‘Historic fund’ for pandemic recovery of community service organizations now open, feds announce

By Amanda Jerome

Law360 Canada (January 6, 2023, 12:55 PM EST) -- The application process for the Community Services Recovery Fund, a “historic one-time investment of $400 million,” is now open to support pandemic recovery, an announcement from the federal government, the Canadian Red Cross, Community Foundations of Canada and United Way Centraide Canada declared.

Karina Gould, minister of families, children and social development, said the government is “supporting the long-term COVID-19 pandemic recovery in communities across Canada through this historic fund” and this “transformational investment with the National Funders supports a more inclusive model of economic growth that creates opportunities at the community level.”

“The Community Services Recovery Fund will strengthen the ability of community service organizations, including charities, non-profits and Indigenous governing bodies, to deliver services and resources where they will have the most impact,” she added in a statement.

Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Karina Gould

Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Karina Gould

According to a government release, the application process is “managed” by the National Funders included in the announcement “in order to reach a broad and diverse range of community service organizations, such as charities, non-profits and Indigenous governing bodies.”

The fund is meant to “help community service organizations to adapt, to modernize and to be better equipped to improve the efficacy, accessibility and sustainability of the community services that they provide, so they can continue to support communities across Canada through the pandemic recovery and beyond.”

Conrad Sauvé, the CEO of the Canadian Red Cross, said “the government of Canada continues to demonstrate its commitment to supporting Canadians as we recover from the prolonged impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“The Canadian Red Cross is pleased to be a National Funder of the Community Services Recovery Fund that will provide funding to help non-profits, registered charities and Indigenous governing bodies adapt to ensure they are able to continue to provide vital services and programs in their communities,” he added in a statement.

Andrea Dicks, president of the Community Foundations of Canada, also noted that the Community Services Recovery Fund will “change the reality for thousands of charities, non-profits and Indigenous governing bodies from coast to coast to coast.”

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, these organizations have stood up for and supported their communities. We will be forever grateful for their efforts. Now, through this fund, community foundations will support projects at charities, non-profits and Indigenous governing bodies that invest in their internal systems and processes, making them more resilient for the future,” she explained.

According to the fund’s announcement, community service organizations are “at the forefront of addressing communities’ needs, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“Since the early phases of the pandemic,” these organizations have “struggled with increased demand for their services, reduced revenues, declines in charitable giving due to the rising cost of living, and a greater need to make use of digital tools. Many of them are struggling to recover and adapt their services to the changing needs of communities across Canada,” the release emphasized.

The fund, the release explained, has “two funding streams: one for local or regional community service organizations serving a portion of a province or territory, and one for community service organizations serving the entire country, an entire province or territory, or multiple provinces or territories.”

Funding will “enable community service organizations to invest in their own organizational capacity under one of the three project focus areas”:

  • “Investing in People: projects that focus on how organizations recruit, retain, engage and support their personnel.
  • Investing in Systems and Processes: projects that invest in the systems and processes involved in creating the internal workings of an organization’s overall structure.
  • Investing in Program and Service Innovation and Redesign: projects primarily focused on program and service innovation and redesign using information gained during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

According to the release, applications for funding can be submitted to the National Funders from Jan. 6 until Feb. 21, 2023.

The release also noted that organizations are “encouraged to complete the interactive quiz to determine where and how to apply.”

Information and resources, including an applicant guide, can be found on the Community Services Recovery Fund website and the National Funders are “holding a webinar on January 12, 2023, to help organizations understand the application process,” the release added.

If you have any information, story ideas or news tips for The Lawyer’s Daily please contact Amanda Jerome at Amanda.Jerome@lexisnexis.ca or 416-524-2152.