Nonprofits return for block grants

CITY HALL — As local nonprofits cope with dwindling private donations, competition for local federal block grants next year is expected to be especially fierce, officials said.

Local nonprofit service providers, strapped for cash, have also had to deal with the increased demand as the recession continues to drive more clients through their doors.

The situation has led many administrators to seek out any and all possible revenue.

“We’ve been applying for grants left and right,” said Sandy Doughty, executive director of the Glendale Assn. for the Retarded, or GAR.

The organization has been coping with a 3% cut in state funding and diminished foundation grants, prompting administrators to scramble for other funding sources, she said.

That means a number of local nonprofits that opted out of this year’s federal block grant funding process, including GAR, have returned.

The organization submitted an application for $20,000 in Community Development Block Grant funding to help pay for the center’s multicultural instructor, a position which is entirely grant funded.

Of the 25 applications received from social service providers, seven are for programs that were not funded in the current fiscal year’s funding cycle, said Jess Duran, assistant director of the city’s Community Services and Parks Department.

Most of the new proposals are from organizations that have received block grant dollars in previous years, but did not take part in last year’s funding process, Duran said.

“This year we decided it’s been a little more difficult to get money, so we decided to go ahead and apply for some funding through the CDBG,” Doughty said.

The Homenetmen Glendale Ararat Chapter, which publicly opted out of the cycle last year to make room for other, more needy nonprofits, returned to the process, submitting a funding application for its after-school program, officials said.

Faced with a 200% increase in demand for services and a lackluster holiday fundraising season, Salvation Army Glendale has also submitted an application after foregoing last year’s funding cycle.

The requests total more than $1 million, but the city commissioners in charge of making funding recommendations will have about $550,000 in federal funding to divvy up, which is nearly 15% more than what was available last time.

“I’m looking forward to hunkering down with the requests and trying to assess them and try to figure out where the best place to put the scarce funds will be,” said John Sadd, who was recently appointed to the city’s Community Development Block Grant Advisory Committee.

Pasadena-based nonprofit Door of Hope, which assumed operations of the city’s Hamilton Court Family Transitional Housing Program in June for families who are victims of domestic violence, is the lone newcomer to the applicant pool.

The organization has applied for funds to help pay for case management services and upgrades to the facility’s windows.

The organization, which has seen a “significant” drop in funding from private foundations, will not be able to perform the upgrades without the grant dollars, said Executive Director Tim Peters.

“We are applying to help fill the gap and to really do a quality program,” he said.

Commissioners are scheduled to begin reviewing the funding proposals in February, Duran said.

The City Council typically reviews the recommendations for final approval as part of the annual budget process in spring.

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