Today's a really exciting day for the RADF Board because we get to share with you some details of what we have been planning for months. During that time we have considered and discussed the expressed need for rural capacity building in rural Alberta and balance the fiscal realities of today. We feel that the progress to date needs to have an opportunity to be sustainable.
We've had to keep quiet about this until now as we have been in consultation with Minister Groeneveld and his senior staff – to work through the details of potential changes in the contract that established RADF. Although all the details have not been finalized we can indicate to your today what that future directions looks like.
Hopefully, you got a chance to hear firsthand about our future direction and changes by attending today's 2009 Project Showcase event or watching the presentations on your computer via our webcast. If not, details are posted elsewhere on this website. Essentially, the reason for the transition boils down to this. Change or allow the momentum we've built up over the past three years to stall.
Last fall, our Board was facing this dilemma. Even though we still had three years left on our government contract, we could see that being just a funding organization with a fixed contract and no way to replenish its investment pool had its limitations. Perhaps as importantly, we could see that smaller rural communities were struggling to build community capacity and develop leaders. Rural Albertans told us these were two of their greatest needs.
So we looked at how we needed to change to meet these needs. And when we got down to strategic planning, we realized we not only had to change our direction but our organization too. By March, we had a game plan in place. We spent the summer and fall talking with Agriculture and Rural Development Minister George Groeneveld and his people about changing the contract and they agreed. Why? Because they realized – as we did – that it was the best thing for rural Alberta long-term for our progress not to stall.
It's great to see that they – and others within and outside government – have been very supportive of what we are trying to do.
Bob Clark, Chair, RADF Board of Directors