County wants to streamline how it gives nonprofits money

By Nick Blank nick@claytodayonline.com
Posted 9/14/22

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – The county is looking to streamline and clarify how it distributes funds to nonprofits.

Volunteer Coordinator Victoria Hapner said she reached out to the county’s …

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County wants to streamline how it gives nonprofits money

Posted

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – The county is looking to streamline and clarify how it distributes funds to nonprofits.

Volunteer Coordinator Victoria Hapner said she reached out to the county’s nonprofit partners for feedback. She said responses were largely on the same page. She said applications begin at the end of October, which would give county staff time to answer questions and meet nonprofit leaders.

“That would give us time to meet with the nonprofits, go over the application and how they can apply, those kinds of things, so they are prepared to move forward with the application,” Hapner said

They wanted the removal of a designated yearly focus for nonprofits and a change in county scoring for the category of sustainability.

“I still think it’s a really important thing to keep on the scoring matrix, but the nonprofits were suggesting maybe it should be lower on the scoring matrix versus being near the top,” Hapner referred to the sustainability topic.”

Hapner said there were requests for other kinds of nonprofits, such as recreation leagues and veteran services, rather than only 501(c)(3) nonprofits. Another ask was for headquarters to be placed outside of the county, as long as there are services provided in the county.

Commissioner Betsy Condon approved of the headquarters request, adding that services in the county are a bigger issue.

“I didn’t support necessarily giving a higher score just because their headquarters are here,” Condon said.

Commissioner Jim Renninger asked when a final application process would be ready. At previous meetings, Assistant County Manager Troy Nagle said, the county approved application guidelines rather than a full document. Nagle later said funding for nonprofits is in the budget for the 2021-2022 fiscal year and the process at Tuesday’s meeting is for leftover federal disaster relief funds and future applications.

“We can bring that back at a future meeting,” Nagle said.

As an example, Commissioner Mike Cella said the Tourism Development Council adjusts its funding application process regularly. “The TDC did this five or six years ago,” Cella said. “We refine it every year because it needs tweaking, so it can be a good reflection of what we want it to be.”

Cella raised an issue if a nonprofit based elsewhere provides services elsewhere and receives a Clay County grant, how would the county know it was spent in Clay. Renninger said things can change in the nonprofit world. “I think there needs to be a review element in there,” Renninger said. Hapner replied that there are reporting requirements in the process. Hapner said her office tries to avoid duplicating nonprofit services and they can review it.

“That’s something we can make sure they report to us, the percentage of the program is being rendered in Clay County,” Hapner said.

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