Fund for Milton charitable and community organizations boosted back to $500,000


Published March 17, 2023 at 11:03 am

The Town of Milton Community Fund is being boosted back up to $500,000 after more than a decade at half that.

Spurred by Ward 2 councillor John Challinor II, the motion for Milton council to restore its annual financial allocation to Milton Community Fund to $500,000 was passed during recent budget deliberations.

The funding comes from the Ontario Lottery Corporation’s proceeds from Woodbine Mohawk Park and was originally set at $500,000. About a decade ago, the funding was dropped to $250,000. The increase doesn’t impact local taxes.

The money is used by local non-profit and charity groups for things like local events or to fix up buildings.

“Any registered non-profit or charity can seek these funds to improve the community,” said Challinor. “The original plan was for the fund to grow over time, but council decided more than 10 years ago that the money was needed elsewhere.”

However, with the continued growth of Milton, Challinor believes the need is there for the fund to grow.

“Quite frankly, we’ve had to make difficult choices every year about who gets money and often we just didn’t fully fund what was requested,” he said. “The most common comment we’ve heard is that the fund just wasn’t as helpful as used to be. Some groups just stopped applying.”

Going forward, Challinor would like to see the fund grow to continue to meet the Town’s needs.

“I’m going to continue to look at it and see what level we need to support. I’ll be surprised if there isn’t pressure to increase it. There are so many programs in this community the fund can help. Let’s see how we do at $500K for this year and next, and I expect it will need to rise going forward.”

The town receives millions of dollars from the OLC annually and Challinor believes the community fund is necessary to support well-subscribed community activities and programs, finance capital initiatives in those organizations that help to build Milton’s volunteer capacity and capability and ensure the community’s voluntary sector keeps pace on all fronts with Canada’s fastest-growing municipality.

“Over the last 21 years, the annual allocation of OLG funds to the Milton Community Fund has typically represented less than 10 per cent of the monies received by the Town of Milton,” said Challinor.

“That low level of annual financial commitment was not what was intended by its original drafters. Miltonians cannot possibly continue to enjoy a great quality of life in this community without a strong and growing voluntary sector. And that requires a more fiscally supportive Milton Community Fund.”

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