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Boosting charity – Eye on volunteer sector

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Separate efforts are underway in Canada and the United Kingdom to support the nonprofit sector and improve its ties with government.

The Canadian government announced $11.6 million, or more than $7.5 million U.S., for nonprofit groups to lead 21 pilot projects to help develop federal policy.

The projects aims to build the nonprofit sector’s ability to influence government policy-making and help involve nonprofits in the daily work of government, said Lucienne Robillard, president of the Treasury Board of Canada and chair of the Reference Group of Ministers for the Voluntary Sector.

The grants were financed through the Voluntary Sector Initiative, a joint project of the nonprofit sector and government that was established with $28.5 million, or more than $18.5 million U.S., for a Sectoral Involvement in Departmental Policy Development fund.

A second round of proposed projects is under review.

At the same time, the Charity Commission of England and Wales has set up a special unit to serve small charities — with income of less than 10,000 British pounds, or roughly $14,000.

The commission – the government department that registers, monitors and supports charities and investigates alleged wrongdoing – also will focus on delivering individual services to particular charities and better targeting its supervision to charities with income of 10,000 British pounds or more.

Groups with annual income of less than 10,000 pounds represent two of every three registered charities in the U.K. but account for less than 2 percent of annual income of registered charities.

Roughly five percent of charities received nearly 90 percent of total annual income of all charities.

The Charity Commission has an annual budget of 21.3 million pounds, or nearly $30.3 million. That budget will increase by 4.2 million pounds, or nearly $6 million, in 2002-03, and by 700,000 pounds more, or more than $995,000, in 2003-04.

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