Applications will soon be open on a grants program aimed at making Muskoka more inclusive.
The District of Muskoka’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Anti-Racism (IDEA) Advisory Group is targeting early December to kick off its grants program.
Group Chair Mark Nakamura says qualifying organizations can expect up to $2,500 to fund initiatives in those four areas. He says there will be two streams of funding available, for businesses and community organizations, respectively.
“The reason why we chose employers is because that’s where most of the discrimination is experienced,” says Nakamura. “It’s our hope that by providing grants to employers, that they would be able to promote IDEA principles within their workplaces, and also with respect to their service provision.”
According to Nakamura, that could include making hiring practices more equitable, or making their services more accessible to marginalized groups.
On the community organization side, it’ll go to non-profits such as service clubs and charities. Nakamura says that stream is geared more towards public education and raising awareness on issues such as hate and discrimination.
“We feel as a group that we need to begin an education process around making people more aware of the pain and hurt that hate activity and incidents cause,” says Nakamura. “How to respond to it, and in the long term, how to prevent them.”
Nakamura says they won’t know the total funding for the program until the district’s 2023 budget is passed, but they estimate a maximum of $20,000 across all IDEA grants.
Applicants must be financially-stable and “credible” organizations, according to Nakamura, with more specific criteria to be listed on the online application page when it opens.
He adds that the advisory group is also working on anti-hate events, with the first hopefully running before the end of the year.