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In late December 2010, Christian Reformed World Relief Committee-Canada received notice that its funding from the Canadian government’s Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) would not be renewed.

This loss of approximately $1.1 million came as a surprise to those in the CRWRC organization. It is about ten percent of the community development program funding, which does not include disaster response funding or other special grants CRWRC receives.

Ida Kaastra-Mutoigo, director of CRWRC-Canada, said, “CRWRC has over 30 years of development experience, and for 20 of those years the excellence of our programs and our ability to provide matching funds have won us support from CIDA.”

This decision does not mean that CRWRC’s programs are not up to CIDA’s standards. Andrew Ryskamp, director of CRWRC-U.S., explained: “Instead, CRWRC—like many other Canadian charities—was caught in the murky space between old and new priorities and changes in proposal application procedures and expectations at CIDA.”

Even though the funding cut is on the Canadian side, it affects the entire organization. CRWRC is appealing for transitional funding until it can submit another proposal in March, with a response not expected until September 2011. It is also asking Canadian supporters to contact their Member of Parliament to advocate on behalf of CRWRC.

“CRWRC was not alone in being denied CIDA funding. Many other organizations found themselves in the same situation in between the two funding frameworks,” explained Ryskamp. He said that unless the gap in funding is met, CRWRC will have to cut some of its programs.

 “This is where the greatest discouragement and devastation happens. CIDA is concerned about charities like CRWRC being dependent, but it is really about the communities and their sustainable development goals. CIDA’s decision will impact most significantly the communities trying to get out of poverty,” explained Kaastra-Mutoigo.

CRWRC is hoping that people will step up and make a special donation. It will also tap into reserves and cut costs.

“We now have to switch the way we think about CIDA’s money. It has to be looked at now as more flexible funding and we will have to adjust the core program budgeting accordingly. We have sent special requests to the churches for the transition time but we are also encouraging field staff to access funding at their country level with collaborations and relationships they have built,” said Kaastra-Mutoigo.

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