Groups struggle to make ends meet
As some North Glengarry nonprofit organizations struggle to pay their bills, they have been counting on the municipality to ease their financial pressure.
And the township has drawn criticism for allocations approved in its 2015 budget.
While North Glengarry granted $25,000 in community grants for events for 2015, it also gave $15,000 to the Glengarry Pioneer Museum while Glengarry Encore Education Centre received $2,000 to hold a spring fundraiser.
Glengarry Encore must pay $5,000 in annual rent on a former classroom at Glengarry District High School, in addition to its insurance and administrative costs. It also covers mileage expenses for course instructors.
President Doug MacKenzie said the group has used profits from two Write It Now books to finance costs, but it will become more difficult to manage expenses in the future. Operating with a small deficit, the group is looking for ways to keep Glengarry Encore sustain- able.
“There is not a lot of money here,” said Mr. MacKenzie. Members pay a $5 membership fee each semester but it can be difficult to recruit new members. Most people who attend the courses are seniors.
“We can’t afford to operate at a small deficit,” he adds. “We are trying to attract more people.”
Mr. MacKenzie, who is also vice- chair of Friends of Summerstown Trails, noted that South Glengarry has provided funding without the “narrow parameters” used by North Glengarry to screen grant applicants.
Alexandria Curling Club president Ian McKay complained of a double standard when he wrote a recent letter to the editor to The
Glengarry News. While the museum was approved $15,000, a year ago the curling club was refused assistance.
“We were told very quickly by council that they could not do anything with regards to taxes or insurance as it would set a precedent with all the non-profit organizations we have in the area, which we understood,” he wrote.
“I guess it is the same as provincial and federal government -- it’s all about who you know with North Glengarry Council.”
Dalkeith Historical Society president and spokesperson Frances Fraser observed the township is giving $900 towards a memorial garden, On the Trail
of Poppies, to honour World War I veterans.
The DHS wants to continue to restore detailed stencilling work in the interior of the Robertson-Clark heritage building. “We are trying to support ourselves. The interest has to be there first. We have had pretty good support so far from the general public. We appreciate that and hope they will get more involved if they can.”
The township’s Arts, Culture and Heritage Advisory Committee vetted the various applications from organizations requesting community grants, before they were submitted to council for approval.
Coun. Carma Williams said the municipality supports projects or events but does not pay operating expenses.
“As long as the applications fell within those guidelines, it was fairly easy to determine their eligibility,” she said. “Just because they are not-for-profit doesn’t entitle any organization to funding from the township,” she added. Mayor Chris McDonell agreed, saying he can appreciate the challenges for non-profits such as the curling club.
He is aware hydro costs are high but he suggests the curling club look at increasing membership fees as a way to raise more money. “If they want to keep their system going they have to pay for it,” he said. “I feel badly for them; the hydro is killing everyone.” The mayor added the township decided to support the Glengarry Pioneer Museum because of its special importance.
“It promotes people coming through the township,” he said. “It’s keeping our heritage. I feel badly for the curling club. I wish them well. But the museum is something else. It’s our heritage.”
Non-profit status does not guarantee a group will get money from the municipality
Rising costs and shrinking membership have groups seeing red