September 15th, 2011

UserPosted by: * PACT Editor

Should Community Outreach Programs Receive Government Funding?

More than a million Canadian children, one in nine, live in households below the poverty line according to a 2008 report; many more are otherwise disadvantaged because of issues in their communities or their homes. There are a number of community outreach organizations specializing in helping disadvantaged children - Big Brothers & Sisters of Canada, Doorsteps Neighbourhood Service in Toronto, to name two - that make significant improvements in individual lives and communities as a whole. Yet these types of organizations must dedicate a significant portion of their resources to fundraising.

Some government funding is available: Big Brothers & Sisters, for example, receives $200,000 in government grants annually toward it’s roughly $5 million operating budget. According to the organization’s 2010 Annual Report, however, it spends more than that amount in yearly fundraising efforts. Would these types of establishments be better able to focus on their mission of helping children and communities if they spent less effort on fundraising - and is it the government’s responsibility to shore up that funding? Some say yes, and for reasons more pragmatic than you might think.

The effects of positive intervention on disadvantaged children are both real and significant. Kids involved with Big Brothers & Sisters graduate from high school at a rate 20% higher than the national average, and many who were involved in dangerous and criminal behaviour before being matched with a mentor are able to break out of the cycle. Doorsteps Neighbourhood Services works to help get people back to work (improving the economy) and promoting healthy lifestyles (affecting health care costs). By reducing criminality and helping citizens raise themselves up from poverty, these groups have an enormous impact on society as a whole, and can potentially reduce the need for government grants elsewhere.

On the other hand, there is obviously only a limited amount of government funding to go around, and countless groups seeking assistance. Federal, provincial, and municipal levels of government must spread resources across a wide swath of interested parties in order to satisfy the needs of their constituents. Tough decisions have to be made; one group’s increased funding means another’s decrease.

It’s cliche for a reason: children are our future. The better society of tomorrow is dependent on the opportunities for success afforded to those growing up today. So perhaps these types of organizations, focusing on the most vulnerable youth in our communities, should have a priority on government funding rather than rely on charities like the United Way to keep their doors open.

Video: Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Canada Commercial

Sources
http://www.canadiancrc.com/child_poverty_in_canada.aspx
http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/publicat/clinic-clinique/pdf/s2c32e.pdf
http://www.bigbrothersbigsisters.ca/site-bbbs/media/National/2010AnnualReport_web_en.pdf
http://doorsteps.ca/about-doorsteps
http://doorsteps.ca/strategic-plan/-areas-of-focus
http://www.bigbrothersbigsisters.ca/en/Home/AboutUs/ourmission.aspx


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Reference: bbbs/media/National/2010AnnualReport_web_en.pdf

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3 Comments:

User J Patton
Political View
PACT

2 years ago

Raise taxes on the rich to pay for a more equitable, kinder, safer society... The rich should be proud to contribute to the well-being of those less fortunate.

User M Nicula
OPC Leader
PACT

2 years ago

This topic is the subject of another The DASH show shooting on Sunday Sep 18 in Toronto - will be made available online soon after. We have invited Mr. Morris Beckford, from the organization 'Doorstep Neighbourhood Services' to talk about their good work!

I fully support such programs and I believe that, aside from free daycare and better education - especially for those living under the poverty line - it's not only essential to us as a nation, but it is a duty. Canadians are proud of their charitable contributions and rightly so - Canada is one of the most generous people when it comes to good causes. Well, we have a million people right here, in Canada, admittedly by our government under the line of poverty. Are we doing enough?

It troubles me that programs such as Doorstep or Big Brother have to rely on charitable organizations - doubling up the admin layers. I dream that one day the biggest and only charitable organization will be our own government, taking responsibility and care of those citizens who need it the most.

User J Law
Political View
PACT

2 years ago

Very good points made here, yes, the current generation should be raising the next generation to be better, big brothers & sisters does do good work, and although it sounds cynical I have a feeling that there are some charities out there that don't want a solution since they would then cease to have a purpose.

I do believe that government should be as small as possible and I agree that the main responsibility of government should be the country as a whole, not certain groups or citizens.

If we fail to support our children, especially those in need (living in poverty, abuse, etc. NOT government support for "I want to play hockey") are we then failing our own future needs? Do we focus our collective efforts on the here and now only, or do we cast an eye to the future possibilities and do what we can to make the future better as well?

I would have to say that organizations such as Big Brothers & Sisters who provide broad, future-centric societal support and improvement efforts deserve some measure of government support. I also believe that they should be run as much as possible by volunteer efforts, yes, even the ...

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Should community outreach programs targeting disadvantaged children receive more government funding?

Yes
75% (33 votes)
No
23% (10 votes)
Abstention
2% (1 votes)

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M Nicula voted: Yes
C Pavlis voted: Yes

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P Sachs voted: No
6e7b33fdea3adc80ebd648fffb665bb8 voted: Yes
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daca41214b39c5dc66674d09081940f0 voted: Yes
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692f93be8c7a41525c0baf2076aecfb4 voted: Yes
G Haas voted: No
R Odynski voted: No
C Benchimol voted: Yes
J Law voted: No
J Stachyruk voted: Yes
N Uhlig voted: Yes
J Watson voted: Yes
V Packota voted: Yes
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D Veilleux voted: Yes

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D Semple voted: Yes
S Hill voted: No
L Allison voted: Yes
C Lewis voted: Yes
S LeBlanc voted: Yes
S Belanger voted: Yes
M Wood voted: Yes

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fec8d47d412bcbeece3d9128ae855a7a voted: No
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e836d813fd184325132fca8edcdfb40e voted: Yes
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B Egerton voted: Yes
84d2004bf28a2095230e8e14993d398d voted: Yes
8e2cfdc275761edc592f73a076197c33 voted: Yes
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7fb8ceb3bd59c7956b1df66729296a4c voted: Yes
dd8eb9f23fbd362da0e3f4e70b878c16 voted: Yes