Home Social Trends Fundraising Knowing a community through the municipal grants process

Knowing a community through the municipal grants process

Generating community momentum through grants.

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Community grant application deliberations by Sooke Council at their April 15, 2024 Committee of the Whole. [Zoom livestream]

Wednesday April 17, 2024 | LANGFORD, BC [Updated April 18, 2024]

by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends

When there’s money to be had, non-profits and other volunteer-based groups seem to come out of the woodwork.

But it’s not that simple. Applying for municipal community grants requires much preparation — not just for the grant presentation meeting but very much ahead of that to build provable worth.

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District of Sooke received and/or heard grant application presentations from community groups at their April 15, 2024 Committee of the Whole.

Most municipalities in the Greater Victoria area have grants available to local and regional organizations. The work and labour provided by these groups (for services, projects and events) oftentimes fulfills municipal missions or goals — usually without much load on the municipal budget or staff time.

As such, most of the time the funds issued through community grants generate additional economic benefits for the broader community.

Learning more about communities:

City councils can speak to their communities through grant decisions. The issuance of grants indicates policy directions and political momentum.

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City of Langford Community Advisory Committee meeting of February 27, 2024. [Zoom]

Mayor and council — by reading grant application details and sitting through the in-person presentations — get to know the fabric of their community in ways that are informative and helpful to assessing the fabric of the overall community needs and efforts being made.

It is the job of councils to determine the use of public funds in a responsible open process.

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The City of Colwood has developed a customized approach. They shortlist the incoming grant applications using a weighting formula which ensures that at least four councillors are in support. In 2024, the Colwood process received 27 applications with 22 being supported for funding.

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Most municipalities try to organize their grant application process to fit in with the current year’s budget deliberations.

After applications first being received by staff, presentations are usually made to a committee before being elevated to the council level for final decision-making.

Recent 2024 grant application hearings were held by the District of Saanich (February deadline), the City of Langford (February 27 Community Advisory Committee), and the District of Sooke (committee presentations April 15 with final decisions by council on April 22).

The City of Colwood awarded their grants on April 8, 2024 using an in-house process of staff assembling applications (received back in November) with reports to Mayor and Council who assign amounts; there are no in-person public presentations.

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District of Metchosin applicant presentations were accepted up to March 30 and will be heard on May 6 at a meeting of the Finance Committee, with funds to be awarded in June.

Time consuming:

The process of sorting through numerous grant applications is time consuming and detailed work. Each community takes an approach that suits their political and administrative priorities.


Most municipalities now fund a range of non-profits and other services as part of their regular annual budgets, if the services offered are expected to continue year after year.

At the Langford and Sooke meetings there was use of additional funds beyond what was budgeted in the Community Grants line item. Langford opted to draw funds from their Council Contingency fund, and Sooke used up most of their COVID recovery fund.

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Volunteers are a significant resource for getting things done in communities. People volunteer for a variety of reasons, including staying connected with neighbours and community. About one third of volunteers are seniors.

“The sharing of time, skills, empathy, and creativity is vital to the inclusivity, strength, and wellbeing of our communities,” says Volunteer Canada.

The BC Seniors Advocate says that 33% of Canadian seniors are volunteers. People 65+ volunteer an average 222 hours of time per year which is more than any age group.

National Volunteer Week this year is April 14 to 20, 2024.

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Island Social Trends reports news with socioeconomic insights and analysis. Independent news service on south Vancouver Island, BC. Read free online or get the biweekly PDF by email.


mary p brooke, headshot, july 2023
Island Social Trends Editor Mary P Brooke, B.Sc., Cert PR.

Island Social Trends Editor Mary P Brooke has covered news of the south Vancouver Island region since 2008.

Her series of publications MapleLine Magazine (2008-2010), Sooke Voice News (2011-2013), West Shore Voice News (2014-2020), and now Island Social Trends (2020 to present) has been archived at the Sooke Region Museum.

News is reported through a socioeconomic lens, with a leaning to political analysis.

In 2023, Mary P Brooke was nominated for a Jack Webster Foundation Award that recognizes a woman’s commitment to community through professional journalism.

Ms Brooke reports on provincial and federal news, in addition to highlights of local news.