Foundation wants piece of gaming action

Gaming grants come from local casino revenue and are used to help community groups.  - TRI-CITY NEWS FILE PHOTO
Gaming grants come from local casino revenue and are used to help community groups.
— image credit: TRI-CITY NEWS FILE PHOTO

The Coquitlam Foundation is calling on the provincial government to make changes that would allow it and other community philanthropic organizations to receive casino gaming grants.

Currently, sports groups, charitable societies and art organizations receive money from provincial gaming revenue and foundation chair Colleen Talbot says her group should also get a piece of that funding.

“Foundations are really a lot closer to home as far as knowing the needs of a community,” she said. “It seems to me a good vehicle for disbursement to these groups.”

Until 2009, the Coquitlam Foundation received approximately $14,000 per year in grants, money for which the government collects from casinos and other gaming activities. But the organization became ineligible because of the $1.8 million endowment it controls. While Talbot said the fund is restricted for community bursaries and grants, provincial regulations see the money as cash on hand, making the foundation too rich to qualify for a grant.

A review of the community grant policy is underway and Talbot said she hopes changes can be made to allow her organization to once again collect gaming revenue.

The Coquitlam Foundation has sent a submission to the review panel, led by Vancouver Island governance consultant Skip Triplett, whose report is expected to be complete this fall.

The foundation’s $1.8-million endowment comprises 20 foundation-directed and donor-advised funds focusing on everything from arts enhancement to academic achievement. Last year, the organization distributed $55,000 in grants, scholarships and bursaries.

Community groups that wish to make a submission to the review board should go to Forums will also be taking place across the province, including: Abbotsford on Aug. 29, Surrey on Sept. 7 and Vancouver on Sept. 16.

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