mean fewer available dollars, the city has made other investments in some of the most pressing areas.

He says the new process will also open up possibilities for other groups that have not received funding in the past.

Still, he knows change isn't easy.

"We're looking at the difficult decisions we have to make with limited, yet ever-increasing demand on city resources."

The new community grant program will go for approval at city council’s meeting next week.

Winnipeg Mayor Scott Gillingham is pictured during a June 18, 2024 news conference at Winnipeg City Hall. (Daniel Timmerman/CTV News Winnipeg) Top Stories

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