The City of Kodiak has changed how it approaches nonprofit funding.
Last night, at the Kodiak City Council regular meeting, the council looked over a resolution to limit nonprofits to applying for funds under one of four categories: Youth Recreation Programs, Adult Recreation Programs, Public Safety Programs, or Emergency Response Support Programs.
The maximum funding under both Youth and Adult Recreation Programs would be $2,500 whereas nonprofits that fall under Public Safety Programs or Emergency Response Support Programs would receive a max of $15,000.
During public comment, some representatives from the nonprofit community stepped up to protest the change.
Katie Oliver, Director of the Kodiak Arts Council, said the Arts Council has fit into multiple criteria in the past.
She said it dedicates adult recreation funds to community theater and the council’s performing arts series, while youth recreation funds go to classes in the arts and scholarships for the children who want take them.
Oliver also pointed out that the money the city invests in the Arts Council helps it get funding opportunities in the Lower 48.
“In total this year, we’re working with around $50,000 dollars in private foundation support from outside the state of Alaska. The grant officers are in Minnesota and Colorado and they don’t know very much about Kodiak, so they look to certain indicators when they’re making a decision about whether to invest here, and one of the most critical indicators they look for is the level of municipal support.”
Corey Davis, director of Hope Community Resources, said her organization also receives funding in the youth and adult recreation categories. Hope provides programs for both children and adults who experience developmental difficulties.
She adds that Hope lost Kodiak Island Borough funding last year, and the state is cutting the organization’s funding by 50 percent this year, which leaves the city as Hope’s primary funding source.
“I would urge you to keep in mind when you are looking at the potential for allowing nonprofits to only apply for one that for some of us that means a very, very difficult decision about which vulnerable population is not gonna receive funding this year.”
When it came to discussing the resolution, the city increased the youth and adult recreation programs from $2,500 to $5,000, but stayed with the one-category rule.
Council member Charlie Davidson called it fair.
“I’m sorry that we can’t have more than just one application, but we’re getting close on our fund balances and we have to be very careful on our budget for this next year, so I know that it’s a hard row to hoe for our nonprofits, because I know how much they provide for the community’s well-being.”
Council member Laura Arboleda apologized for not being aware of the programs and what the nonprofits do with city money.
“However, I do want to say I believe we’ve had a couple of discussions about this, and it would have been really nice to have some kind of representative there so while we were discussing, we would be aware of what you guys do, so that’s just a suggestion for the future.”
Ultimately, the resolution as amended passed 5 – 0 with councilmember John Whiddon absent.
In the interest of full disclosure, Kodiak Public Broadcasting receives city funds and, furthermore, its general manager is a member of the Kodiak Arts Council Board of Directors.