The additional investment for arts, cultural and charitable organizations will help those organizations bring joy to individuals and families and offer a lifeline to those hit hardest by COVID-19.
"Arts organizations, cultural events and charities are the heart and soul of our communities," said Stuart Lee, President and CEO of EPCOR. "They're integral to creating a thriving community and providing joy, meaning and hope. This financial support will provide a lasting impact to many important organizations and I'm excited to see how they will use these funds to continue delivering support during a very challenging time."
This $1 million investment adds to the $1.25 million EPCOR provided to 47 arts, culture, and charitable organizations in 2020. It also supplements emergency relief funding, top-up support for existing community partners, and an employee matching fundraising campaign, bringing EPCOR's total investment in community relief and recovery efforts to $3 million since the pandemic began.
The Heart + Soul Fund provides financial support for arts organizations, festivals and attractions to develop new and creative ways to deliver community-based programming. Charities and non-profit organizations across EPCOR's operational areas can also access this funding to implement new or modified fundraising programs that support the growing demand for community resources. In 2020, Heart + Soul funding helped serve as a catalyst for donations through matching fundraising campaigns. Heart + Soul investments of nearly $400,000 inspired almost $2.5 million in charitable giving from the community.
"A little help can go a long way," said Bruce Reith, Executive Director, Hope Mission. "EPCOR's generosity through the first round of the Heart + Soul Fund inspired many others to support the most vulnerable members of our community. This support has been essential to helping provide hot meals and warm beds for those who need them most. The need still exists and we welcome this additional funding opportunity and the impact it will have."
"EPCOR's financial support over the past year has allowed us to find new and innovative ways to continue doing what we do best – connect audiences and artists," said Megan Dart, Interim Executive Director, Edmonton Fringe. "Because of this funding, we've provided meaningful work for artists and delivered captivating programming during these isolating times. This additional funding will only further support the efforts by arts organizations to make sure Edmonton remains strong and vibrant."
One-time grants ranging from $5,000 to $100,000 will be awarded to arts and cultural organizations, festivals and attractions. Successful applicants can use funds to support programming costs, artist fees, production budgets, and marketing expenses; as well as extra costs associated with the implementation of measures to minimize the risk of virus transmission.
Charitable organizations that deliver critical supports such as food, shelter, mental health, substance use and family violence programming are eligible to receive up to $25,000 each to assist with launching new or modified fundraising programs or to stimulate additional giving through matching campaigns.
Applications are now open and submissions will be accepted until the $1 million is fully allocated. A complete list of guidelines and criteria, including an easy-to-use application system, is available at epcor.com/heartandsoulfund. EPCOR developed the Heart + Soul Fund with support and consultation from community partners and leaders working in arts and culture, philanthropy, business, and government.
Impact from the 2020 Heart + Soul Fund:
- $1.25 million EPCOR provided to 47 arts, culture, recreation and charitable organizations
- $394,000 in matching donations helped charities raise almost $2.5 million
- 440 artists were employed
- 108 new artistic works were produced by 13 local theatres
- Voices were elevated thanks to direct support for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of colour) artists
- Indigenous art took centre stage in seven performance programs
- More than 30,000 students accessed arts and science-based programs online
- Guests were welcomed in new ways at Edmonton Valley Zoo, Fort Edmonton, Telus World of Science, Citadel Theatre, the Winspear Centre and the Art Gallery of Alberta
- World class virtual and in-person experiences offered through six festivals
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EPCOR, through its wholly owned subsidiaries, builds, owns and operates electrical, natural gas and water transmission and distribution networks, water and wastewater treatment facilities, sanitary and stormwater systems, and infrastructure in Canada and the United States. The Company also provides electricity, natural gas and water products and services to residential and commercial customers. EPCOR, headquartered in Edmonton, is an Alberta Top 75 employer.