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Jax Daily Record Wednesday, Jun. 6, 200712:00 PM EST

Not-for-profits fight for funding

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by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

by Max Marbut

Staff Writer

When the more than 80 public services agencies that had applied for funding through the City’s Public Service Grant program opened the letter dated May 22 and signed by Chief Administrative Officer Alan Mosley, the first sentence didn’t raise any red flags:

“Thank you for submitting an application for Public Service Grant Funding for Fiscal Year 2007-2008 (FY 07/08).”

The fourth paragraph delivered an overview of some programs Mosley said would have to be “severely reduced or eliminated” due to proposed statewide changes to Homestead Exemptions. The last sentence read, “Should Tallahassee’s actions require this level of budget reduction, I regret to inform you that the Public Service Grant program for FY 07/08 is another program we will be forced to eliminate.”

Rena Coughlin, executive director of the Nonprofit Center of Northeast Florida, Inc., described the organization as “a Chamber of Commerce of sorts” for the nonprofit community.

“In the last few weeks we have become lobbyists. There are so many way to interpret what’s going on in Tallahassee. We’re trying to get a handle on the potential local consequences.

“We want to make sure people know the strategic role the nonprofit sector plays in quality-of-life and economic development,” she said.

Robert White, executive director of the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville, agreed. The Cultural Council’s proposal for $5,065,000 in funding for FY 07/08 is the single-largest on the list and represents almost a third of the total funds requested. He said the 26 arts organizations the Cultural Council supports make a significant contribution to enhancing and preserving the quality of life in the community and further, the economic impact of the organization’s work pales in comparison to the investment.

He also said he believes the City should find a way to separate arts organizations from other nonprofits if it comes down to cutting the budget as severely as is being predicted.

“We generate hard-core dollars. We leverage the funds we get from the City to create an economic impact of more than $130 million a year.

“There is no challenge facing Jacksonville that doesn’t have an arts component whether it’s Downtown development or tourism or early literacy initiatives. The arts are without question one of the City’s most important community development tools,” said White.

Losing funding would mean losing momentum and White said that would be catastrophic. He compared the arts community to a garden and the budget crisis to a wildfire.

“If we are zeroed out of the budget next year, we may be zeroed out permanently. My guess is we could lose 25 percent of the agencies – and that’s conservative.

“It’s not like you can plant the seeds and reap the harvest in a few months. We’re more like a tree farm because we have been working to help support some of the groups for 30 years. Staff members could be scattered and never come together again. It could take at least five years to put it together again and decades before we could get back to where we are today.”

The business community is also stepping up to support some of the organizations that have historically been funded by the City. Elizabeth Hallock, Senior Regional Account Manager for UPS Capital Business Credit, wrote Council President Michael Corrigan a letter urging the City to preserve the Small Business Resource Network and the Small Business Development Center.

She pointed out the programs “help small businesses start, grow and prosper” and asked Corrigan to “seriously consider providing adequate funding for a program that generates more than four times the investment in economic development impact.”

Coughlin said she thinks one reason the City has focused on the Public Service Grant program as a line item on the budget that could be completely eliminated is that the program has deviated from its original intent.

Coughlin also supports the ordinance that has been introduced by City Council member Kevin Hyde to reform the way the City awards tax dollars to nonprofit organizations.

“We’re not buying the argument that Public Service Grants are the first place to make cuts in the budget, but the Public Service Grant pool of funds has lost its bearing and become a catch-all. The process in place now has made it difficult to maintain the integrity of the program and there has been some abuse,” she said.

Jacksonville Community Council, Inc. has applied for grants totaling more than $175,000 for its programs. Executive Director Skip Cramer said he also believes the organization should be considered separately when it comes to finding lines to obliterate from the budget.

“How to deal with it is a real conundrum. The Board hasn’t put priorities to it yet, but we believe the programs we provide should be considered core services and not Public Service Grants. While they are called ‘grants’ we are actually performing contract work for the City.”

Cramer did, however, have to admit it’s not going to be an easy battle.

“One of our board members said for the average citizen, it’s going to be the question ‘Do I want a policeman and a fireman on the corner or another report from JCCI?’ That’s some pretty tough competition.”

FY 06-07 Public Service Grants and FY 07-08 applications

Agency Program $ Funding 06-07 $ Requested 07-08
APEL Health Center, Inc. APEL Health Services 58,724 75,007
Alzheimer’s Association Caregivers Assistance Program 16,967 25,700
American Red Cross Volunteer Lifesaving Corps 9,803 12,000
Angelwood, Inc. Sideseddle Group Home 7,164 10,600
ARC Jacksonville Guardianship & Prevention Services 18,853 45,247
ARC Jacksonville Residential Services 45,247 18,853
Arlington Little League Baseball and Softball 8,295 9,900
Beaches Council on Aging Dial A Ride 31,928 45,000
Bob Hayes Inv. Track Meet, Inc. Bob Hayes Inv. Track Meet 125,000 150,000
Bridge the Gap Elderly and Handicapped care 9,833 60,000
Catholic Charities Lawn Care Employment Program 22,050 45,000
Catholic Charities Choose Life trust fund 47,000 47,000
Catholic Charities Bureau New Hope Ex-offenders program 0 28,000
Cerebral Palsy of NE Fla. Family Services 28,807 35,249
Character Counts! Pursuing Victory with Honor 34,200 34,200
Clara White Mission, Inc. Comprehensive Emergency Services 71,895 85,052
Compassionate Families, Inc. Homicide Grief Recovery Program 18,099 49,771
Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville Cultural Services Grant Program 3,750,000 5,000,000
Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville Art in Public Places 64,125 65,000
daniel, Inc. Project Prepare 37,706 50,000
Duval County 4-H Foundation Build Stronger Communities 40,000 45,000
Duval County Public Schools Truancy Centers 128,250 358,850
Edward Waters College Schell-Sweet Community Resource Ctr. 104,738 200,000
Emergency Serv. & Homeless Coalition Leadership to End Homelessness 37,706 94,020
Enterprise No. Fla. Corporation Technology Enterprise Center 75,000 200,000
Family Foundations Comprehensive Financial Literacy 16,758 30,000
Family Foundations Marriage Preservation Program 30,164 45,000
Family Foundations Financial Counseling 0 45,000
Family Nurturing Center Parenting with Health Challenges 0 29,718
First Coast African-American Chamber Minority Business Development 150,082 200,000
First Coast African-American Chamber Workforce Development 42,750 75,000
Families First Adult Community Service 16,416 17,638
FC No More Homeless Pets, Inc. Spay & Neuter Program 215,000 255,500
Florida Comm. College at Jacksonville Independent Living for Adult Blind 42,984 44,612
Fresh Ministries Center for Urban Initiatives 144,789 632,690
Gateway Community Services SAGES 44,446 44,446
Gateway Community Services Alcohol Rehabilitation Trust Fund 675,000 675,000
Gateway Community Services Family Ties 0 121,200
Greater Jacksonville Area USO Support of Active Duty Military & Family 25,467 40,000
Greater Jacksonville Area USO USO Welcome Center at JIA 9,000 12,000
Greenscape of Jacksonville, Inc. Community Tree Planting 66,150 75,000
Grove House Supportive Services Employment Services 26,101 38,000
Grove House Supportive Services Living Services for Disabled Adults 33,516 47,250
Hart Felt Ministries, Inc. Hart Felt Ministries 23,085 35,000
Hope Haven Access to Success 32,427 32,427
Hope Haven Job Opportunities Consortium 10,935 10,935
Housing Patnership of Jax, Inc. Paint the Town Rehab Program 41,467 80,000
Hubbard House, Inc. Emergency Services 103,941 150,000
I. M. Sulzbacher Center Emergency Shelter Services 104,310 124,311
Jacksonville Area Legal Aid, Inc. Consumer Law Project 22,623 44,355
Jacksonville Area Legal Aid, Inc. Civil Legal Services 229,140 296,800
Jacksonville Area Legal Aid, Inc. Mental Health Advocacy 38,475 54,635
JASMYN Safety Net 8,978 30,000
Jacksonville Chamber Foundation Cornerstone Small Business 250,000 250,000
Jacksonville Chamber Foundation Cornerstone Master Marketing 500,000 500,000
Jacksonville Community Council, Inc. Community Improvement Study 49,416 49,416
Jacksonville Community Council, Inc. Human Services Council 47,760 47,760
Jacksonville Community Council, Inc. JCCI Forward 12,825 12,825
Jacksonville Community Council, Inc. Quality of Life Project 52,600 52,600
Jacksonville Community Council, Inc. Race Relations Progress Report 12,825 12,825
Jacksonville Historical Society Heritage Education Program 37,706 50,000
Jacksonville Historical Society Photo Heritage Publication Project 12,073 19,000
Jacksonville Humane Society Shelter, care & adoption of stray animals 128,500 128,500
Jacksonville Public Library Foundation Much Ado About Books 19,238 25,000
Jacksonville Sister Cities Assoc. International City Exchanges 29,394 35,000
Jacksonville Zoological Society Operations 1,670,000 1,670,000
Jax Pride Jax Pride Week 0 24,000
Jewish Community Alliance Challenge Program 4,355 5,200
Justice Coalition, Inc. Crime Victims Advocacy Program 0 75,000
L’Arche Harbor House Community Living 21,115 25,000
Learn to Read, Inc. Jacksonville Reads 35,598 45,000
Lutheran Social Services of NE FL. Refugee Education Services 15,836 23,102
Lutheran Social Services of NE FL. Representative Payee Program 22,623 35,319
Lutheran Social Services of NE FL. Second Harvest Food Bank 167,865 276,792
MAD DADS Jacksonville MAD DADS 64,125 100,646
Mission House Case Management for the Homeless 17,741 25,000
Mountaintop Institute Diversity Training 64,125 75,000
NAMI Jacksonville Family to Family 0 16,020
NAMI Jacksonville Peer to Peer 0 24,407
NAMI Jacksonville NAMI Support Services 0 36,250
Nat. Assoc. of Minority Contractors Construction Technical Assistance 59,387 75,000
North Florida School Adult Student Transition 15,836 19,000
NE FL. Community Action Agency Community Service Block Grant 22,623 56,092
NE FL. Community Action Agency Temporary Emergency Food Assistance 38,752 51,388
NE FL. Healthy Start Coalition The Azalea Project 64,125 116,851
ODI Independent Living Resource Ctr. Deaf Consumer Program 19,401 27,600
ODI Independent Living Resource Ctr. Deaf & Disability Victim Advocacy 15,459 27,600
ODI Independent Living Resource Ctr. Temporary Loan Closet 17,345 17,345
One Jax Diversity Needs Assessment Study 15,082 15,000
Operation New Hope Ready4Work 0 250,000
Optimum Health & Wellbeing, Inc. Wellness Center 7,541 66,193
Pine Castle, Inc. Training, Education & Support Services 99,543 104,837
Presbyterian Social Ministries Cold Night Shelter 9,049 10,000
Prisoners of Christ Continuing Services 12,150 23,400
River Region Human Services St. Johns Horizon House 46,085 46,085
Ronald McDonald House Ronald McDonald House 26,394 29,033
Salvation Army Local Disaster Services 6,703 10,000
Salvation Army Meals for Homeless & Transients 23,307 40,000
Salvation Army Senior Center/Emergency Food Pantry 8,550 10,000
Salvation Army Senior Center/Telephone Reassurance 4,190 10,000
SBDC at UNF/SBRN Small Business Resource Network 19,607 31,234
SBDC at UNF/SBRN Community Development Program 15,082 24,541
SBDC at UNF/SBRN SMART Business Growth Program 17,100 111,550
Speech & Hearing Center Audiology Services 55,050 75,000
St. Mathew Baptist Church Health & Dental Clinic 52,920 60,000
Suited for Success Jacksonville, Inc. Suited for Success 11,312 24,999
Tides Center Green Team Project 18,853 40,000
UF and Shands Adolescent Sex Prevention 0 71,260
United Way of NE Florida 211 (Shared database) 18,853 18,853
United Way of NE Florida RealSense 42,750 60,000
Urban Jacksonville, Inc. RAPPJAX 18,212 18,212
Volunteer Jacksonville Managing Volunteers in Disasters 33,935 67,000
WE CARE Jacksonville, Inc. WE CARE Jacksonville, Inc. 61,837 89,393
WJCT, Inc. Radio Reading Services 5,865 7,000
Women’s Center of Jacksonville Counseling Education Program 23,754 69,900
Women of Color Cultural Foundation, Inc. Health Symposium 0 34,703
Total $11,412,630 $15,846,685

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