Saturday, May 10, 2008

Metro program aims to change nonprofit grant process

By MICHAEL CASS • Staff Writer (tennesseam) • May 8, 2008 Nashville nonprofit organizations have about three weeks to apply for $2 million in Metro government grants under a new program Mayor Karl Dean announced today. The "community enhancement grants" will be available to groups working in three areas: domestic violence ($750,000), education/aftercare ($750,000) and community service ($500,000), which the program defines as services "that enhance the lives of Nashvillians and the community in which we live." Dean aides have previously mentioned the American Red Cross and Second Harvest Food Bank as examples of community service agencies. Dean said the city needs a new, less political system for awarding grants to nonprofits. “We have a number of nonprofit agencies that offer vital services to our community, many of which government itself cannot provide and would not otherwise be available. This grant program will ensure that those are the services our resources support and that funding decisions are based on needs and results,” the mayor said in a news release. A panel of reviewers selected by the mayor, the vice mayor and the chair of the Metro Council's Budget and Finance Committee will evaluate applications and make recommendations to the mayor, who will submit a budget amendment for the council's final approval as part of the city's operating budget, Dean spokeswoman Janel Lacy said.Lacy acknowledged that applicants who are turned down by the reviewers could lobby council members for funding in the final budget. She said the program could change in future years "depending on how this year goes." Applications are available today on page 11 of this web site: They're due at 4:30 p.m. on May 28 and will be reviewed June 10-12. "Pre-application training meetings" are scheduled for May 15 and 16. Times and places for the training sessions weren't announced.

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