Some Nonprofits Look Ahead at a Year Without Borough Funding

logo-w-sunburstKayla Desroches/KMXT

The Kodiak Island Borough Assembly finalized its nonprofit funding last week after much deliberation, and some organizations emerged without any funding at all. It’s a blow to small groups already suffering due to the state’s fiscal situation.

The assembly chose to fund 10 nonprofits that it deemed “priority” or “essential services,” like Brother Francis Shelter and the Kodiak Island Food Bank. It also funded some other groups out of the tourism fund or provided rent in borough-owned spaces free of charge. In the end, the total funding amount racked up to roughly $267,300, down from the fiscal year 2016 amount of $390,000.

Not everyone fit the assembly’s criteria for funding, like the Kodiak Soil and Water Conservation District, which focuses on conservation of natural resources. Blythe Brown, the programs coordinator and acting district manager, says the nonprofit did not receive state funding this year either.

“We will just have to continue scrambling. The borough funding was definitely helpful because it was non-federal. Many of our grants have to be matched with non-federal funding, so for instance, some of our invasive species funding, I need to match those 50-50 with non-federal.”

She says they’re still receiving project funds and are working on a new culvert replacement project in the Buskin River watershed with money from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Another nonprofit says it calculated borough funding into its overall budget for the fiscal year and will now need to make adjustments. The Kodiak Arts Council, which organizes first Friday and books performances for the community throughout the year, received a little more than $15,000 in Fiscal Year 2016 and will receive none for fiscal year 2017.

Director Katie Oliver says that the borough funding amount had made up five percent of the Arts Council’s projected budget.

“It’s too late this fiscal year to make too major programming changes. We have contracts in place with artists until the end of March 2017, so the strategies for dealing with the cut will be made by my board of directors, but we’ll likely make some adjustments with personnel and office hours. We’ll try to cover the gap with savings and make plans for reduced programming and increased fees for the next year.”

Hope Community Resources, which provides support to individuals affected by developmental and intellectual disabilities, also walked away without borough financial support.

Corrie Davis, director of Community Support Services for Hope, says the majority of Hope’s funding comes from state grants and Medicaid and that city and borough funding goes towards other necessities, like paper towels or snacks.

“We are going to have to find different revenue sources for healthy snacks to feed our kids and for some of the equipment that we’re going to need for our adult programs, so we’re going to have either do a lot more fundraising in the community or we’re going to have to start asking families to contribute even more money.”

The Kodiak Soil and Water Conservation District, the Kodiak Arts Council, and Hope Community Resources are only three of the nonprofits left without funding. The others are the Humane Society of Kodiak, the Kodiak Area Transit System, the Kodiak Community Health Center, the Old Harbor Alliance, and Threshold Services.

In the interest of full disclosure, Kodiak Public Broadcasting receives borough funding, and furthermore, members of the staff volunteer with some of the nonprofits that both received and did not receive funding.

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