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Community Board reviews Discretionary Funding guidelines

June 25th
by David Armstrong

The community board is taking another look at the way it grants funds to community groups which each month ask for financial help on initiatives and programmes. At last week's (June) board meeting a draft set of criteria was tabled, and board members plan to finalise the rules at the July meeting.

The discretionary fund is a sum of money - currently $4,654 per annum - set aside in the budget for the board to grant to groups which apply for help. The maximum that can be granted currently is $500.

Here is a summary of the draft guidelines, most of which have been in place for some time but although some have not been strictly policed. These are now to be reviewed. Following that are some suggestions from board deputy chairman, Duncan Eddy, for consultation.

  • Applications should be made before an event.
  • Applicants may be given less than they apply for.
  • Applicants should report back to the community board on how the project went.
  • Exceptional and unique circumstances will be considered.

Applications should be made at the beginning of each calendar month, to be addressed at that month's meeting. A decision is to be made within six weeks. Applicants are expected to speak to their application at a community board meeting.

The community board will make allocations from its fund in accordance with the following criteria:
1. A pool of $4,654 per annum will be available for community projects. These projects should as a rule benefit the Motueka community as a whole rather than individuals. Requests for funding should be in writing and presented to the board at an open meeting.
2. A pool of $1000 per annum will be available for Board-related activities which may include such items as attendance at conferences or training workshops, advertising and communication, undertaking community surveys or questionnaires, and hosting functions.
3. A pool of $1000 per annum will be available for Youth-related activities. This may include events organised by youth, for youth, or on behalf of youth.

Extra suggestions by Duncan Eddy:
- Quarterly funding rounds, where applications and funding are dealt with within one calendar quarter.
- Written applications to be received two weeks prior to the community board convening to consider quarterly applications.
- The project to be completed within nine months of receiving funds.
- If funds earmarked for Youth and Board-related activities are used one month before the end of the financial year, these funds shall be released into the general fund, and may be offered to previous unsuccessful but worthy applicants, and/or utilised in Board-initiated projects.
- $500 maximum for external applications.
- No dollar limits on Board-initiated projects from the general fund.

At the June meeting, the issue of quarterly versus (currently) monthly grants was discussed. Quarterly rounds provide the opportunity to weigh up several applications against each other as it is awkward sometimes for the board to judge them individually without context each month. However it is hard for some groups to wait so long to seek funding when their project needs quick assistance.

Editor's note:
[Posted 16 July 2010]
This review was completed and new guidelines approved on a trial basis at the July 13th 2010 meeting. Read the guidelines here »

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