$130K awarded to community non-profits by Monroe County through annual grant program

SophiaTravisBarChart 2020Community service grants to 33 organizations totaling $130,000 were announced and approved by Monroe County’s council at its work session Tuesday evening.

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 can be funded through the grant program as 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
Total   $130,000