Each year, the City of Winnipeg supports several community groups with annual funding. But that may not be the case for too much longer.

On Thursday morning, city council will vote on a new community grants program that would see funding take a significant hit.

“You can’t abandon the inner city and call yourself a vibrant city. You can’t,” said Ron Brown, the executive director of Boys and Girls Club Winnipeg

Under the proposed changes to the community grants program, the amount of funds available to groups starting in 2025 would shrink from $3.4 million to just $1.3 million.

But it’s not just the amount of money that is subject to change. Grants would no longer be used for annual operating costs, like salaries, utilities, or insurance. Instead, it would have to be tied to a specific program.

“You’re taking from the the least advantaged, and you’re giving it to the most advantaged,” Brown.

Brown views the potential move, which was unanimously approved by the mayor’s executive policy committee last Tuesday, as counter productive. He also questions whether the savings equal the potential harm the decision could cause.

“They’ll struggle academically, they’ll have poorer health results, which we will all pay for,” he said. “And the biggest one is they’ll have more interaction with the youth justice system. That is not what we want for our kids.”

Even for those non-profits that will avoid the funding cuts, they believe this course of action from the city, could cause further harm to some of the city’s most vulnerable.

“We don’t want to see things get worse in the city, we want to see things get better, and that requires programing and the support of non-profit organizations that are doing the hard work we are doing,” said Caryn Birch, the interim executive director of Resource Assistance for Youth.

“It feels really terrible that this is a potential because we really want to see the downtown flourish.”

The new community grant program will go before the city’s executive committee Thursday morning for approval, but not before those opposed to the motion have their voices heard, as a rally is planned outside of city hall beginning at 9 a.m.