In the story “Houston mountain bike presents to council” published in the Houston Today Jan. 25, 2017 issue, the Houston Mountain Bike Association (HMBA) requested from Houston council support through the District of Houston’s charitable tax status to apply for a grant from the Bulkley Valley Community Foundation to cover costs for the HMBA start up project. Small groups like HMBA can not afford to be a charitable status organization, so they require a third party with a charitable status receive the funds from the Bulkley Valley Foundation and then distribute the money to them.
A policy titled “Grants – Bulkley Valley Foundation” was discovered dating back to June 17, 1997 indicating that Houston council can sponsor projects and accept money in trust for groups receiving grants from the Bulkley Valley Foundation.
Councillor Rick Lundrigan brought to discussion a concern in the wording of the contract.
”’… The charitable organization will be accountable and fully responsible for completion of the project should your non-profit organization dissolve. Any assets purchased with the fund grant will become the property of the charitable partner.’ In that, I wonder about our liability. Am I reading this correctly that we would be on the hook for the [remaining financial sum],” asked Lundrigan.
“That would be a correct reading in that we would take ownership of any assets purchased with the grant. So if they were partway through developing a trail, any improvements to the trail would become district property,” replied Gerald Pinchbeck,Corporate Services Officer for the District of Houston.
Michael Glavin, Chief Administrative Officer for the District of Houston, explained that in the policy it states that the applicants must complete their project in advance of receiving any funding.
Concern from council was still raised regarding what would happen if the project is not completed by the applicants, and if the charitable partner, in this case the District of Houston, is obligated to finish it.
Council resolved to provide support to the Houston Mountain Bike Association so they could meet deadline requirements to apply for the grant, under the condition that a draft of the policy addressing those concerns be made.