Ottawa Sport Council’s Fall Sport Summit to tackle grants

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The Ottawa Titans Water Polo Club was 1 of 2 recipients of Ottawa Sport Council grants to support programming for underserviced populations. File photo.

By Dan Plouffe

The Ottawa Sport Council will bring together the local sports community for its Fall Sport Summit the evening of Nov. 29 at Ben Franklin Place, set to cover a topic that’s become a crucial tool for community sports organizations’ advancement: creating successful grant applications.

“Most sport organizations seem to be able to basically make ends meet with their registration fees,” explains Ottawa Sport Council executive director Marci Morris, noting they can generally cover their costs for equipment, facility rental, etc. “But there is absolutely no money to do anything else.

“So to do new initiatives or to expand their initiatives, they need extra money coming in, because they can’t continue to raise membership fees. From that perspective, grants are critical.”

Thus, formulating proposals and applying for grants are “essential” skills for sports groups to have within their leadership team, Morris signals.

“The reality is, with 73% of community sport organizations run (exclusively) by volunteers, a lot of those people have no experience in writing a grant, and they don’t know what’s required, they’ve never gone through the process of doing it,” adds the member of Team Ontario’s 2017 Canada Summer Games mission staff. “There’s a huge abyss of knowledge out there of what makes a good grant.”

On top of spreading knowledge of what kind of grants may be available to sports groups, the Summit will bring in speakers from local and provincial granting agencies to provide their expertise on the subject.

“The thought of this particular Summit is to say from a funder’s perspective: what are they looking for?” Morris details. “‘What makes a good grant? Why would I give you money? Why wouldn’t I give you money? What’s my compelling reason?’”

The Summit won’t get into the specific nuts and bolts on how to write a grant during its evening event, but the Council does plan to offer further training opportunities, such as a future webinar.

Sport Council grants support pair of access-to-sport projects

The fact that Ottawa Sport Council Foundation received many applications for its own grants did reinforce the need for workshops on the topic, Morris indicates, though they also received many very strong applications. The focus of the grants was to aid community sport organizations in establishing programs for underserviced populations.

“I’m always blown away by the generosity of community sport organizations to look out for those who might not be their primary demographic,” Morris highlights. “There were a lot of really wonderful ideas, which made me feel so good about our community.”

The Council selected programs from the Ottawa Titans Water Polo Club and the Latin American Community Association Soccer Club to receive their $1,500 grants in conjunction with the True Sport Foundation.

The Titans will work alongside Ausome Ottawa to introduce water polo to youth with autism.

“They’ll run a special program for them that gives them the ability to try a sport that they probably wouldn’t necessarily get to try,” Morris outlines. “The way the Titans are doing it, and how they’ve got their whole community to buy into it, is amazing.”

The LACA soccer club, meanwhile, already offers free registrations to those in need, but they found that many of those potential participants couldn’t get to their programs from different corners of the city.

“That child may get left behind simply because they have no way to get there,” underlines Morris, noting the grant will support the creation of a transportation network made up of 3 pods in different areas where one parent will bring many kids to their soccer sessions.

“It’s very creative,” Morris adds. “It’s removing a real barrier.”

Registration for the Sport Summit is free for participants, who are encouraged to make a donation to the Foundation’s endowment fund.

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