Garfield County may chip in more cash for nonprofit groups
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Garfield County is considering whether a number of area nonprofit organizations should be able to count on a little bit more cash than they had been expecting next year.
The Board of County Commissioners on Oct. 4 wrestled with a request to make an extra $100,000 available to the Department of Human Services for grants to local organizations that “fill a critical need but missed the 2011 Human Services Commission grant cycle,” according to a memo to the commissioners from finance director Lisa Dawson.
The issue arose, according to Commissioner Tresi Houpt, when Commissioner John Martin invited the Junior Achievement organization to come before the commissioners and request funds, even though the group had missed the annual round of Human Services grants earlier this year.
“It opens the door now for every organization in Garfield County,” said Houpt of the requests, “to come in one by one instead of going through the grant cycle.”
The idea behind the $100,000 grant proposal was to permit the county’s Human Services Commission, which annually doles out grants to local nonprofits to fund services to the poor and others, to divvy up $50,000 in additional funding to five agencies.
Those agencies, according to a list provided by Dawson, are:
• Colorado Mountain College’s RSVP senior programs;
• Valley View Hospital’s Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program;
• the Salvation Army;
• Planned Parenthood and;
• Junior Achievement.
The money, suggested county manager Ed Green, could be paid out in the same proportional amounts as grants awarded through the normal application process, with Junior Achievement receiving $3,500 as directed by the commissioners.
Green said the county’s grants in 2010, out of a total of $504,500, were $10,000 to RSVP; $5,000 to Planned Parenthood; and $18,000 to the Salvation Army. Neither Junior Achievement nor SANE received any funding in that grant cycle, he said.
Another $50,000 was requested to be used by the Human Services Commission as, essentially, an emergency fund for requests outside the normal grants process.
“I think we need to be careful,” declared Commissioner Mike Samson, explaining that it would do the county no good to give other organizations the idea that they can bypass the normal routine of applying for grants every fall.
He said the county wants to be sure to avoid setting a precedent “that we’re always going to be giving more” to those who make a direct appeal to the commissioners.
Samson noted that next year, the county’s “discretionary fund,” from which emergency grants often are made, will be cut from $1 million to $625,000 as a belt-tightening measure, which will restrict the board’s ability to be generous.
The commissioners concluded that they should take a little more time to study the matter before either approving or rejecting the request.
The topic is to be discussed again at the Oct. 11 meeting.
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