Kelowna Safety Council back on track – for now | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna Safety Council back on track – for now

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October 11, 2018 - 10:45 AM

KELOWNA - An emergency $5,000 grant from the City of Kelowna, if further donations come in, will allow the Kelowna and District Safety Council to stay open until the end of the year, rather than closing at the end of the month as feared earlier this week.

“We’ve got a ways to go,” executor director John Grimes told shortly after hearing about the grant council agreed to take out of its contingency fund Tuesday, Oct. 9.

“We’re looking at three different time frames. One is keeping the place open to the end of the year. The $5,000 grant helps with that," Grimes said. "We have a public fundraising campaign going on so we hope to match that to help us through to the end of the year.

Grimes said they also have their fingers crossed that the organization's usual $20,000 provincial gaming grant comes in.

“Over the longer term... our goal is to raise $300,000 over all to deal with deferred maintenance, modernization and program improvements," he said.

Grimes said the Safety Council is unusual for a non-profit in that only about five per cent of its funding is from grants. The rest comes from revenue.

The single largest generator of revenue is the $700, five-day motorcycle training course that flopped this summer due to heavy smoke from forest fires. Air quality alerts kept many people indoors and there was concern for instructors’ health so some sessions were cancelled.

The Safety Council has been around since 1980 and offers a wide variety of safety programs for all ages. It has provided training to tens of thousands of people. While the bulk come from the Central Okanagan, the service area stretches from Penticton to Vernon and beyond.

“Lots of people know of the safety council from one or more of its services,” Grimes said. “Most people don’t know the overall extent of all we do, which is safety from cradle to grave. From toddlers to seniors.”

The council holds bumper car and birthday party events, provides babysitting and home alone training, along with driver training for immigrants and seniors.

If the organization can be turned around, Grimes would like to offer things like training people on the safe use of motorized scooters.

Grimes started as executive director in April. He has worked in the non-profit sector all his working life and raised, he said, hundreds of millions of dollars.

The board knew it was at some risk having so much of its revenue coming from the motorcycle course but everyone thought Grimes would have more time to get things back on track. His focus will be on bringing in donations rather than fundraising events, noting events cost a lot of money to put on and non-profits often spend “a dollar to bring in a dime.”

A GoFundMe effort aimed at raising $7,500 has so far brought in $2,020. Donations can be made on the Safety Council website here or at the GoFundMe page here.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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