(from the April 2019 Issue of "Rotary Canada")

Make the government your next partner

by PAUL ENGLEMAN
 
 

For thousands of people in Nepal, it may have seemed like magic: vital medical care delivered free at mobile camps in their remote villages. For Amy Stevenson, one of the Rotarians who championed the initiative, the magic was in the math: a CA$61,000 global grant project that came to fruition with an initial contribution of only $6,100 from her Rotary club.

"That would not have been possible without the government of Canada matching grant," says Stevenson, president-nominee of the Rotary Club of Campbell River, British Columbia. "The partnership agreement is fantastic. It can enable a club to leverage funds 10-to-1."

The funding program dates to May 2015, when representatives from the government of Canada and The Rotary Foundation (Canada) signed a five-year partnership agreement. The Canadian government pledged $1.2 million per year in matching funds for Rotary global grant projects involving Canadian clubs.

Since then, the funding opportunity has helped more than 60 Rotary clubs throughout the country to initiate a variety of projects. Now, in the final portion of the program, The Rotary Foundation (Canada) has simplified the application process to ensure that as many clubs as possible can use the remaining funds.

Betty Screpnek, director of The Rotary Foundation (Canada), believes it should be a point of honour for Rotarians that the government of Canada has entrusted Rotary with administrative control of the program, from project selection through reporting to completion.

"Good governance and sustainability are what they were looking for, and they were impressed with the way The Rotary Foundation managed our global grants from entry to finality," says Screpnek, who cochairs The Rotary Foundation (Canada) grants committee with Past RI Vice President Dean Rohrs. "We’re grateful to our government, and we’re the envy of other countries. This is an amazing opportunity for us to increase our impact when doing global grants."

The program had a slow start because of the learning curve involved, Screpnek says, but the application process has been streamlined, with most of the forms now combined into one. She takes satisfaction in the steadily increasing level of club participation. In the first year, 11 global grant projects received matching government funds. The next year that number increased to 20, and in 2017-18, 26 grants were approved for matching funds. Some clubs have applied more than once, for different projects, and clubs are spreading the word to one another about the program.