Twenty nonprofit organizations made their case for local agency funding this week.
Each year, the city of Boonville collects money through the half-cent capital improvement sales tax. Local nonprofit agencies then make presentations to an ad-hoc selection committee assembled by the mayor. Each organization had 10 minutes to present their project during the oral interview portion of the selection process May 29. The selection committee will then make recommendations to the city council during a June 18 meeting.
“The best part of this job is just being able to fund these agencies that will help the community,” said Morris Carter, a member of the selection committee. “It’s just hard when you don’t have enough money for everyone.”
During the 2018-2019 fiscal year, the committee will be awarding a total of $65,800. This is the highest amount awarded in the past five years, but organizations requested $98,186 in all.
Local agency funds are used for specific projects that provide relief and care for city residents in need or enhance the overall quality of life for Boonville residents. Non-religious nonprofits and government divisions are eligible for the money. Funds must be used for projects, not equipment or building space. The local grants are limited to half of of the project’s total cost, and no more than 25 percent of the committee’s total funds can go toward any one project. This year’s proposed projects range from providing free meals to the elderly to therapeutic horse riding programs.
This annual process lends a degree of uncertainty to the financial operations of local nonprofits who depend on these funds.
“There’s obviously an unknown factor, because you don’t know how much you’re going to get,” said Sam Giroux, who has applied for funds for the Boonville Kiwanis Club for four years in a row.
The Kiwanis Club received $7,000 from the city last year to fund its annual community school supply drive. Each year, the organization provides free school supplies for all of the district’s students in kindergarten through fifth grade. Last year, the program served 385 students. This year, the organization is requesting $10,000 of the project’s total $20,000 cost.
“We’re just going to continue to work as hard as we can and hope that the city can help us out as much as possible,” Giroux said.
Also seeking funds this year was local homeless shelter, Harvest House. Last year, 21 percent of the organization’s $55,000 budget came from local government grants. This year, Harvest House is seeking $8,586 from the city. This translates into 600 free nights of safe housing for homeless men, women and families.
“The committee is very supportive, but at the end of the day they have a limited amount of money to give to a lot of people who want it,” said Larry Long, who applied for funds on behalf of Harvest House.
After the committee makes its recommendations to city council in June, organizations will have until February 2019 to spend the allocated funds. Agencies awarded funding must also prepare a presentation about their completed projects by this time.