Organizations looking for grant funding from the Township of Champlain will have a new policy to follow for next year’s budget.

Starting in the 2018 fiscal year, all organizations seeking grant money will have to apply before October 15 to be considered for funding. This includes organizations with long-standing arrangements with the township, such as the Higginson Tower and the L’Orignal Old Jail. As with previous policy, only non-profit organizations are eligible for the grants.

Champlain Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), Paula Knudsen, says the new policy will help council better organize how they allocate their grant funding and also allow them to keep better track of expenses involved in holding community events.

“We’re trying to streamline the process so that when council looks at it, it’s not piecemeal. They’ll look at it as a whole,” Knudsen says.

Under the current policy, the township automatically allocates a portion of funds to certain organizations, like the aforementioned Higginson Tower and L’Orignal Old Jail, and then distributes the remaining funds to other organizations as they apply for them.

With the new policy, all organizations will have to apply for the grants. The township will then evaluate which groups meet the funding criteria and allocate funds accordingly as part of the budget for the year.

The total pool of funding available will vary from year-to-year and is up to council to decide, Knudsen says. Last year, the total grant budget, including bursaries, was $30, 500.

The new policy also looks to tackle a problem having to do with facility rentals for community events. In the past, the township has provided “free” rentals for groups holding fundraising projects by giving them donations to cover the costs of renting the facilities. While this is in keeping with municipal regulations, the township has not always properly tracked these donations, leading to discrepancies in the budget.

Knudsen stresses that one of the goals of the policy is to improve transparency with their funding. She also says that the policy will be adaptable and open to any necessary changes that may arise throughout the policy’s implementation.

“If we discover that [something] isn’t working out, we can adapt to that. It’s meant to be a working document,” Knudsen says.

While Knudsen does expect some growing pains for the new policy, she says that it’s unlikely the organizations themselves will experience much of a change.

The township has modeled the policy on a similar convention implemented by the North Glengarry township over the past three years.