If elected as your Mayor in the October 2021 municipal election, one of my strategies I intend to implement is creating a donation matching pilot program for local initiatives totaling $500,000.00. For example, when a local resident/company donates to a local registered non-profit/charity, the City will match dollar-for-dollar up to $1000.00. This will result in the resident/company receiving a total $2,000.00 tax receipt. I will be donating the first 6 months of my mayoral salary to support this program. Now let me tell you why this is so important to me.
Beginning with economics, the Calgary Chamber of Voluntary Organizations indicated that “Non-profits and charities in Alberta employ about 450,000 people and generate $10 billion of the province’s GDP.” They’ve also indicated that “there’s a real possibility that up to one-fifth of Alberta non-profit agencies might not survive the pandemic” and that “Alberta must establish a ‘community recovery plan’ to help those organizations stay afloat”. According to a Calgary Herald’s article “a survey of Alberta non-profits conducted in the spring found 85 per cent of agencies are seeing a reduction in revenues from fundraising, while 73 per cent have seen an increase in demand for their services since the pandemic began in March.”
Venturing beyond the economic effect, why should supporting the non-profit/charitable sector be a top priority for our city and residents on a path to recovery from the pandemic?
In my perspective, these organizations provide vital services within our recreation, art and social or well-being sectors. Concentrating more specifically on Leduc, there was a 29% increase in caller volume from 2019 to 2020 and a 54% increase in the variety of social service based needs that callers were requesting in 2020 based on the 211 Alberta Database found on their website.
The Canadian Observatory on Homelessness, the largest national research institute devoted to homelessness in Canada, states that one of the leading factors contributing to an individual becoming homeless are “Structural Factors” defined as the following:
“Key factors can include the lack of adequate income, access to affordable housing and health supports and/or the experience of discrimination. Shifts in the economy both nationally and locally can create challenges for people to earn an adequate income, pay for food and for housing.”
I think it is safe to say that the current pandemic could, if not already, start to generate these “Structural Factors”. Being a small business owner, I have learned that it is vital to be proactive and see future trends, and it is my belief that this skill is also needed when governing the city's tax dollars. To my understanding, there has not been any additional financial resources provided to date by the City of Leduc towards the non-profit/charitable sector for support in providing adequate service to vulnerable residents during the pandemic. I believe, as your Mayor, that our non-profit/charitable sector will not only be essential for the recovery from the effects of COVID-19 moving forward, but that they are needed to prevent our residents from falling into harsh realities that many face.