Bloomington OKs $323K in social services funding to nonprofits, including Planned Parenthood

On Wednesday night, Bloomington’s city council approved the allocation of $323,000 in social services grants to 32 different agency programs.

Those were the recommended allocations made by the seven-member Jack Hopkins committee  after reviewing about $965,000 in grant requests from about 45 different agency programs.

Last year the total amount requested was $557,000.

The top five awards this year were to Hoosier Hills Food Bank ($27,341), New Hope Family Shelter ($21,711), Community Justice and Mediation Center ($21,283), Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard ($17,555), and Monroe County CASA, Inc. ($17,517). Included below is a table with all the awards, with a description of the projects to be funded.

From the public mic came criticism of awards to Planned Parenthood and All-Options Pregnancy Resource Center, based on their provision abortion services or referral to such services. The grant awards to those agencies this year, as in past years, involve projects that are not abortion services.

On the council’s side, speaking in defense of the awards were councilmembers Jim Sims and Susan Sandberg. Continue reading “Bloomington OKs $323K in social services funding to nonprofits, including Planned Parenthood”

Social services funding notebook: Bloomington committee spreads $323K across $680K in requests

Jack Hopkins committee meeting clockwise from the top corner: council staff Stephen Lucas and Ash Kulak; committee members Ron Smith, Jami Scholl, Mark Fraley, Tim Mayer, Jim Sims, and Susan Sandberg. Kate Rosenbarger participated using the Zoom video conference platform. (May 11, 2023)

Recommendations on how to distribute $323,000 in funding for this year’s round of Jack Hopkins social services program have now been made by a seven-member committee appointed by Bloomington’s city council.

Pending final approval by the city council at a meeting set for June 14, the money will go to 32 nonprofits.

The biggest recommended award was $27,341 to Hoosier Hills Food Bank, to buy food. That was just 78 percent of the $35,000 that was requested in the food bank’s application.

Only five of the applications were recommended by the committee to receive the full amount in their application: Community Justice and Mediation Center ($21,283) for an eviction prevention project; New Leaf, New Life ($13,600) for an emergency and transitional housing project; Planned Parenthood ($7,500) to purchase contraceptives; All-Options ($6,900) for a diapers and potty training support program; and Community Kitchen of Monroe County ($4,079) to replace a dish sprayer and liners for cargo van beds.

The agencies receiving awards had been winnowed down from 48 that applied for funding this year. Of the agencies that applied, 35 were invited to give presentations to the committee in late April. Continue reading “Social services funding notebook: Bloomington committee spreads $323K across $680K in requests”

After sifting requests, Bloomington social services group faces $681K in needs, has just $323K to give

On Thursday night, representatives from 35 different social services agencies in Bloomington gave presentations to a committee that is made up of councilmembers and other residents, to support their applications for project funding.

Jack Hopkins committee members from left: Tim Mayer, Jim Sims, Susan Sandberg, and Ron Smith. Not in the frame are Kate Rosenbarger and Jami Scholl. (April 27, 2023)

The 35 agencies had applied for this year’s round of Jack Hopkins social services grants.

The total amount requested by those 35 agencies is $680,530. The amount that’s appropriated in Bloomington’s 2023 budget for Jack Hopkins grants is just $323,000.

But this year’s grant cycle started off with an even bigger challenge—48 agencies had applied for a total of about $965,000. Before Thursday’s meeting, the committee had already winnowed down the 48 applications to 35.

The total requested this year is the biggest amount since the Jack Hopkins grant program was started, in 1993.

Based on B Square records, the previous high was $822,971 in 2020. Over the last decade the amount of total requests has been about $550,000. Each year the annual budget allocation, from the city’s general fund, has been around $300,000. Continue reading “After sifting requests, Bloomington social services group faces $681K in needs, has just $323K to give”

Opinion: Shalom Community Center adopts a great new name befitting its role as a beacon

Last week, Bloomington’s city council meeting grew a bit contentious when it was revealed that the city’s administration has a notion to rename the planning and transportation department.

Unaware photographers will learn what some people already know: At the heart of the Shalom Center on South Walnut, you will see a reflection of yourself. (Dave Askins/Square Beacon)

The idea is to eliminate “and transportation” from the department’s name. I made a Shakespearean joke of it: A road by any other name would spell a street.

This week’s bigger news about an organizational renaming deserves better than a dumb joke.

On Tuesday night, Shalom Community Center’s executive director, Forrest Gilmore, announced that the local nonprofit, started two decades ago, will now be called Beacon.

The collection of programs that house or prevent homelessness now reaches more than 700 people per a year, according to a press release.

The press release puts it this way: “The spark has grown into a beacon of hope and hospitality in Bloomington, and so the name ‘Beacon’ was chosen to represent this organization and its many programs.

The press release quotes executive director Gilmore: “Our capacity to care has grown so significantly that we needed a new way to express that.” The press release adds, “All our efforts work together to be the light that guides you home.”

Under the umbrella of the name “Beacon” will now fall the various initiatives of the nonprofit, which will keep their individual names: Friend’s Place; Rapid Rehousing; Phil’s Kitchen; Street Outreach, and Crawford Homes. Continue reading “Opinion: Shalom Community Center adopts a great new name befitting its role as a beacon”