$120 million in Community Gaming grants excludes “adult arts” groups

The province is making a big deal out of its announcement yesterday that it would allocate $120 in gaming grants this year and a quick read of its news release suggests it’s a great thing. However, you have to dig into the background materials associated with the announcement to discover that “adult arts organizations” are specifically excluded from the grants this year.

The province is allocating $120 million for gaming grants in 2010-2011, up from $113 million last year, to fund approximately 6,000 organizations that benefit communities, including those that assist public safety, youth and disabled sports, people in need, fairs, festivals, museums and community services such as preschools.

A statement from the Ministry of Housing and Social Development said Parent Advisory Councils will receive $20 per student, a $10 increase from 2009-2010. District Parent Advisory Councils will be allocated $2,500 each, up from $1,250 last year. The government will continue to honour multi-year gaming grant commitments. All other organizations will apply for single-year grants of up to $100,000 each throughout the year, following the regular application process. Groups designated as provincial organizations, which deliver services province-wide, will be eligible for up to $250,000.

Youth arts, culture and sports groups will be eligible for grants this year,  as will sports organizations serving people with disabilities. A new sub-category of grants has been created specifically for museums, fairs and festivals. In addition to gaming grant funding, the government also recently announced a $60-million Sports and Arts Legacy fund as part of Budget 2010.

School playgrounds, environmental groups, and adult arts, culture and sports organizations will remain ineligible for funding this year. Playground grants were provided for approximately 250 school playgrounds across British Columbia between 2007-2008 and 2008-2009.

Effective April 1, the province will combine bingo affiliation and direct access grants into a single community gaming grant program, ensuring all organizations have fair and equitable access to gaming funding.

Last year, the province allocated almost $113 million in base grant funding for community organizations. Additional funding was provided to cover other government priorities not traditionally funded by gaming grants.  Responsibility for those programs is returning to the respective ministries this year and the combined community gaming grant program will return to the usual practice of assisting eligible organizations.

In addition to funding community gaming grants, gaming revenue provides over $1.1 billion for key provincial programs, including health care and education.

Revised applications and instructions for grants will be available by April 1, 2010, at: www.hsd.gov.bc.ca/gaming/grants/index.htm