The awards were made after deliberations at earlier public meetings by the Sophia Travis community service grants committee, which includes two citizen members.
The grant program was renamed six years ago in honor of Sophia Travis, who served on the county council from 2004 to 2008. She worked as a councilor to “assure the applications for the limited funds available for support would be considered in a fair, even-handed and transparent process,” according to the renaming resolution.
Rachel Guglielmo and Ryan Boyce served as citizen members of the committee. Councilor Cheryl Munson introduced the agenda item, saying that the organizations that applied for funding were asking financial help for projects that totaled nearly $3,630,000.
Munson described the community services that
were funded this year as covering health, food nutrition, security and shelter, youth enrichment opportunities, transportation assistance, climate change, emergency shortages, first responders and veterans assistance.
The council’s approval of the committee’s recommendations was divided into two separate votes, at the request of councilor Marty Hawk. All the awards except for those to Planned Parenthood and All Options Pregnancy Resource Center were considered as one item, which were approved unanimously 7-0.
The awards to Planned Parenthood and All Options were considered as a separate item and got a 6–1 vote, with dissent from Hawk.
Last year, Hawk didn’t ask her colleagues to divide the question and voted against all the awards. She said at the time the only reason she voted no, was because of the awards to Planned Parenthood ($5,900) and All Options ($4,060). Hawk’s position is that she will not vote for anything that is connected to providing abortion services.
Munson said she and other councilor’s and received emails about the grant awards, some of them from people who were concerned about the award to Planned Parenthood. Munson said Planned Parenthood’s program for patient financial assistance is specifically for preventive health care services—cancer screenings, STDs, urinary tract infections. Those can all have dire consequences if they’re not addressed, Munson said. The Planned Parenthood patient financial assistance funding is not for abortion services, Munson said.
Responding to the idea that Planned Parenthood provides family planning and other health services, Hawk pointed to the county health department’s own Futures Family Planning Clinic, which she said does a good job. Hawk also said the nearly $10,000 in awards to Planned Parenthood and All Options could be better spent on food assistance.
A couple of people during public commentary time on the question spoke in support of funding for Planned Parenthood.
About the funding for Planned Parenthood, councilor Eric Spoonmore said, “It’s health care.” He added, “Healthcare is critically important right now. Perhaps more than ever, as we’re in the middle of a pandemic. And people are really, really in need.”
Councilor Trent Deckard said that the nonprofits on the list of awardees “do some pretty amazing things in the community at reaching individuals and families that don’t get reached by other things.”
A review of records by The Square Beacon dating back to 2008 indicates that half a dozen nonprofits were first-time awardees this year: Pantry 279 ($5,700); Habitat for Humanity of Monroe County ($4,500); Sojourn House ($3,585); Bloomington Refugee Support Network ($2,800); Hotels for Homeless (sponsored by New Leaf-New Life) $2,500; and Alexandra’s Food Drive ($1,400).
The $130,000 distributed this year is $10,000 more than the total that was awarded last year. Since 2008, around $1.39 million has been awarded through the program.
|Agency||Use of Award||Amount|
|New Hope for Families||responding with equity||$6,880|
|Shalom Community Center||upgrade and renovation||$6,385|
|Planned Parenthood||financial assistance||$5,900|
|Pantry 279 Inc||mobile outreach||$5,700|
|Stepping Stones, Inc.||youth support fund||$5,450|
|Big Brothers Big Sisters||Bigs with Badges continued||$5,110|
|Middle Way House, Inc.||childcare||$4,880|
|Safe Families for Children||safe family care for children||$4,850|
|Indiana Recovery Alliance||education, naloxone||$4,800|
|New Leaf New Life||support materials||$4,610|
|Community Kitchen of Monroe County, Inc.||food purchase||$4,600|
|Bloomington Society of St. Vincent de Paul||truck maintenance and repair fund||$4,560|
|Habitat for Humanity of Monroe County||site preparation||$4,500|
|Wheeler Mission||operating support||$4,200|
|Monroe County United Ministries||self sufficiency||$4,160|
|The Warehouse||mobile warehouse||$4,120|
|All-Options Pregnancy Resource Center||diaper program||$4,060|
|Boys & Girls Clubs of Bloomington||youth summer programming||$4,050|
|Amethyst House, Inc.||residential food||$4,010|
|Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry||“Meat the Need”||$4,000|
|Sojourn House Inc||renovation, furnishing, equipment||$3,585|
|Monroe County Health Department||disposal||$3,490|
|Courage to Change Sober Living||starter house kit||$2,950|
|My Sister’s Closet of Monroe County||job training and education||$2,950|
|Bloomington Refugee Support Network Inc||supporting Bloomington refugees||$2,800|
|Community Justice and Mediation Center||supplies and scholarships||$2,640|
|Hotels for Homeless (sponsored by New Leaf-New Life, Inc.)||technology upgrade||$2,500|
|Midway Music Speaks||education initiative||$2,400|
|Grace Center, Inc||food purchase||$2,300|
|Team First Book – Monroe County||libraries for low income||$2,250|
|Catholic Charities of Bloomington||parent coaching program||$2,080|
|Lotus Education & Arts Foundation||puzzle project||$1,830|
|Alexandra’s Food Drive||create children’s nonprofit food||$1,400|