Applicants for $500K in social services funding from Bloomington make pitches to committee

On Thursday evening, Sam Ujdak, who’s the grants manager for Middle Way House, described a truck the nonprofit is hoping to replace: “Our current truck is a 1996 Chevy S-10 with an indeterminate amount of miles. Significant parts of the dashboard are broken.”

Ujdak continued, “I’ve driven the truck several times over the last couple of years with a significant payload. And it is terrifying. And it’s a pretty liberal use of the word ‘truck’.”

Middle Way House helps find permanent housing solutions to support survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking.

The nonprofit was one of 32 local organizations that on Thursday presented their pitches for project funding  from the Jack Hopkins social services funding committee. It’s a city council and citizen committee that will be awarding about a half million dollars in funding this year.

The committee will be making decisions on this year’s grants in mid-May.

The annual grants from the city to local nonprofits have added up to more than $5 million since 1993.

This year, the amount available to the committee to award is $511,000. That’s $200,000 more than has been awarded over the last few years.

The extra funding was allocated as part of the 2021 budget, in the second phase of Bloomington mayor John Hamilton’s Recover Forward initiative, which is meant to help Bloomington bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic.

That follows an additional $200,000 that was allocated for Jack Hopkins funding last year, after the usual cycle of awards was complete.

The committee is chaired this year by city councilmember Susan Sandberg, as it has been for the last few years.

The total amount of requests this year was $648,197, which is in line with the average over the last three years, which has been about $690,000. Historically, the $5 million in grants were made based on $10 million in requests.

Even with the extra $200,000 this year, the amount of initial requests exceeded the amount available by $137,197. The total requests from the 32 applicants who are still in the mix, and gave presentations to the committee on Thursday evening, added up to $546,793. That means there’s still a $35,793 gap between requests and available funding.

Next steps in the process include a pre-allocation committee meeting on May 11, an allocation hearing on May 18, and city council approval of the awards on June 16. Before the pre-allocation committee meeting, members will work out their individual recommendations for grant amounts to each applicant, and those recommendations will form the basis of deliberations.

Thursday’s presentations offered some newsy information about changes in the local nonprofit world, and the numerical impact that some of the nonprofits have on the Bloomington community.

Lindsey Dominguez told the committee that her organization had recently incorporated as an entity with the state of Indiana as Hotels for Hope, Inc. That reflects a change from the name that the group has been using: Hotels for Homeless. The organization is set to apply for official status as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and that seemed like a good time to change the name and “rebrand a little bit and make it a bit more inclusive,” Dominguez said.

Julio Alonso, with Hoosier Hills Food Bank, told the committee that the food bank had distributed 7 million pounds of food in 2020, after having distributed 5 million pounds the year before. The increase was due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Alonso said.

Amanda Nickey, with Mothers Hubbard’s Cupboard, told the committee that in 2020, MHC distributed nearly 1 million pounds of food. The group is still operating in its emergency COVID response mode, she said, by distributing pre-packed boxes of groceries outdoors in a limited-contact drive-thru model.

Carrie McHaley, with Meals on Wheels, said on Thursday that every month, Bloomington Meals on Wheels provides over 4,000 medically-tailored meals to 96 Bloomington residents who are homebound.

Community Kitchen’s Marty Schick told the committee that in 2020, the group served over 256,000 meals and snacks. Half of the people they served were children, she said. Another 28 percent were experiencing homelessness at that time they were served, Schick said.

Jess Marchbank, with All-Options Pregnancy Resource Center said that since May 2015, the center has provided 2 million diapers. The center is currently distributing between 8,000 and 10,000 diapers per month, Marchbank said.

Jill Robinson, with Pets Alive, Inc. reported that since 2005, the group had done over 160,000 spay and neuter surgeries.

Indiana Recovery Alliance’s Christopher Abert told the committee that a few weeks ago, the group had administered its 100,000th dose of Naloxone. That translates into a reversal of 5,000 potentially fatal overdoses, Abert said.

The basic criteria for Jack Hopkins social services funding were first written down in a 1993 letter by councilmember Jack Hopkins, after whom the fund was named. The resolution that named the fund after Hopkins, who was a professor at the Indiana University’s public and environmental affairs, was approved by the city council in 2002, the month after Hopkins died.

Presentations on April 29, 2021 sorted by amount requested

Agency Project Requested
Pets Alive Inc., Bloomington We are requesting $35,200.32 to support and expand our high-volume spay/neuter program and Wellness Clinic over the next three month period as we approach the Light at the End of the COVID-19 Tunnel. $35,200
New Hope for Families New Hope is expanding its shelter beds by 70% and early childhood seats by 200% to more efficiently meet community need and maintain functional zero. We are requesting funding for furnishings and equipment for the new shelter and early childhood facilities. $35,000
Hoosier Hills Food Bank We are requesting $35,000.00. As part of our continued response to the Covid-19 pandemic, HHFB will continue purchasing food for distribution to our partner agencies as recovery continues and we await restoration of pre-pandemic food sources such as food drives, prepared food rescue and retail donations. $35,000
Tandem Community Birth Center and Postpartum House Lease our birth center space, purchase supplies, pay for insurance and utilities and hire two Certified Nurse Midwives who can begin offering limited services. $30,000
St. Vincent DePaul We request $30,000 to assist the vulnerable population in the city of Bloomington to pay rent and rent deposits. With this grant funding we will pay up to $300 to help families stabilize their housing situation. $30,000
LIFEDesigns Inc. LIFEDesigns is requesting $28,676.26 to help us Pilot a New Day Services Program for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This request is urgent and important now because of the effects the Coronavirus has had on our community. $28,676
Community Justice and Mediation Center We are requesting $27,424 to provide on-going operational support for the Housing and Eviction Prevention Project (HEPP) by providing free landlord-tenant mediation services, along with the overall project management, social service referrals, and outreach services to tenants and landlords involved in eviction proceedings. The goal is to reduce evictions and improve overall housing stability for renters in the City of Bloomington and Monroe County, particularly low-income households. $27,424
Boys & Girls Clubs of Bloomington We are seeking general operations support (bridge funding) as we transition back to full Club capacity as the public health crisis allows. $25,000
Beacon Inc. (Shalom Center) We are requesting $25,000 to boost our eviction prevention funds for people at risk of losing their homes due to the COVID-19-induced recession. Fully funded, this program would allow us to increase rent and utility support for 200 households up to $250 per household. $25,000
My Sister’s Closet of Monroe County My Sister’s Closet is respectfully requesting $22,456 to supplement the salary of an Assistant Store Manager so we are able to provide sufficient amounts of interview and job attire for clients coming to us for employment assistance. $22,456
Monroe County United Ministries We are requesting $22,261.56 for external improvement materials to increase safety, create positive visibility, and improve the message our physical environment sends $22,262
Amethyst House We are requesting $16,300 to upgrade our Women’s Residential facility. These funds will allow us to fix the floor support both in the Kitchen and Dining Room and remodel the kitchen. With multiple residents living in the house at one time, common area facilities require frequent maintenance, and we hope to improve those facilities in upgrading to more durable materials. $21,800
Hotels for Hope Inc Provide hotel rooms and continuity of care for our currently enrolled families as well as several more, including private living space, necessities like meals and hygiene supplies $21,520
Indiana Recovery Alliance The Indiana Recovery Alliance is seeking a one time capital investment of $20,000 to cover half of the salary needed to hire a Development Director (DD) to further our goal of long term financial stability. We have secured an anonymous donor to match up to $20,000 for this position. This is a one time investment, as the DD position will be self sustaining by year two. The DD will bri $20,000
Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Central Indiana BBBSSCI is requesting $20,000 in operating support. These funds will help power our mission by uniting young people (Littles) with caring, positive adult role models (Bigs) in professionally supported one-to-one mentoring relationships. Together, they clear a path to success by breaking societal barriers, closing opportunity gaps and overcoming adversities like poverty and identity-based discrimination. $20,000
Catholic Charities Bloomington Catholic Charities Bloomington is seeking one-time funding of $17,800 to expand our agency’s capacity to serve adolescents and young adults in our city. The unmet need for youth mental health services had been growing before the pandemic and now adding the prolonged nature of the COVID-19 pandemic has robbed many teens of their ability to socialize, a key protective factor in their overall developmental and well-being. $17,800
HealthNet Inc. HealthNet is requesting a one-time grant of $17,690 to conduct a public awareness campaign promoting HealthNet Bloomington Health Center and educating the public that it is safe to seek healthcare despite the continuing pandemic. $17,690
Project School, The We are requesting $12,210 to install a laundry room in The Project School. The laundry room will be available for the 40% of our school families who experience poverty, many of whom do not have access to reliable and affordable laundry services. $12,210
New Leaf New Life We are requesting $12,015.00 to provide case management services and direct service supplies to support individuals who are currently/recently incarcerated with their reentry back into our community $12,015
Mothers Hubbard’s Cupboard We are requesting $11,325.03 in funding to purchase several pantry display shelves and office furniture for our newly renovated conference room/additional office space. $11,325
Middle Way House Middle Way is requesting $10,000 toward the purchase of a full-size work truck to replace its rapidly deteriorating 1996 Chevrolet S-10. $10,000
City Church For All Nations Outreach CCFAN/Healing Hands Outreach Center, Inc. is seeking $10,000 from JACK HOPKINS SOCIAL SERVICES FUNDING COMMITTEE to purchase a used moving truck needed to transport donated items to city residents. $10,000
Habitat for Humanity Habitat is requesting $9,473 to purchase a riding mower, chipper/mulcher, and chainsaw in order to utilize staff and volunteer resources to self-manage landscaping requirements. By redirecting monies currently spent on outside landscaping providers, Habitat will save significant funds that instead will be used to build affordable housing. $9,473
Pro Bono Indiana, dba District 10 Pro Bono Project The Housing and Eviction Prevention Project will continue to provide legal services to low-income tenants in order to preserve housing and economic wellbeing. $8,206
Refugee Support Network The project will provide funds to address urgent basic needs of clients, who lost work hours and jobs due to the COVID pandemic. Delays in immigration system processing, including delayed receipt of work permits, creates unreasonable hardship on clients, preventing them from directly working to support their families. $8,000
Bloomington Community Bike Project We are requesting $6,800 for our Free Bikes, a tow behind trailer and bike shop equipment. $6,800
Meals on Wheels, Bloomington Bloomington Meals on Wheels is respectfully requesting $5,673 for website redevelopment and maintenance. Our website was developed in 2011 and it has become increasingly difficult and time consuming to update content and add new features. It frequently crashes and experiences long loading times. It needs to be updated to reflect 2021 technology needs and allow easy access for staff and volunteers to make quick updates to convey important information to the community. $5,673
Community Kitchen of Monroe County, Inc. We are requesting $5,400 to replace a sixteen-year-old produce cooler with a new one. The new one would have a different door style that we believe will reduce the issues that lead to more repairs. $5,400
All-Options Pregnancy Resource Center We are requesting $3,940 to pilot a mobile diaper distribution program for the rest of 2021. Working with community partners, we would identify and do outreach to underserved populations and neighborhoods in Bloomington and rent a van/truck twice a month to do mobile distribution at key locations. $3,940
Courage to Change Sober Living Courage to Change Sober living is asking for funding from Jack Hopkins to buy drug testing kits for use in our four sober living houses. $3,036
South Central Community Action Program Free, accessible video content that is specific to this area, in order to help them make affordable and healthy choices when shopping, cooking, and utilizing food pantries. We will also address the need for fresh local produce by donating 75% of produce to local food banks. $2,944
Persisterhood Workshop, Inc., The We are requesting to $2943.07 to cover the costs professional equipment and market infrastructure. This investment will allow us to expand our crafts workshop curricula, enhance our portfolio and production, and increase our fundraising capacity. $2,943