By Coralee Oakes
Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development
VICTORIA - Gaming revenues in B.C. generate hundreds of millions of dollars that help support healthcare, education and key services for all British Columbians. And during this holiday season, we are reminded more than most other times of the year of the important role non-profit organizations play in our communities.
Every year, the Government of British Columbia allocates approximately $135 million from total gaming revenue to fund gaming grants for non-profit organizations in communities throughout the province. Over 5,000 local organizations representing virtually every community in British Columbia benefit from this funding annually.
Premier Christy Clark increased the annual base budget for community gaming grants in 2012 by $15 million, from $120 million to $135 million per year into the future. Thousands of applications are received on an annual basis. The Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch accepts applications from eligible organizations and distributes community gaming grants by sectors, including Arts and Culture, Sport, Environment, Public Safety, Human and Social Services, Parent Advisory Councils and District Parent Advisory Councils.
Organizations that receive community gaming grants accomplish amazing things in British Columbia's communities, large and small, urban and rural. Gaming grant recipients are incredibly diverse. They include sports leagues, arts centres and festivals, humane societies, environmental groups, agricultural fairs that celebrate B.C.'s rural heritage and parent advisory committees working with schools. Public safety organizations, including search and rescue groups, volunteer fire departments and community policing groups also receive community gaming grants.
In addition, human and social service organizations utilize their gaming grants to help support community associations, service clubs, hospice societies, women's resource centres, hospital auxiliaries, seniors' wellness providers and counselling services. These grants help provide important assistance to families and individuals facing personal challenges throughout the year, including the Holiday Season.
Throughout British Columbia, volunteers play a key role supporting the quality of life in their communities. Gaming grants help community organizations create wonderful opportunities for volunteers to share their time and experience with their local community. Time and time again, British Columbians who are able to share, do so - and that collective spirit of generosity and caring for those in need makes all the difference.
The Government of British Columbia's gaming grant program helps great local organizations and dedicated volunteers build strong, caring communities in B.C. I encourage your non-profit organization to consider applying for a community gaming grant. To find out how, visit: http://www.gaming.gov.bc.ca/
Thank you to all those involved in helping others, especially during this Holiday Season.