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Nonprofit funding request process changed

 


The Haines Borough Assembly is changing its process for doling out funds to local nonprofits, and will be capping allocations from the general fund at $80,000 in its 2014 budget.

Borough manager Mark Earnest also will decide how much money to set aside for nonprofits from several other funds, including the tourism and economic development fund, medical service area fund, and federal Title III receipts.

As part of the changes, assembly decisions to fund specific organizations will be made after passage of the budget in June.

Earnest said the cap doesn’t mean $80,000 will be awarded. If the assembly, after receiving the applications, decides it wants to award less or more than that, that change can be made, he said.

The finance committee made several alterations to this year’s nonprofit application during its March 12 meeting. Nonprofits interested in receiving funds from the borough must now provide an explanation of their organizational structure and evidence of community support.

The applicant must also “clearly demonstrate how the funds will benefit the public” and “give an estimate of the number of community members who will benefit directly, and describe the expected indirect benefit to the public at large.”

The $80,000 cap motion, which passed during the March 5 assembly meeting, combined with the revamped application process, should make it easier for the assembly to make decisions about funding community organizations, said Mayor Stephanie Scott.

“The motion that put a cap on the general fund and this application allows the assembly to quantify more effectively the benefits of the funding to the community. It introduces a few more quantifiable measures and I think that will sort out some of the angst,” Scott said.

Scott said another key change to the process is nonprofits will not be asked to come before the assembly during the budget process to make their case for their funding requests. “They can still do that, but it’s not built into the budget cycle. So I think that will relieve some of the congestion and awkwardness. It’s going to be a more objective process,” Scott said.

Assembly member Debra Schnabel said she thinks despite the changes it still will be difficult to make discriminatory decisions about what nonprofits to fund and for how much. “I think this year it is going to be tough,” specifically because of state and federal funding cuts, Schnabel said.

Applications are due June 1.