OLDS — The Hope 4 MVC Kids Society is growing so fast it may soon have to pay staff, so Lisa Nicholson, the non-profit’s co-founder, gave a presentation to an Olds Council policies and priorities meeting, asking for advice on how it could obtain more funding.
Council passed a motion which, in part, called on its administrative staff “to provide any information on grants they become aware of, to Hope 4 MVC Kids Society.”
Nicholson created the Hope 4 MVC Kids Society with the help of a friend in November, 2013 when her family couldn't obtain the financial assistance they needed to help her daughters and when it was discovered that there were many more families struggling in that way as well.
The society helps families in Mountain View County cope with some medical-related expenses so they can concentrate on helping their child.
“We’re a hand-up, not a hand-out. But we do work with other organizations to try and meet what they need,” Nicholson said.
“But also the family has to have the ability to either contribute or to try and navigate help and do some additional fundraising.”
Nicholson said the society “has grown bigger than what we are. It’s become quite exhausting.
“We’ve grown 30 per cent every year, and this is money just given to families. So it’s grown way more than just a charity run by volunteers.”
In addition to asking for advice on where they can turn to for funding, Nicolson asked for suggestions on who could help undertake some strategic planning so the organization could handle its growth better and prepare for the day when it might actually hire staff.
“How can we make it the best it can be and continue on?” she asked.
Nicholson has been told by provincial officials that the Hope 4 MVC Kids Society is unique. Because of that fact, it’s now getting applications from people in Airdrie and Calgary.
Nicholson said they don’t fund those requests; they’re outside the Mountain View County boundaries but the fact volunteers are receiving those applications from those places is “quite heartbreaking,” she said.
COVID-19 has made things even more stressful for the organization.
“We had to pause applications for the first time ever this year. So we paused at the beginning of COVID-19 announcements because we were down to our last $10,000. We’ve had four big applications, one after another,” she said.
“So when you’re paying $10,000 bills, one after another, it soon amounts up. Adaptive equipment is not cheap. Home adaptions are not cheap.”
On top of that, again, due to the pandemic, the Hope 4 MVC Kids Society has not done any major fundraising because organizers felt that would be unfair while people are out of work and many businesses are barely scraping by – some may not even make it.
Also as a result of the pandemic, the society postponed its annual fundraiser to November, 2020, also adding to the financial stress.
“This Hope 4 MVC Kids Society does not belong to me," she said. "It is a community organization and it belongs to the community. And if I’ve done my job, I should be able to walk away at any point and the people in the community should be able to continue to grow it together.
“That’s really why I’m so passionate about it. I believe in it and it can grow into something amazing; we just need everybody’s support, helping shout what we do and helping with the growth of the organization.”