Monroe County awards $151K in community service grants

Community service grants to 25 organizations totaling $151,220 were approved by Monroe County councilors at their Tuesday evening work session.

The community service grants, which have been made annually since 2008, are named after a former county councilor, the late Sophia Travis.

This year’s total figure is about 11.5 percent more than last year’s.

That’s more than the 5-percent increase in revenue from the property tax levy that local governments will see for 2023. An increase to the Sophia Travis grant funding that is greater than the property tax increase was something county councilor Cheryl Munson had championed when last year’s awards were made.

Munson is chair of the five-person committee that makes recommendations on the grant awards. Also serving on the committee this year were Munson’s colleagues Trent Deckard and Jennifer Crossley, as well as two community members, Jean Capler and Joshua Johnson.

By dollar amount this year, the top five awards went to: New Hope for Families ($11,480); Boys & Girls Clubs of Bloomington ($9,400); The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce Foundation ($9,240); Girls, Inc of Monroe County ($7,700); Big Brothers Big Sisters of Monroe County ($7,400). A complete table of this year’s awards, and the projects they will fund, is included below.

A vote to make the awards was taken on two different resolutions—one just on the awards to Planned Parenthood ($5,000) and All-Options Pregnancy Resource Center ($5,000), and a second resolution on the remaining awards.

That separation put councilor Marty Hawk in a position to support the resolution covering awards to those organizations that have nothing to do with the provision of abortion services. Hawk’s position is that she will not vote for anything that is connected to providing abortion services.

On Tuesday, the topic of abortion services didn’t get any discussion among county councilors, and there was no comment during time allowed for the public to weigh in. Hawk voted no on the one resolution and yes on the other.

In 2013, the grant program was renamed 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.

At Tuesday’s county council meeting, Crossley said her service on this year’s committee marked the first time she’d worked on the county’s community service grant awards. But in 2018, Crossley served on the city’s analogous committee to award social services funds, which are named after former city councilmember Jack Hopkins.

Crossley said, “We have a lot of need, from feeding those that are hungry, to those that are experiencing homelessness.”

Deckard praised Munson for her work chairing the committee, expressing his “absolute gratitude to councilor Munson, who really takes this to heart.”

This year’s total of $151,220 brings the total awarded since 2008 to about $1.62 million.

Table: 2022 Awards for Sophia Travis Community Service Grants

Agency Purpose Amount
New Hope for Families making homelessness brief for families $11,480
Boys & Girls Clubs of Bloomington accessible transportation for Crestmont Youth $9,400
The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce Foundation middle school tour of opportunity and DEI training $9,240
Girls Inc of Monroe County fall 2022 evening program $7,700
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Monroe County Big Tool Chest project $7,400
Beacon, Inc lifesaving tools for people experiencing homelessness $7,320
Cancer Support Community food and transportation assistance for patients $6,800
Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard transportation assistance fund $6,590
Girls Rock Bloomington summer camp $6,550
Indiana Recovery Alliance water security plan $6,480
New Leaf New Life case management salary support $6,300
Sojourn House residential fire detection and alarm system $6,230
Area 10 Agency on Aging–Adult Guardianship Program Monroe and Owen County adult guardianship program $5,800
Area 10 Agency on Aging–Endwright Community Center Refresher Endwright Community Center refresher $5,740
Lotus Education & Arts Foundation articulated puppets $5,440
All-Options diaper program $5,000
Planned Parenthood safety net family planning services $5,000
Town of Stinesville Stinesville Community Library $5,000
Amethyst House residential food $4,960
Monroe County United Ministries supporting MC families financial aid assistance fund $4,480
Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry “Meat” the Need $4,220
Catholic Charities Bloomington Counseling Services adult support group for ADHD $3,260
Courage to Change Sober Living Fresh Start rent scholarship $3,000
Grace Center, Inc. food purchase $2,880
CJAM – Community Justice and Medication Center program, outreach, training $2,850
Team First Book Getting Back on Track with Books $2,100
TOTAL   $151,220