COVID-19 updates and FAQs for Community Gaming Grant recipients and applicants

February 10, 2021 - COVID-19 FAQs for Community Gaming Grant Recipients & Applicants

Last Updated February 10, 2021

 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Community Gaming Grants program reaffirms that our top priority remains the health and safety of British Columbians. We recognize the substantial and unprecedented impact that the COVID-19 pandemic is having on B.C.’s not-for-profit sector. We have made temporary changes to the Community Gaming Grants program to help not-for-profit organizations adapt and continue to provide vital services to British Columbians, including many vulnerable people who are particularly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The following FAQs are for past recipients and new applicants for Community Gaming Grants.

Is there a decrease in the annual $140 million budget available through the Community Gaming Grants program in 2021/22?

The Community Gaming Grants program budget for 2021/22 will be finalized after the B.C. government tables the budget for the fiscal year later this spring. The first sector intake will open as usual on February 1, 2021, and staff will begin to process applications as they come in.

Given current events, should our organization continue to apply for Community Gaming Grant funding in 2021/22?

Yes. We are committed to supporting our applicants during these challenging times and encourage you to apply. Please see the application period dates to determine when your sector intake will open in 2021: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/sports-culture/gambling-fundraising/gaming-grants/community-gaming-grants 

Due to COVID-19, our organization has changed how it delivers its programming, will this affect our eligibility for Community Gaming Grant funding?

No. The program supports organizations’ efforts to continue to deliver while ensuring physical distance.  Acceptable examples include an arts organization delivering performances virtually or a food bank adding a home delivery component. 

For 2021/22, we have also relaxed the requirement for programming to have been delivered for 12 months at the time of application for return applicants, recognizing that program cancellations and postponements may have impacted continuous program delivery.

For grants awarded in the 2021/22 grant year, funds should be disbursed within 12 months of the date the grant was received by an organization. If you were unable to disburse your grant funds within 12 months, you can request written approval to retain the funds for a longer period, by emailing the program at: CommunityGamingGrants@gov.bc.ca. In your email, please include a description of any postponements or cancellations, the reason(s) for any funds being held beyond 12 months, the amount to be retained and the proposed purpose(s) and timeline for disbursement.

Our organization has launched a new program to support vulnerable British Columbians during the pandemic.  Can we include this new programming on our application for 2021/22?

Yes. The Community Gaming Grants program will waive the 12-month previous delivery requirement for new programs that respond to COVID-19-related community needs and priorities.

Our organization has experienced a drop in donations and other revenues; will we be penalized if our program financials show that government funding makes up more than 75% of prior year operating costs?

No. The Community Gaming Grants program understands that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the ability of not-for-profit organizations to generate revenues. The program will not penalize returning applicants whose program financials show government funding making up more than 75% of prior year operating costs.

The impact of COVID-19 on our organization and programming has resulted in our organization carrying a large operating surplus (e.g. unspent funding, government aid, cash flow issues, etc.). Will we be penalized if our organization financials show we have an operational surplus of greater than 50% of our previous fiscal year’s operating expenses?

No. The Community Gaming Grants program understands that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on not-for-profit organizations’ financial position, due to unspent funding, receipt of government aid or disruptions to cash flow. The program will not penalize returning applicants whose organization financials show an operating surplus greater than 50% of its previous fiscal year’s operating expenses.

I am a new applicant; will the ‚Äčtemporarily relaxed COVID-19 measures apply to my organization?

New and returning applicant organizations are required to submit the same information in order to assess eligibility. The temporary COVID-19 flexibility measures are in place for returning applicants, as the program has historical information from previous applications in terms of eligibility, program delivery and compliance with program conditions.

If new applicants are unable to meet the program’s eligibility requirements as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we recommend that they contact the ministry prior to applying to discuss their particular challenges with program staff.

Has the Community Gaming Grants program changed its application process due to COVID-19?

The program has added a new requirement on both the regular and renewed funding application forms for all applicants to include a description of how they plan to deliver programming in the context of COVID-19 and the associated public health directives for physical distancing.

How long do I have to spend my grant funding? I received grant funding in the 2020/21 grant year and my notification letter indicated I have 24 months to spend the funding. If I am awarded funding for the 2021/22 grant year, how long do I have to disburse these funds?

For funding received in the 2020/21 grant year, (applications submitted between February 1- November 30, 2020) organizations have up to 24 months to spend this funding. Organizations were given an additional 12 months to spend their funding for the 2020/21 grant year in the event that they had to postpone or cancel programming. This allowed organizations to hold onto funds until they could safely delivery programming.

For funding received in the 2021/22 grant year (applications submitted between February 1- November 30, 2021) organizations have up to 12 months to spend this funding. This is a return to the program’s normal criteria.

Are there other new changes to the Community Gaming Grant being introduced for 2021/22?

Yes. For 2021/22, we have temporarily allowed Community Gaming Grant funding to be used to create new paid positions. The Community Gaming Grant program understands that the decline in programing and donation revenues has impacted many not-for-profits’ ability to hire and retain paid staff and volunteers. Grant funding can be used to create new positions in 2021/22 to help not-for-profits increase their capacity and resources by bringing new staff into their organization.

Our organization has cancelled/postponed or wants to cancel/postpone our programming in light of B.C.’s requirements for physical distancing. What are our options?

The Community Gaming Grants program fully supports organizations’ need to cancel or postpone programming in order to meet B.C.’s requirements for physical distancing.

If an approved program is cancelled/postponed, organizations may redirect the funds to any other approved program or may retain the funds for future use.

For grants awarded in the 2021/22 grant year, funds should be disbursed within 12 months of the date the grant was received by an organization. If you were unable to disburse your grant funds within 12 months, you can request written approval to retain the funds for a longer period, by emailing the program at: CommunityGamingGrants@gov.bc.ca. In your email, please include a description of any postponements or cancellations, the reason(s) for any funds being held beyond 12 months, the amount to be retained and the proposed purpose(s) and timeline for disbursement.

If programming is cancelled or postponed as a result of COVID-19, can we use our Community Gaming Grant funds for our organization’s core operating costs (i.e., wages, rent, utilities, insurance, etc.)?

No. Community Gaming Grant funds are intended to be used for the direct delivery of programming and therefore should not be used for your organization’s general operating expenses if programs cannot be delivered at this time. 

If an approved program is cancelled/postponed, organizations may redirect the funds to any other approved program or may retain the funds for future use.

If you were unable to disburse your grant funds within 12 months, you can request written approval to retain the funds for a longer period, by emailing the program at: CommunityGamingGrants@gov.bc.ca. In your email, please include in this section: a description of any postponements or cancellations, the reason(s) for any funds being held beyond 12 months, the amount to be retained and the proposed purpose(s) and timeline for disbursement.

Our organization has spent Community Gaming Grant funding on programming which has now been cancelled and we cannot recover these expenses. Are we required to re-pay this money to the program?

No. You will not be required to pay back any ‘sunk’ expenses that you have already incurred on programming which has been cancelled. You must include information about these expenses on the next Gaming Account Summary Report.

What are the changes being made to the Capital Projects program due to the COVID-19 pandemic?

In 2020/21, the program prioritized applications from organizations that were facing an increased demand for services due to the pandemic, and for modifications to facilities to support physical distancing.

The Province also gave priority to new applicants and increased the amount it covers from 50% to 80% of the total cost of eligible capital projects directly related to COVID-19.

Updated Guidelines for the 2021/22 Capital Projects Grant program have not yet been released; please check back for future updates.

Will ministry staff be available for questions during this time?

Staff are available during regular business hours by phone and email.

If you have questions, please email ministry staff at: CommunityGamingGrants@gov.bc.ca

If you would like to speak to a representative over the phone, please call ministry staff during business hours at: 250-356-1081 or toll-free at 1-800-663-7867