Edify Centre applies for non-profit status and town grant

January 11, 2024   ·   0 Comments


The Edify Centre becoming a not-for-profit endeavour will likely improve its eligibility for a municipal monetary grant.

The hiccup in the process is that the centre is still waiting to obtain charitable status from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

Sonia McDonald, a facilitator and counsellor at the Edify Centre on Broadway, asked Orangeville council for immediate financial assistance last November.

According to its website, the centre’s staff works to build a more resilient community by creating awareness about mental health issues, suicide, and self-care practices.

They offer evidence-informed mental health and suicide prevention workshops and empower people with strength and confidence through a physical focus program.

After a recent move to a new space, the centre’s rent has doubled to $5,597 a month. McDonald told council in November that they pay $520 a month for utilities and $300 for supplies and materials essential for clients.

McDonald said the Edify Centre and its clients need council’s help to keep operating. They’ve already been turned down by the upper-tier council at Dufferin County and other small enterprise grant providers.

McDonald told council during its Jan. 8 meeting that the centre has applied to the CRA to have the organization fall under the not-for-profit guidelines.

“We’re just waiting for a response,” she said, and added that it was hoped the response would arrive before the council meeting.

“It doesn’t appear like there’s going to be a problem, so we’re actually quite excited to take on a bit of a new endeavour,” she said.

The Edify Centre staff requested $20,000 in the initial community grant application. But McDonald said she thought the sum they asked for was $30,000.

“Because, I guess, in my mind I had the whole budget laid out,” she said.

She said that, should council see fit, perhaps additional money could be earmarked on top of the $20,000, especially given that their services are an avenue to give back to the community.

“Examples would be things like offering some free suicide intervention spots to the community,” she said. “Offering some of our fighter 30-30 sessions, groupings of 10, we could offer multiple clients.

“Our goal would be to reach out to clients that have not been able to stay with us because of their financial strain. We would reach out to them and have them come back at a reduced rate.”

Deputy Mayor Todd Taylor said he understands the great things the Edify Centre does for the community.

“I can imagine that the funding is important to you, and it’s probably going to be spent in a very wise manner,” he said. “I think the issue for me is the charitable piece.”

Taylor said he had an issue with bestowing taxpayers’ money to a for-profit organization.

“I certainly am not challenging you, your integrity, your business, and the great things that you do,” Taylor said.

Patrick Kelly, the town’s treasurer, said the community grant program is built to assist non-profit entities. As such, staff had also hoped the centre’s status would have been settled in time for the meeting.

That status, having not been granted, complicates the process for the centre.

“If we were to recommend it and have approval of funding a for-profit organization, it opens the door to any organization within the community coming forward,” Kelly said.

He said the town is considering a new approval process that would be handled by a third party. It’s the same outfit used by Dufferin County to evaluate grant requests. But they’ve already determined the Edify Centre’s ineligibility for a county grant for the same reason, he said.

“From a consistency perspective, it probably would be best to wait until that not-for-profit or charitable status is obtained,” he said.

Mayor Lisa Post suggested it may be best for the centre staff to re-apply after their charitable status is solidified.

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