In preparation for the spring 2021 budget, the Ontario government held consultations seeking ideas on how to continue to protect the people of Ontario through the COVID-19 pandemic and support a strong economic recovery. Pillar Nonprofit Network joined the Ontario Nonprofit Network and other sector organizations in advocating for expanded relief for nonprofit employers and new relief to volunteer-run organizations. Please read the full submission from Pillar ED Michelle Baldwin below and letters from ONN and other organizations here.
Re: Provincial Budget Consultation
Jan 22, 2021
From: Michelle Baldwin, Executive Director, Pillar Nonprofit Network
Pillar Nonprofit Network, is a regional network that supports individuals, organizations and enterprises invested in their community impact in London and across Southwestern Ontario.
We operate a 32,000 sq ft shared space in London, Ontario – called Innovation Works – and we invest $4M in our region through our social finance program, VERGE Capital.
We believe the three pillars – nonprofit, business and government working together, is how we create an engaged, inclusive and vibrant community. As the Chair of the Ontario Nonprofit Network, I will be sharing our alignment with our provincial efforts.
We believe that we need communities that are safe and inclusive of every Ontarian. We believe that there are inequities that have been revealed but were here long before COVID19 for Black, Indigenous and People of Colour, women, people with disabilities and LGBTQ2+ communities.
Our partnership with government is essential for nonprofits and social enterprises to thrive because they are essential to our economy and we are significant employers and contribute to job creation.
Given the ongoing crisis in the nonprofit sector, Pillar Nonprofit Network was pleased to learn in December that nonprofits would be eligible for the Small Business Support Grant. While the eligibility criteria are limited, this is the first source of general operating support offered by the Ontario government during the pandemic. As such, we consider it a significant step toward a sector stabilization fund.
We recommend that the Ontario Government expand and extend the Small Business Support Grant to cover a broader range of workplaces, and introduce micro-grants for volunteer-only nonprofits.
- Increase eligibility to organizations that shut down in October 2020 under “Modified Stage 2” rules.
- Increase eligibility to those that remained open as “essential services'' during the Shutdown. One-third of nonprofits continue to operate during shutdowns and they have generally experienced increased costs related to pandemic measures as well as increased demand for services.
- Increase the $20,000 maximum grant to $50,000 for organizations that suffered $100,000 or more in revenue declines.
- Offer another round of one-time grants if the Shutdown is extended beyond mid-February.
- Introduce $500 to $5000 micro-grants for the 50 percent of nonprofits that have no paid staff, delivered through the Volunteer Centres that support them. The grants could support organizations like recreation and trails development groups, community arts and media programs, Legions, mutual aid networks, and service clubs that have helped to keep Ontarians healthy, safe, and connected during the crisis. Many of these organizations have experienced significant revenue declines and yet continue to provide valuable programs and services to Ontarians that have helped them through the crisis. They typically do not have an existing funding relationship with the Ontario government. Volunteer Centres have stepped up during the pandemic, helping organizations recruit and retain volunteers under rapidly changing circumstances, and they have been a lifeline to keep communities connected and safe.
- Given the cost of this expansion, we would be pleased to see the federal and Ontario governments work together to cost-share this level of support. Ontario Nonprofit Network and Pillar Nonprofit Network would work with our counterparts across Canada to advocate for federal investment if the Ontario government agreed to this framework.
I ask you to pause to imagine the organizations you personally support and engage with – pause to imagine if they no longer existed.
Every single person in this province benefits from this vital sector. This is the moment for your support.