Garfield County agrees, commission needed for charity grants
Post Independent staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
After some debate, the Garfield County commissioners decided that a local volunteer commission should keep up its role as “a great buffer” between the commissioners and various organizations seeking funds from the county, in the words of Commissioner Mike Samson.
Along those lines, the commissioners agreed unanimously to hand over $100,000 to the Human Services Commission, to be used as public funding for local nonprofit organizations that serve the public, but somehow missed a deadline for the formal grants process this year.
The Commission awarded a total of $504,500 in grants in the 2010 process, according to county manager Ed Green. The process calls for groups to apply for funding to the Commission, which often gets requests for more money that is available for such grants, meaning that groups often do not get everything they ask for.
In the 2010 grants cycle, which handled requests for money to be paid out next year, five groups in particular either got no funding or less than they requested, and they appealed to the board of county commissioners.
The BOCC agreed to the additional payments to the groups, but cautioned that it cannot always do so.
In fact, according to Commissioner Tresi Houpt, the BOCC’s discretionary fund, from which the BOCC makes emergency payments, next year will be cut due to expected shortages in revenues, from $1 million to $625,000.
Kay Vasilakis, a member of the Commission, noted that the county some time ago concluded that the BOCC could not be in the position of doling out grant money to such groups throughout the year. That led to formation of the commission and creation of the annual funding cycle.
Vasilakis, who has served on the Commission for some 15 years, told the BOCC that some on the Human Services Commission were worried that the process itself might be jeopardized if groups started appealing directly to the BOCC.
That was when Samson told her, “You provide a great buffer between them [the nonprofits] and us, if you know what I mean,” an arrangement he said he supported.
This kind of emergency funding, Samson added, “is something that they [the nonprofits] should not count on in the future.”
Vasilakis also was told that the Human Services Commission would need to meet before the end of 2010 in order to formally make grants to the five groups in question – Colorado Mountain College’s RSVP senior program; Valley View Hospital’s Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program; the Salvation Army, Planned Parenthood; and Junior Achievement.
The money is to be disbursed in 2011, and whatever is not handed over to the nonprofits will be placed in an “emergency funds” account for use by the HSC.
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