Community service grants to 38 organizations totaling $160,830 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.
In past years, councilor Marty Hawk has voted against the awards to organizations that have any connection to the provision of abortion services. This year she voted against all of the awards, citing the pressing needs of county employees for higher compensation.
This year’s total figure is about 6.5 percent more than last year’s $151,000. Since 2008, about $1.83 million has been awarded to various social service agencies.
County councilor Cheryl 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 Peter Iversen and Jennifer Crossley, as well as two community members, Jean Capler and Hattie Johnson.
At Tuesday’s work session, Capler and Johnson alternated reading aloud the list of this year’s awards.
By dollar amount this year, the top five awards went to: Hoosier Hills Food Bank ($8,720); New Hope for Families ($8,650); Community Kitchen ($8,500); 4H Monroe County ($6,720); and Beacon Inc. ($6,600).
A complete table of this year’s awards, and the projects they will fund, is included below.
On Tuesday, the county council set aside the awards to Planned Parenthood ($5,320) and All Options All-Options Pregnancy Resource Center ($3,800) for a separate vote. That’s something the council typically does—in deference to county councilor Marty Hawk, who does not support awards to any organization that has any connection to providing abortion services.
Separating the awards allows Hawk to vote against the awards to Planned Parenthood and All-Options, without voting against the other awards.
As she has in the past, Hawk voted no on those two awards. But this year she also cast her vote against all the other awards. That made for a pair of 6–1 votes on the seven-member council.
Hawk’s opposition included a voting no on an additional award that was separated out this year—to Writing for Change ($930). That one got separate consideration, because county councilor Geoff McKim’s wife is a paid instructor for the program. The separation allowed McKim to abstain on that vote.
During a recess to the work session, The B Square asked Hawk why she’d voted against all the Sophia Travis awards this year.
Hawk based her opposition on the fact that the county council had just heard from the public mic several county employees who told councilors that they need the 2024 budget to reflect a significant pay raise.
That’s a conversation the county council started on Tuesday night, without making any decisions. Based on Tuesday’s deliberations it sounds like the council will land somewhere around the 6-percent inflation rate that can be measured in the Midwest region between December 2022 and December 2021.
Monroe County commissioners have recommended an 8.5-percent cost-of-living increase for 2024.
Based on the numbers discussed on Tuesday, if the roughly $160,000 that is allocated to Sophia Travis grants were instead put towards raises for county employees, that would make for an extra half percentage point salary raise for county employees.
Hawk said that the reasons county employees had given in support of a raise were basically so that they could “take care of themselves.” Hawk added, “And it just seems to me, after hearing their pleas, we would have to think very hard before we take public dollars and put them someplace else.”
The B Square will report separately on the county council’s deliberations on the prospects for county employee raises in the 2024 budget.
In 2013, the county’s social services 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.
|Hoosier Hills Food Bank||Food Purchase||$8,720|
|New Hope for Families||New Help for Families||$8,650|
|Community Kitchen||food purchase||$8,500|
|4H Monroe County||farm to school field trips||$6,720|
|Beacon Inc.||clean laundry for individuals experiencing homelessness||$6,600|
|St. Vincent DePaul||keeping people and their clothing off the floor||$5,510|
|Monroe County United Ministries||improving public health: cleaning, hygiene & diapers||$5,410|
|Planned Parenthood||safety- net family planning & sexual health services||$5,320|
|Boys and Girls Club||safety film||$5,300|
|Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard||pantry support||$5,250|
|Wheeler Mission||meal service supplies||$5,230|
|Amethyst House||residential food & treatment assessment tools||$5,050|
|Cancer Support Community||financial assistance for cancer patients||$4,930|
|New Leaf New Life||case management & transportation assistance||$4,920|
|South Central Community Action Program||equitable barrier reduction for families||$4,790|
|Meals on Wheels||groceries to go meal kits||$4,740|
|Catholic Charities||caring for clients through emergency preparedness||$4,290|
|Grace Center||food purchase||$4,250|
|Courage to Change Sober Living||case/house manager salary new men’s residence||$4,190|
|People and Animal Learning Services||EQUIPT||$4,070|
|All- Options||Hoosier diaper program||$3,800|
|Girls Rock||Bloomington summer camp||$3,740|
|Girls Inc||Her Health initiative||$3,690|
|Be Loved Transportation Inc.||Help is on the Way||$3,510|
|Middle Way||Rise & Shine||$3,380|
|Stone Belt||Hand in Hand project||$3,340|
|Big Brother Big Sister||one-to-one plus mentoring||$3,300|
|Indiana Recovery Alliance||experience with Hep C & injection drug use||$3,160|
|Lotus||2023 Summer Festival Arts Program||$3,110|
|First Christian Church||The Welcome Table||$2,940|
|Area 10 Agency on Aging||adult guardianship program||$2,820|
|Community Justice and Mediation Center||program materials and training scholarships||$2,380|
|Alexandra’s Army||2023 capital project||$2,210|
|My Sister’s Closet||women’s empowerment suffragettes bike rack||$2,010|
|WFHB||portable mixer for youth radio||$1,780|
|Chamber Foundation||career cruise||$1,540|
|Writing for Change||youth program instructors||$930|
|The Warehouse||Tiny Tots Treehouse||$750|