City awards grants of $11,200 to 4 groups

SOLANA BEACH — With a unanimous vote at the Dec. 8 meeting, City Council awarded $11,200 to four of the 11 organizations that sought funding assistance through the Community Grant Program.
At the Nov. 17 meeting, applicants were given an opportunity to explain how the money would be used. This year the guidelines were modified, limiting applicants to those who focused on meeting the needs of the underserved in the city.
Council members each compiled a list of the groups they felt were most deserving. Their choices were assembled into a chart presented during the Dec. 8 meeting.
The Community Resource Center, which was awarded funding the past two years, is the only organization that received unanimous support. It plans to use the money for Holiday Baskets, an annual event held at the Del Mar Fairgrounds that provides food, clothing and toys for low-income families.
Kids Korps USA, receiving assistance for the fourth consecutive year, and new applicant Reality Changers each got nods from four council members.
Kids Korps plans to use the money for its hands-on summer volunteer camps, a program it started for Eden Gardens children and teenagers with help from the city. Councilman Mike Nichols said he did not vote to support the program this year because of limited funds.
“Believe me, it was a hard decision to leave that one off but I was trying to work with our reality of trying to keep within our budget,” he said. “I’m not opposed to that program. I was just looking at the funding and had to make a choice.”
Reality Changers helps youth from disadvantaged backgrounds to become first-generation college students by providing academic support, financial assistance and faith-based leadership training.
Although Reality Changers wasn’t among his final recommendations for funding, Councilman Tom Campbell said it was on his maybe list.
With a goal to limit spending this year, the council was set to vote on awarding $4,000 to the Community Resource Center and $3,000 each to Kids Korps and Reality Changers.
But Nichols made a last-minute request to award the $1,200 requested by Girls on the Run San Diego, which he described as a “feel-good project.”
“I don’t know if we can dip a little bit deeper,” he said, “but that seemed like a pretty good program to me, the way that they work at the school.”
Girls on the Run is a nationwide program that fosters healthy lifestyle choices, positive body images and self-esteem for girls between the ages of 8 and 12. The organization, which was denied funding last year, will use the money for scholarships for its Solana Beach chapter.
Of the 11 applicants, five did not receive any votes and two had only one recommendation for funding. Councilman Dave Roberts sought assurance that all groups not receiving money would be notified about “what a tough year it was and that we just couldn’t” fund them all.
Since 2004, council members have awarded grants totaling $25,000 to nonprofit, community-based, nongovernmental groups that serve the city and its residents. Coast Waste Management and EDCO Waste and Recycling Services, the city’s two waste haulers, each contribute $5,000 to the program.
The city historically contributed another $15,000. While that amount was budgeted this year, council members said they were hesitant to spend the money because the city has declared a fiscal emergency.
They began the process still undecided as to how much money should be allocated this year. They are required to award the funds donated by the waste haulers.

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