Humpbacks denied funds

Jackie Hildering and the membership of the Marine Education and Research Society are more determined than ever to see the Humpback Comeback Project succeed despite not receiving $25,000 from the Aviva Community Fund.

  • Feb. 3, 2011 7:00 a.m.

Jackie Hildering and the membership of the Marine Education and Research Society are more determined than ever to see the Humpback Comeback Project succeed despite not receiving $25,000 from the Aviva Community Fund.

Hildering hopes all those supporting the project and the public in general appreciate that many victories were recorded along the way. The plight of the humpback whales, the issue of entanglement, and the positive attention the project has garnered for North Islanders are milestones that have flowed from the project said Hildering.

Hildering regards finding alternate funding as just another hurdle for the project not the end. The marine detective, as she is known locally, intends to refocus her group’s efforts on securing funding through other means. She said that public donations through the MERS website at http://www.mersociety.org/ are welcome and every dollar helps.

Evidently, finishing third out of 528 projects from all across Canada did not impress the Aviva Community Fund judges enough to send money in support of the North Island’s Humpback Comeback project. Following the community voting part of the competition that ranked the projects, Aviva’s judges decide which projects would receive funding.

“I sit here stunned. We did not win,” said Jackie Hildering. “In fact, Aviva did not honour the community choices in our category at all. Of course there must be rationale for this but the winners are fourth place finisher (Hill of Dreams playground project) and then two others that I believe were fifth and seventh place finishers.”

The criteria that the judges used to determine which projects would receive funding are not explained on the Aviva website in one critical area. That is, the criteria are said to be weighted, but the weights are not defined. The unweighted criteria that was used to judge the 30 finalist ideas was:

• Impact – How deeply are people affected by this idea, and how urgent is the need? How many people will this idea benefit, and will it be compelling for a broad audience?

• Likelihood of Success – How likely is this idea to be successfully executed in the short term?

• Longevity & Sustainability – How long will the idea’s affect last? Will it require regular funding beyond the initial request? If so, is there a plan to obtain additional funding?

• Originality – How original is the idea?

• Submission Quality – How much effort went into this entry? Was it well thought through and clearly explained?

Hildering thanked all the supporters of the project and promised to continue the battle.

“I don’t know what to say other than thank you so very much for your great support and effort. We will forge on, trying to find a way to make this project happen. Regardless of this result, your support and efforts for the project have given us even greater resolve and purpose. Again, our very great thanks to you!”

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