by Jini Stolk
You may know that I’ve been involved in the Ontario Nonprofit Network since its inception, and am now acting as its Chair. In the beginning, in addition to my passionate support for much of the work that nonprofit organizations are doing in our province, I wanted to be sure that the arts took their place as one of the major contributors to community development, social health, and…joy. I’m glad to say that at this point the arts community’s collaborative skills, communications, social media and marketing chops, effective advocacy, and dynamic associations are a vital part of ONN’s success.
The ONN, in its turn, is currently working on many things that have tremendous value for arts organizations. I want to point out a few:
- First, our insurance package. ONN’s first foray into group discounts has resulted in the best insurance coverage available, at the best price, for Directors & Officers Liability policies, General Liability, and even Home and Auto packages which can add value to staff compensation. Check out the key information in a handy reference, with lots of helpful links, and related articles.
- We have been working tirelessly to make the new Ontario Nonprofit Corporations Act one which is relevant, helpful and minimally disruptive to nonprofits, and to ask for essential changes to the federal government’s Anti-Spam Legislation. There, our simple message is, the legislation shouldn’t apply to the work of nonprofits when they are reaching out to our supporters and communities.
Our groundbreaking work on Open for Business continues with a lot to report on how we’re working across provincial ministries to reform, streamline and modernize the sector-government relationship to improve public benefit programs and impact. The second quarterly report was recently released and shows significant progress in some areas, and next steps to come.
- If you haven’t seen it, here is the helpful resource we helped develop on police records checks: “An Overview of Provincially Mandated Police Records Checks: A Resource for Ontario’s Not-for-Profit Sector” – a first time summary of what’s required, when, for organizations dealing with volunteer screening.
- We’re also happy to report substantial progress on the registry of government surplus lands, with nonprofits now on the priority access list.
- There is more work to be done to open up eligibility for the Infrastructure Ontario Loan Program but thanks to the vital work of ArtsBuild with ONN we’re optimistic that the arts sector will soon be eligible to apply.
And ongoing: we’re looking at the urgent need in the arts and other sectors for shared administrative services through the shared platforms constellation, and have been working to persuade the government to put “unclaimed intangible properties” to work for everyone, with surplus assets from the program used to create a revolving investment fund for nonprofit organizations, like what has successfully been done in B.C.
And of course I should mention the enormous complexity of the good fight for funding reform (not literally: we’re finding lots of willing allies within government, but also lots of barriers). But we’re not going away and we’re not giving up.