publication date: Aug 15, 2011
The Government of Canada is
helping Canadian charities respond to the need for emergency aid in East Africa
by setting up the East
Africa Drought Relief Fund
. It's not a direct
matching grant program for charities. Rather, for every eligible dollar an
individual Canadian donates to a registered Canadian charity for drought relief
in East Africa, the government will contribute a dollar to its own fund.
The Canadian International Development Agency
will then allocate those
funds to established Canadian and international humanitarian organizations for projects
that benefit the people most affected by the drought.
How are registered charities involved?
Donors can donate to any
registered Canadian charity that is receiving donations in response to the
drought. The charity must report these eligible donations to CIDA by September
30, 2011. The program description on CIDA's website does not mention any cap on
the amount the government is willing to contribute.
What is an eligible donation?
Individual Canadians may donate up
to $100,000, specifically designated for responding to the drought, by
September 16. Corporate donations and non-designated gifts that registered
charities choose to allocate to drought relief are not eligible.
Registered charities may hold
fundraising events to raise money from individuals specifically for the drought
relief efforts. These amounts would be eligible even when donation receipts are
not issued. A charity may gift the collected amount to another registered
charity but it should be declared only once to CIDA to ensure no
double-counting of donations.
Timing vague on government's side
CIDA came under fire for
several months this year after cancelling a long-term working relationship with
. The deep cut dealt a devastating blow to the programming of an
organization with significant international relief experience.
Minister Bev Oda
issued conflicting statements about the reasons for the cancellation,
which have never been satisfactorily explained with respect to the agency's
According to CIDA, grants
from the East Africa Drought Relief Fund will be allocated "based on
CIDA's humanitarian assistance guidelines and the ability of Canadian and
international humanitarian organizations to access the affected populations and
deliver timely, effective, and appropriate humanitarian assistance."
Program announcements contain no information about target
dates for the federal funds to be released or deadlines for the CIDA process. Registered
charities accepting donations for the Fund must complete and send in
the East Africa Drought Relief Fund Declaration Form
For more information, http://www.acdi-cida.gc.ca/acdi-cida/ACDI-CIDA.nsf/eng/ANN-72082543-GL5#a4