The Swan Hills Family And Community Support Services (FCSS) Board has proposed that it dissolve with Swan Hills FCSS reorganizing within the municipal structure as a department under the Town of Swan Hills. This proposed change in structure would not affect the programs and services offered by FCSS or their usual operations in any way; the change would be more of an aspect of management between FCSS and the Town Administration.

According to Swan Hills FCSS Director Trina Molnar, the main driver behind this proposal lies in the way provincial funding opportunities have changed over the last several years. Because FCSS is not a registered non-profit organization, they are no longer eligible for as many funding opportunities. The existing funding received by FCSS is spread between staffing and programming costs, with little left over for expansion or decision-making. 

If FCSS were a registered charity, it could access more funding opportunities through various grants, but as an organization operating under a municipality, it is ineligible for much of this funding.

These factors effectively limit what the FCSS Board can accomplish, no matter how good their intentions are. There is also the problem of needing to reach quorum, the minimum number of Board members required to be present to conduct business, which can sometimes be a challenge. If the Board can’t reach quorum, they can’t enact any decisions, which in turn causes potentially long delays until they can set up a meeting with the required number of people.

With these issues in mind, switching to a different management strategy makes sense. Swan Hills FCSS and the Town of Swan Hills already have a strong working relationship, making the choice to become a department under the Town a very sensible move.

Swan Hills FCSS is in the process of establishing a fundraising society called Mission Possible to open up more funding opportunities. As an organization, a society can participate in fundraising activities and apply for grants that are not available to FCSS. In essence, Mission Possible would be able to secure funding through fundraising and grants, and then FCSS could apply to them for funding for specific programs, initiatives, or equipment.

“We’re always looking for opportunities to participate in, to better the community,” said Molnar.

Overall, the proposed reorganization of Swan Hills FCSS within the municipal structure reflects a strategic response to ever-changing provincial funding challenges, aiming to enhance financial flexibility and better serve the community’s needs while maintaining a strong collaborative relationship with the Town of Swan Hills.

By Dean LaBerge, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Nov 17, 2023 at 10:50

This item reprinted with permission from   Grizzly Gazette   Swan Hills, Alberta

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