Representatives of the Railway Museum of Eastern Ontario, the Smiths Falls After School Program, and the Healthy Living Festival appeared before Smiths Falls town councillors on Feb. 5 to make in-person appeals for community grant funding in 2018.
Town policy requires any group seeking a grant of more than $10,000 to appear before council. The Railway Museum is requesting $50,000, the final town contribution of a four-year annual commitment for operations. The After School Program is seeking $12,920, and the Healthy Living Festival’s request is for $10,000.
Anne Shropshire appeared on behalf of the Railway Museum, to outline the museum’s progress toward the goal of being self-sufficient by 2019. She noted that although fundraising efforts fell short of the 2017 goal, the museum’s attendance and revenue both increased. Fundraising showed a 36 per cent increase. The museum generated over $92,000 in revenue in 2017, up from $76,817 in 2016.
“I would have thought by this point in time (the museum ) would have been showing more sustainability,” commented Councillor John Maloney. “If they’re not sustainable this year, they won’t be next year.”
Councillor Lorraine Allen argued that museums in general don’t thrive without municipal support. “It’s just a fact of life,” she said. “I don’t think museums are money makers.”
Jennifer Miller of Big Brothers Big Sisters appeared with Bridget Manahan to provide a presentation on behalf of the Smiths Falls After School Program for youth. The program was launched in the fall after the Smiths Falls Youth Centre closed down. The new program is a partnership between Big Brothers Big Sisters and the YAK (Youth Action Kommittee), with the Town of Smiths Falls providing space.
“I’m happy to report that things have been going very, very well,” said Miller.
The program’s main expenses are its one full-time and two part-time staff, as well as food costs and administrative expenses such as insurance.
“It’s a very efficient model, and one we’re interested in building on as the partnership unfolds,” said Miller.
Presenting on behalf of the Healthy Living Festival, going into its sixth year in 2018, was Leanne Jarrett, Downtown Business Association coordinator.
“The only complaint I have is that my store is always so busy I can’t get downtown to see what’s going on,” said Councillor Dawn Quinn, owner of Davidson’s Courtyard business Dawn’s Closet. “All around, I think it’s a great festival.”
Town staff evaluated a number of other applications for less than $10,000 and have recommended the following grants for approval:
- Two Rivers Food Hub – $5,000
- Together Smiths Falls – $9,000
- Smiths Falls and District Arts and Culture Council – $4,000
- Smiths Falls and District Crime Stoppers – $3,000
- Lanark County Transportation – $8,587
- Rideau Environmental Action League – $6,500
- Parkinson Canada – $500
- Rideau Paddlefest – $3,585
- Smiths Falls Horticultural Society – $600
- Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lanark County – $6,000
- Municipal Drug Strategy – $2,000.