Cortez has awarded $27,000 in grant funding to local nonprofits.
The City Council in a workshop on Oct. 23 went down a list of 31 applications totaling $118,000 in funding requests and tentatively decided to provide $27,000 to 23 organizations. The city this week mailed out notification letters to the recipients. Cortez Executive Assistant Dawn McCabe-Lightenburger said the funding decisions are tentative and based on the adoption of a 2019 budget.
The program takes money from the general fund to support local organizations “that preserve or enrich the health, education, welfare and fitness of the community,” according to the grant application. Groups can apply for up to $5,000.
This year, awards include $3,000 to Four Corners Child Advocacy Center, $3,000 to Renew Inc., $2,500 to the Piñon Project, $2,500 to the Cortez Cultural Center, $2,000 to the Good Samaritan Center, $1,500 to the Hospice of Montezuma County and $1,250 to The Bridge Emergency Shelter.
Rose Jergens, executive director of Four Corners Child Advocacy Center, said the local grant funding can help nonprofits gain access to larger pools of money. She said the child advocacy plans to use the $3,000 this year as matching funds for a grant to hire a forensic interviewer, who would interview children who have been abused.
“If I want to ask for a $200,000 grant, we’re talking about a 25 percent match,” Jergens said. “That’s a lot of money that has to be matched, so the more that we’re able to gain community support for direct services for our kids, the more that we can leverage to get those funds at the state and federal level.”
Council member Ty Keel said he is happy to help out child advocacy nonprofits as well as food distribution groups like Hope’s Kitchen, which will receive $1,000.
“Any time you’re willing to help out financially it’s a very positive outcome for the city, for the community and it’s nice to be part of an organization that helps people out,” Keel said.
Council member Orly Lucero said local nonprofits bend over backward to help the community. He said $27,000 isn’t a huge amount of money, but every little bit helps.
“They really do help a lot of the community because the community is not a rich community,” Lucero said.
The City Council declined to provide funding to 4CORE, Axis Health Systems, Battle Rock Charter School, For Pet’s Sake Humane Society, Good Samaritan Center, Mission Discovery School, Montezuma-Cortez High School media publications and School Community Youth Collaborative.
McCabe-Lightenburger said the total funding recommendation this year is less than in the past. In previous years, she said, the City Council has allocated $35,000 or $30,000. The city canceled a scheduled budget workshop on Tuesday night after the preliminary budget was running a deficit.
Keel, a member of the City Council for six years, said a lot of issues come into play when deciding the available funding amount for the grant.
“We look at the number of applicants, the amount of money applicants are looking for,” Keel said.