As RSS professionals, many of us will turn to grants throughout our careers to help fund programs, initiatives, and projects to assist in the delivery of sport, recreation and wellness within our area of work. Grants give individuals and groups the opportunity to organize and pursue projects that they might not have otherwise been prepared or able to undertake. Grants can be defines as:
- “The provision of funding to community groups or organizations by outside parties through a COMPETITIVE application”.
- “Granting is a strategy that government bodies have adopted as part of a mandate to encourage and support community efforts to address local issues and concerns”. (Smith & Littlejohns, 2007)
Throughout the country there are multiple national grant and funding opportunities available. Below are examples of opportunities from three different sectors:
- KidSport – National Non-for-Profit Organization
- JumpStart – National Charity
- GoodLife Kids Foundation – National Private Foundation
Each province has similar grant and funding opportunities. In this context, examples of grants and funding opportunities provided by the New Brunswick Department of Healthy and Inclusive Communities are:
- NB Amateur Sport Fund
- NB Professional Coach Employment Program Grant
- Sport and Recreation Organizations Grants (Provincial and Regional/Local)
- NB Athlete Assistant Program
For the complete list of grants, guidelines and requirements provided by the NB Department of Healthy and Inclusive Communities, visit this link: http://www2.gnb.ca/content/gnb/en/departments/dhic/services.html
Although grants provide the opportunity for inclusivity in sport and recreation some of the challenges associated with grants make it more exclusive. Granting is a strategy that government bodies have adopted as part of a mandate to encourage and support community efforts to address local issues and concerns. Grants provide communities and organizations the opportunity to pursue projects that they might not have otherwise been able to pursue due to limited budgets. Grants also encourage bringing groups together to create new partnerships.
There are a number of reoccurring challenges associated with apply for grants. A big challenge is that many of the people who are applying for the funding have limited knowledge and experience in applying for grants. Another challenge is when accepting a grant and the conditions that come with it, the most vocal and most able community leaders might become enmeshed in the support of bureaucratic agendas, rather than being able to carry out activities truly driven by community needs and desires. Moreover, the pursuit of funding can distort community priorities by drawing efforts and attention to those issues for which funding is offered (the agenda of the so-called experts), rather than those that might be of most local significance or concern. Furthermore, grant funding often comes with burdensome administrative and evaluative requirements that communities can find irrelevant to their own learning and service needs.
Based on your knowledge, experience, and the information provided, in your opinion what makes sport and recreation inclusive or exclusive with regards to funding and grants?
– Heather Braun & Kate Keenan