A Chat with Anika Gee, Make Something Oliver Director

A Q&A with one of the Busiest Committees in our League – Programs & Events
February 10, 2017
Your New Board of Directors 2017-2018
April 19, 2017

A Chat with Anika Gee, Make Something Oliver Director

Make Something Oliver is our league’s microgranting initiative. The Oliver Community League has funds available to community members who want to make their mark by hosting an event that will make Oliver even more amazing. Make Something Oliver began in 2015 to bring process and fairness to the many requests the league receives from our community for donations, hall use, financial support, etc. As a not-for-profit itself, the league is in a unique position to offer microgrants to help community members.

Q. Make Something Oliver is in its third year now. How has the program changed since its inception?
A. The concept is very much the same in that we will support initiatives in Oliver by Oliver residents that make our community better for everyone in some way, shape or form. To make the microgrant more accessible we’ve removed the deadlines because good ideas come more than once a year and we want to have vibrant projects in Oliver in every season. We’ve simplified our application process by moving it to the Oliver Community website and revamping the questions. And finally we’ve shifted the purpose of our committee from primarily adjudication (even though we still do that) to really promoting the grant to every resident of Oliver and supporting applicants in planning a successful initiative. We want every person to feel they can apply, not just those with years of experience as community organizers.

Q. Can you give readers some examples of events that have received funds in the past?
A. A couple of our favourite projects were the Light the Night Festival in 2015, and last year’s Summer BBQ series. Light the night provided the opportunity for community members to enjoy Peace Garden Park together, make lanterns and enjoy performances that certainly wouldn’t be safe inside an apartment! The BBQs that took place last summer were biweekly for July and August and hosted at Christ Church. The consistency offered community members a chance to build ongoing relationships rather than just meeting once. The funds supported the existing BBQ plan allowing the church to better advertise to surrounding buildings.

Q. Is it a tough process to receive the grant?
A. Ultimately, no. Of course we need to see a detailed plan with a thoughtful budget including quotes if applicable. However, our MSO Committee is a great group that will work with community members who may need training wheels for their first initiative. We make funding decisions based on a person or group’s capacity to complete the project, alignment with OCL goals, and the initiative’s positive impact on Oliver.

Q. Can I use the hall for my event?
A. We’d love if you’d rent the hall for your event – it’s the ultimate ‘supporting local’ thing to do! Because the hall costs money to maintain, we don’t rent it out for free. Whether you only need the hall or need funding for a venue and other expenses, the rental fee is something you will have to include in your budget and the money you’re asking for. We do have some long term renters as well, so as per most venues, it is subject to availability.

Q. Why did you want to be the MSO Director?
A. For starters the board interested me because I love Oliver and wanted to be a part of a team that helps preserve what is great about it and also takes initiative into making it even better. MSO felt like a good fit when I thought about how neat it would be to be able to respond to “wouldn’t it be nice if we could…” with “you can!”. It is great to be able to talk to people who love Oliver as much as I do that want to make their mark, then show them that we want them to make their mark too and will invest in their idea.

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