Back in 2020, The Federation launched the Community Social Services Training Fund—a pool of grant funding provided by the provincial government to support inclusive training and development efforts throughout our sector. In August of this year, our government colleagues announced another pool of grant funding to address gaps in a different area of our work.
This week, we are excited to announce that applications are open for the Community Social Services Sector Technology Fund. A total of $1.5 million in grant funding, administered by The Federation, is available to help BC’s community social services organizations upgrade their technologies and improve clients’ access to virtual supports, learning opportunities, and employment.
How we got here
Sector sustainability was top of mind for many organizations when the Social Services Sector Round Table was created in early 2019. While subcommittees were struck to focus on procurement and compensation and HR, everyone at the Round Table also understood that IT was also a key factor in the long-term sustainability of our sector—especially for rural and remote communities.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, our sector responded quickly and creatively and used technology in new ways to ensure that the families and communities we serve were not left more isolated and vulnerable than they already were.
These funds will help make some of those changes permanent while also addressing the increasing costs of connecting with clients, working remotely, and managing data and information appropriately. You know as well as I do that providing safe and accessible supports and services has become more necessary and more challenging than ever before.
Apply for both grant streams
There are two different grant streams an organization may apply for: Support for Organizational Technology and Support for Client Technology. You may apply for both grant streams, and you may be awarded grants for both grant streams. If you decide to apply for both grant streams, you must do so via one combined application.
The Support for Organizational Technology grant offers up to $30,000 depending on the size of your organization. The Support for Client Technology grant offers up to $2,000 per organization. Organizations will be required to include a proposed budget with their application. You can learn more and apply now on The Federation website.
Supporting clients and organizations
All community social services organizations in British Columbia are encouraged to apply. This funding can be used for new technology to enhance service delivery or facilitate collaboration with partners and/or provide clients with better access to wellness supports or employment opportunities.
The advisory committee will be prioritizing geographic equity in the allocation of funds and will consider both population size and the unique needs of different regions and communities. The review process will also take into consideration the historical under-resourcing of organizations outside of major urban centres and urban Indigenous organizations as well as the unique connectivity challenges for employees and clients in remote communities.
Full eligibility criteria and details about the review process as well as reporting requirements can be found on The Federation website. The application deadline is October 31, 2022. Disbursement notifications will be sent in January 2023.
The funding has been provided by the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction to respond to the service delivery and sustainability needs of our sector. This opportunity is a huge success for our sector and I am very grateful and appreciative of everyone who helped to make this happen—my colleagues at the Round Table and our sector allies and government partners elsewhere. This is the result of the government and the sector working together, identifying shared goals, and focusing on long-term sustainability and service delivery.
If you have any questions about this funding opportunity or the application process, please contact either of us or The Federation office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rick FitzZaland, Executive Director
Catherine Rana, Director of Programs and Services