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Categories : Resources
A couple of days ago, Lisa and I were mapping North Ontario, looking for community art centres. Lisa found a great one up in Atikokan, near Quetico Provincial Park several hundred miles between Thunderbay and Fort Francis. I called up the founder Jennifer Garret of: Atikokan Intergenerational Centre for Arts and Alternatives (www.atikokanarts.ca) and we got into a long conversation about community art centres surviving funding cut-backs. They had just lost a major government arts funding grant, and were facing closure. This thriving community art centre is a vital community hub for hundreds in a town that has been largely stripped of employment due to industry mining and pulp mill closures. The art centre is mostly run through volunteer efforts. I led Jennifer to the Imagine Canada website that is a wonderful fundraising resource, among other things. Not-for-profits and registered charities from across Canada can access the Canadian Directory to Foundations and Corporations. (Go to www.imaginecanada.ca then to the “Engage” section, then “Programs and Services” and you’ll find: “ The Canadian Directory to Foundations & Corporations is Canada’s largest and most accurate bilingual fundraising database. We have more than 3,100 foundation listings, more than 150 corporations and over 90,000 indexed grants” (quoted from their website).
The price to access this database for a year is about $350. I’d say it’s worth every penny. I found with fundraising for ArtHeart and Home for Creative Opportunity, our government funding was always limited. We barely ever raised more 9% of our annual revenue from Government grants. We learned quickly to diversify, and raise donations from the private sector: corporations, foundations, individuals and through events.
This directory has a “search” component so that you can type in key words like: arts, north, education, social justice, poverty, children, etc. and find foundations in your region supportive of your work/cause. I love that I can access this directory from Toronto, Jennifer could access it from Atikokan, and my friends from St. John’s Newfoundland can also use it to find fundraising sources for their community arts projects/orgs.
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Tags: asset-based community development, creative problem solving
Categories : Stories
During this economic downturn, I’ve had some interesting conversations with a few community art centres on how they are faring regarding their funding revenue this year. I spoke with Tanya of Youth Can Do in Stratford, P.E.I, she runs a wonderful drama community arts program for youth and “youth at risk” (she said “every youth is at risk!”).She said that the program had lost some funding revenue this winter because of the economic downturn.
Rather than canceling the production of their annual Shakespearian play put on by youth, the youth decided that they would revamp all of last year’s costumes and set (rather than buying new costumes, props and set material.) She said that this was the youths’ decision and that they are solving the low funding problem by putting their heads together, thinking out of the box and taking action. She also said that every youth who joins the community arts program must also volunteer 10 hours before becoming a member. The young participants also support their drama program with monthly youth dances. I love this. She was not really worried about the long-term affects of the downturn on the program, she said the community really wants it to continue.
She said: “I just can’t stress enough the difference that is made to any youth program when the Community is behind it and the local Municipal Government (as well).”
This problem-solving is about turning to and working with your community (whether it’s a youth at risk community, or one in an inner-city housing project community). And it’s about tapping into the amazing assets of your community for volunteers and unexpected resources where there are hands, minds and hearts ready to help.
John McKnight and John Kretzmann write about this in Building Communities from the Inside Out: A Path Toward Finding and Mobilizing a Community’s Assets (1993). “The seminal volume in which Kretzmann and McKnight explain the principles and practices that guide the asset-based community development approach.” They also write several workbooks on the subject. Go to the website* and look under “publications” tab for a listing of these amazing books and approach to community development. *The Asset-Based Community Development Institute (ABCD), School of Education and Social Policy (from web-site home page:) “The Asset-Based Community Development Institute (ABCD) is at the center of a large and growing movement that considers local assets as the primary building blocks of sustainable community development. Building on the skills of local residents, the power of local associations, and the supportive functions of local institutions, asset-based community development draws upon existing community strengths to build stronger, more sustainable communities for the future.”