Glendale nonprofit grants chopped back

A business leadership summer camp for girls came under fire this week as the City Council, acting in its dual role as the Housing Authority, decided how to divvy up shrinking federal funds for public social services.

Councilman Ara Najarian said he didn't want to give "Camp Rosie: Rosie Goes to Wall Street" $10,000 of community development block grant funds because the program, although beneficial, is run by a city commission with a $60,000 fund balance.

"The idea is to give it to the have-nots and not the haves," Najarian said.

But just because a nonprofit has reserves doesn't mean the city shouldn't support it, other council members said.

Councilman Frank Quintero pointed out that the city gives federal funds to Catholic Charities of Los Angeles and Salvation Army programs, both of which have successful fundraising arms.

Councilwoman Laura Friedman said the city should select programs to support based on their benefits to the community, not their reserves. She added that she'd be willing to review the Commission on the Status of Women's budget in the future.

The city stepped up financial reviews of nonprofits that receive funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development after New Horizons, a now-defunct child-care nonprofit, mismanaged hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants about three years ago.

"All of our nonprofits, we encourage them to be as self-sustaining as possible," City Manager Scott Ochoa said. "We look to see: Can they sustain themselves even beyond what they do with CDBG?"

In the end, the council voted unanimously to give Camp Rosie $10,000 and cut all other organizations that received more than $15,000 in the past evenly, as recommended by the Community Development Block Grant Advisory Committee.

The council only funded nonprofits that Glendale had given money to in the past. Glendale officials have traditionally divided the money among youth, adult and homeless programs.

Nonprofits that saw a $3,322 cut compared to last year included the community outreach program at Armenian Relief Society of Western USA, after-school tutoring at Homenetman Glendale Ararat Chapter, and a mentoring program for at-risk youth through the Glendale Police Department.

Sona Zinzalian, executive director of the Armenian Relief Society, said the reduced funding puts a strain on her organization's staff, which is already doing double duty. The nonprofit teaches English to Armenians and helps them find jobs.

"We're getting less and less the past years, but … our number of clients and services continues to increase," Zinzalian said.

Federal officials have reduced Glendale's CDBG funding by 55% over the past three years, said Moises Carrillo, senior community development supervisor. This year, the grants were reduced by 5% because of across-the-board federal spending cuts known as sequestration.


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