Edmonton non-profits, charities and arts organizations impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic are getting a helping hand to the tune of $465,000 thanks to EPCOR.
The city’s utility company announced 23 organizations would be provided funding through its Heart + Soul initiative, which provides grants ranging from $5,000 to $100,000. This is the first installment of the $1 million EPCOR earmarked for this year. The funding is meant to assist not-for-profit organizations that have lost revenue due to the pandemic or needed to adjust activities in order to follow public health measures.
EPCOR president and CEO Stuart Lee said in a news release Tuesday that he hopes the funding will allow organizations to continue to bring joy to the community this spring and summer.
“We’re grateful for the role that arts, culture and charitable programs play in uplifting Edmontonians, revitalizing our community and making life brighter for all of us,” he said.
The Edmonton International Street Performers Festival Association, one of 16 arts and culture organizations receiving $290,000 in funding, will be using the money to host its street performances and workshops.
Shelley Switzer, the artistic producer with the association, said in the news release that finding ways to perform safely is key.
“Through the support of the EPCOR Heart + Soul fund, and in partnership with the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues, StreetFest is aiming to bring our unique brand of joyously uplifting and vibrant programming to small audiences in their own communities,” she said. “For 2021, StreetFest’s Mask Parades and workshops will keep our festival spirit alive and well and living in Edmonton neighbourhoods.”
In addition, the Thousand Faces Festival Association is producing a new play about an 11-year-old Indigenous boy who finds his voice through storytelling while being told transitional tales from his grandfather. The production will be broadcast live to schools on June 21 for National Indigenous Peoples Day.
Mark Henderson, the artistic director with Thousand Faces Festival Association, said the funding from EPCOR allows them to share these Indigenous stories with thousands of students. He said the funding will allow them to pay their artists and arts workers for their work.
The remaining $175,000 will be going to seven charities to replace lost fundraising revenue or motivate larger giving programs.
Liz Tondu, the executive director for Edmonton Meals on Wheels, said the pandemic has made it difficult for volunteers to provide meals to our clients and has impacted their ability to fundraise.
“We have also seen an enormous increase in demand for our services. Being awarded Heart +Soul Funding will help us to continue to serve those who need it most,” she said.
Grant applications remain open and organizations are encouraged to apply.