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St. Albert Community Foundation giving away $325K

Federal cash to support area non-profits
CASH FOR COMMUNITY — The St. Albert Community Foundation announced this month that it had received $325,000 in federal cash to distribute to local community service groups such as the Jessica Martel Memorial Foundation. Shown here is the JMMF’s Jessie’s House shelter in Morinville. JESSICA MARTEL MEMORIAL FOUNDATION/Photo

The St. Albert Community Foundation hopes community service groups will step up this month to take some $325,000 in federal cash off its hands.

The foundation announced Jan. 10 that it had received some $325,000 from the federal government to help St. Albert-area non-profits, charities, and Indigenous government groups modernize to support Canada’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The cash comes from the $400 million federal Community Services Recovery Fund, which is being distributed by the Community Foundations of Canada, the Canadian Red Cross, and United Way Centraide Canada.

The federal government created an Emergency Community Support Fund in 2020 to support charities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, said Jennifer McCurdy, executive director of the St. Albert Community Foundation. The foundation distributed some $90,000 from that fund to St. Albert-area charities.

McCurdy said this new fund was open to a much wider array of community groups than its predecessor. Specifically, it was open to any community service organization in Canada that worked in arts, law, health, sports, housing, politics, religion, education, advocacy, the environment, volunteerism, or social services.

The fund offers community groups $10,000 to $500,000 to invest in training, equipment, pilot projects, and other items, according to its application guide. Eligible projects must start by May 1, 2023, and end by June 30, 2024.

Charities and non-profits are at the forefront of addressing community needs, but many are struggling to recover from the pandemic, St. Albert Community Foundation chair Doug Campbell said in a statement.

“Through the Community Services Recovery Fund, the St. Albert Community Foundation will be able to give organizations the support they need to serve our community.”

Marla Poelzer, the executive director of the Jessica Martel Memorial Foundation (which runs the Jessie’s House shelter in Morinville), said it was awesome to hear that this new cash was available, and her group planned to apply for it.

“During the pandemic it was extremely difficult to do any of our regular fundraisers,” said Poelzer, adding that they would probably need another five years to rebuild their fundraising efforts.

Poelzer said demand for space at Jessie’s House definitely went up during the pandemic, with some 410 people admitted last year compared to 384 the year before. This new fund could help the group pay more competitive wages for staff, plan development of new shelters, and expand public education efforts on domestic violence.

Applications for the Community Services Recovery Fund are due Feb. 21, 2023. Visit for details.

Kevin Ma

About the Author: Kevin Ma

Kevin Ma joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2006. He writes about Sturgeon County, education, the environment, agriculture, science and aboriginal affairs. He also contributes features, photographs and video.
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