A Participatory Grant-In-Aid Process
The projects selected by votes, following discussions on a virtual platform, will be recommended to the SRD by Anderson.
Anderson put forth the invitation on Zoom where conference meetings have been hosted since March 23, for Cortes residents. The community meetings are also broadcasted on Cortes Radio, CKTZ 89.5 and podcasts of the episodes are available too.
Every year Anderson receives applications from non-profits and makes recommendations to the SRD to allocate funds to Cortes non-profits.
She called on multiple non-profits on the island to submit “project-based applications” outlining areas where they need funding.
To make the process more transparent and to facilitate a “participatory budgeting process,” she asked more than 20 non-profits to join the conversation.
Nine Different Non Profits
Anderson sent out e-mails to representatives from non-profit organizations to participate in virtual meetings to review, discuss and vote on projects to be shortlisted for recommendation.
In her podcast from May 12, Anderson said that 20 proposals were submitted by nine different organizations. While some of the organizations have applied for basic administrative funding, some have requested funds for ongoing projects.
Anderson also said that some organizations have put forth “gutsy proposals.” Cortes Community Economic Development Association has submitted five to six project proposals for economic resiliency on the island. Friends of Cortes Island Society has also submitted six grant applications.
The Virtual Community Conferences
In Cortes, the virtual community conferences started as a means to address COVID-19 related issues and to provide updates to residents.
After three meetings on the pandemic preparedness and updates, community were invited to dial in and join the conversation on topics of interest to the Cortes community such as improving food security, creating processes for meaningful public engagement, youth well-being activities and mental health among others.
An average meeting has over 40 listeners and although the number of people dialing in has dropped, more people have been listening to the podcast, said Hales.