As of Wednesday, December 9th, OSCA’s Save Our Firehall campaign has raised $36,429.
“We have a long way to go to reach our goal of $300,000 but we are encouraged by the support we have received so far. It’s like the gift that keeps on giving and we are so grateful,” said OSCA President Richard Slowikowski. The Save Our Firehall fundraising campaign was launched online on November 24th and in print in OSCAR’s December issue.
“This is OSCA’s first digital fundraising campaign and it has been a challenge to get it up and running. Firehall staff, Board and Committee members, and OOS volunteers have been working via Zoom and a variety of project management apps — from Trello to Basecamp — to get this campaign off the ground,” said Slowikowski. “It’s been a veritable ‘tour de force.’ We’re learning as we go. As one volunteer said, it’s like building a bike while you ride it.” Faced with a funding shortfall caused by COVID-19, fundraising became the only viable route to keeping the Firehall’s doors open, retain staff, innovate with virtual programming and offer its traditional, in-person After 4 program to support families. OSCA generates revenue from program fees, delivering programs that promote the fitness and wellbeing of seniors and adults, and that provide pre-and after-school care and summer camps to families, as well as affordable access for vulnerable populations.
The City of Ottawa owns the Firehall and is responsible for its maintenance. OSCA, however, is responsible for delivering all recreational and community programming for OOS, which includes all capital and direct expenses associated with programming as well as operational costs for the organization as a whole. OSCA has managed to keep most of its full time staff employed with the help of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and the updated Canada Summer Jobs Grant. OSCA also successfully applied to the Red Cross’s Resilient Communities Grant and continues to draw on its operations reserve fund. “We’re feeling encouraged and we’re upbeat,” said Slowikowski. “We are grateful and heartened by the donations received and the many conversations fundraising has generated. It says something about the generosity and compassion of Old Ottawa South residents. It also says something about the value of having a community centre.”