Group promotes independent funding for non-profits

Matt Gardner
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Members of the new group All Nations Common Good P.A. grill up hamburgers and hotdogs on Friday at a barbecue to raise funds that will be used to help other non-profit organizations and projects within the community. John Hanikenne is standing third from right.

An inauspicious barbecue along First Street East on Friday may have represented the dawn of a new funding model for local non-profit organizations.

All Nations Common Good P.A. (ANCGPA) is a new non-profit organization that is seeking to change the climate for non-profits in Prince Albert by promoting an alternative source of funding -- one that emphasizes co-operation between different groups.

“What we’re looking at is not to be in competition with other non-profit groups in town,” member John Hanikenne said.

“We’re looking at raising our own funding, being self-sustaining, and the money that we generate will go back into the community to help other projects and other groups. So at the end of the year, if other groups wanted to apply to us, they could have some of our funding.”

Friday’s barbecue represented an effort by ANCGPA to establish a base level of funding that will allow the group to begin getting permits and other items necessary for startup purposes.

The group must also pay for renovations of its building, which was the site of the recent fundraising barbecue.

“Here what we’re doing is we’re setting up a deli on the main floor and we’ll be serving food and giving people that normally wouldn’t have a chance at a job in the city an opportunity,” Hanikenne said. “Up here (on the top floor) we’ll be doing arts and crafts and selling those arts and crafts.”

The deli will be open year-round, serving a wide variety of food. ANCGPA members are currently looking at wage subsidies through social services and employment agencies to provide assistance to workers starting out with their training.

The group’s building formally belonged to the now defunct organization Prince Albert Women of the Earth, which included a number of members who have now joined ANCGPA.

We’re looking at raising our own funding, being self-sustaining, and the money that we generate will go back into the community to help other projects and other groups. John Hanikenne

Seeking to explain the demise of the previous group, Hanikenne pointed to the general climate for non-profits in Prince Albert -- specifically, that there were too many.

“There’s all the friendship centres, there’s the Métis women here, there’s tons and tons of groups,” Hanikenne said. “But they’re all dependent on government funding.

“So what we’re thinking is … let’s do something ourselves and let’s build ourselves. And where we go from there? Well, we’ll help other people.

“We’ll be looking at the initial startups, like from Northern Lights Casino and things like that,” he added. “But that’s it. After that, we’re on our own.”

In conjunction with that co-operative spirit, ANCGPA is staying away from formal positions, with all group members having equal authority.

“We want it so that everybody that works here has a say at the board meetings, everything, so everybody’s a part of it,” Hanikenne said.

“It’s quite a bit different than a lot of the groups in that regard, because most of the groups have their presidents and their hierarchies.”

In the coming weeks and months, members will continue their efforts to get the group up and running.

Aside from their ongoing building renovations, ANCGPA is planning to hold another fundraising barbecue on Wednesday, May 28.

The strong turnout for hamburgers and hotdogs on Friday appears to bode well for the group’s next barbecue.

“We’d like to thank the people that came out today and supported us,” Hanikenne said. “It was amazing -- amazing day.”

Organizations: Prince Albert, Nations Common Good P.A., Northern Lights Casino

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