Funding for targeted groups shouldn't be cut as 'gravy'

[attach]4814[/attach]The below list is a sampling of the organizations who, with small amounts of funding from the City of Toronto, deliver: senior citizen respite care, crisis intervention, assistance to victims of abuse, immigrant settlement services, education in home crime prevention, community organizing to reduce property crime, activities for youth in at-risk neighbourhoods, HIV/Aids prevention in high priority populations, drug abuse prevention and counselling, resident organized recreation programs, and yes, arts activities for neighbourhood improvement and civic engagement in Toronto’s inner suburbs.

Every year these organizations are required to fill out extensive applications, complete with all financial details, guarantee large numbers of hours of volunteer administration and volunteer labour.

They then subject themselves to an annual screening, awarding and appeals process and lay themselves open to random follow-up and spot checks for accountability puroses.

None of these organizations is ever fully funded by the city.

After we have put them through this onerous process for amounts as small as $3,000, they raise more funds from the private sector and from other orders of government.

Funders are often willing to give grants partly based on the city having already scrutinized them so rigorously.

That is the essence of the City of Toronto Community Partnership Investment Program. The funding for each group is called a grant because the city does not administer direct paycheques to any member of the organizations but rather, pays by project application according to strict criteria.

Mayor Rob Ford calls these grants gravy.

I call them vital quality of life services delivered more cheaply and more effectively than the city could ever do directly.

In their recent Core Service Review Report, KPMG did not classify these grants as part of the city’s core services and has suggested reducing or eliminating these grants completely.

Please take a moment to read the below list, and if you believe that funding these services is part of the meat of this city and not the excessive gravy that the mayor thinks it is, please contact your local councillor, the mayor, or come and speak at the Executive Committee meeting on Sept. 19, to help protect the grants these organizations receive.

The organizations:

Meals On Wheels; Neighbourhood Watch Toronto; Carefirst Seniors & Community Services Association; North York Women’s Centre; AWIC Community and Social Services; Call-A-Service Inc. Elderly Persons’ Centre; Community Information Fairview; Microskills Development Centre; Crime Prevention Association of Toronto; Learning Disabilities Association Toronto; Mid-Toronto Community Services; CARD-Community Association for Riding for the Disabled; Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs of Weston/Mount Dennis, Jane & Finch, St. Alban’s; Eva’s Initiatives for Homeless Youth; Black Coalition for Aids Prevention; Breakaway Addiction Services; Iranian Womens’ Organization of Toronto; Glebe Manor Lawn Bowling Club; Moore Park Lawn Bowling Club; Royal Winter Fair; and Local Arts Service Organizations in Jamestown, Weston/Mount Dennis, Scarborough Village, Malvern, Eglinton East/Kennedy, Jane/Finch, Kingston/Galloway.