CK groups line up for grant money in a tough economic climate

(Photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo / devon.)

Chatham-Kent Council will be weighing a hefty amount of grant money for community events and projects at their meeting Monday night.

A total of $425,000 has been endorsed by the Together CK Review Committee for 50 events and that money will be up for approval by Councillors. This comes as taxpayers in Chatham-Kent are being asked to pay higher property taxes.  The tax rate in the municipality increased by 5.64 per cent this year.

One of the grant requests is from Come Together Chatham-Kent Community Association for The Gift. Administration is recommending $10,000 for this year’s event, even though the request was for $25,000.

Come Together CK Executive Director and The Gift Co-Organizer Brent Wilken told CK News Today the money is to possibly hire an administrative staff member to co-ordinate and organize the event and volunteers and to pay for some advertising. The funding will also be used to cover expenses for the story tellers requesting it and for printing and mailing invitations to the food collection event around Christmas every year.

Wilken said he will not be taking the administrative staff position.

The Together CK Grant Review Committee Chair is Fannie Vavoulis, who is also listed on the Come Together CK web page as a founding Director of the group.

She said she declared a conflict of interest when the commitee voted to fund The Gift and did not score the application or review it.

“Part of the process is if any of the volunteers are part of any of the submissions, we declare a conflict,” said Vavoulis.

Wilken added Come Together CK is now a public non-profit and financial statements will be available online soon.

The Together CK grant program uses matching funding to promote community development projects within Chatham-Kent and the funds distributed by this program has encouraged widespread civic engagement and community improvement, according to a report for council’s consideration.

Crowfest 2023 got $25,000, Festival of Nations also got $25,000, RetroFest 2023 received $20,000, and WAMBO received $17,500.