March 2, 2009
NACKAWIC (CNB) - About 30 people representing non-profit organizations in central New Brunswick met here recently to identify how their sector may be strengthened in partnership with the provincial government.
"Many good suggestions were brought forward for implementing our strategic plan to support the non-profit sector in our province," said Brian Kenny, minister responsible for community non-profit organizations. "There is a strong desire for organizations to be mission-driven, with the government on side as a partner in financial support and policy development."
Participants suggested that non-profit groups be able to retain their surplus budgets from year to year; that tax credits be offered to volunteers for community service work; and that property tax exemptions be granted for organizations with buildings to maintain.
Other issues raised included competition among groups for public funds; access to information about government programs; training for non-profit organizationss; sharing resources within regions; and the affect of government policy on this sector, especially in rural New Brunswick.
"There are thousands of non-profit organizations in the province," Kenny said. "Many of them are working in isolation with limited financial or human resources at their disposal. Partnerships within their sector and with government will sustain and strengthen their abilities to build communities at the grassroots level, resulting in a more self-sufficient province."
The Community Non-Profit Organizations Secretariat has been working on establishing multi-year funding agreements for non-profit organizations; reviewing the funding application process to reduce red tape; identifying options for better insurance rates and programs for non-profit organizations; developing a website that may be used as a resource for non-profits; and setting up an advisory committee to provide further input from region to region.
The Nackawic conference was the sixth in a series organized to discuss the Delivering on the Blueprint document, the government's response to the Premier's Community Non-Profit Task Force report, Blueprint for Action.
The next regional conference will take place on Saturday, March 28, in Saint John for the southwest region. Registration is available on the secretariat's website, www.gnb.ca/volunteer, or by telephoning 1-888-295-4545. A list of conferences as well as information on nominations for upcoming volunteer awards are available on the website.
During consultations by the Premier's Task Force on the Community Non-Profit Sector, organizations and people from across the province spoke about the expectations of the challenges facing the sector in their respective regions. The task force released its report in September 2007.
MEDIA CONTACT: Judy Cole, communications, Community Non-Profit Organizations Secretariat, 506-444-3522.