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Record number of groups seek grant funding

SOLANA BEACH — City Council has three weeks to decide which groups will receive funding from the annual Community Grant Program, which attracted 19 organizations seeking nearly three times the amount of money that is available.

“A lot of money being requested out there,” Mayor Tom Campbell said. “It’s going to be a tough one.”

The total ask is for $73,618, but only $25,000 is available.

Most of the applicants have previously sought funding, including the Community Resource Center, which has been awarded money from the program for the past four consecutive years.

CRC is once again seeking for $5,000 for its annual Holiday Baskets program that provides a “shopping experience” in December at the Del Mar Fairgrounds for low-income North County families.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of San Dieguito, another repeat applicant that generally receives funding, is seeking $5,000 for programs at the La Colonia branch.

Assistance League of Rancho San Dieguito is requesting $3,000 for its Operation School Bell Clothing Children program.

The organization provides money and volunteers to help low-income families shop for clothing for their children.

“For some these were the first new clothes they have ever had, let alone shopping for them,” Roberta Waterman, board president, said. “Knowing that having nice clothes like the other kids can make difference in the success a child has in school, our members work diligently in our fundraising efforts to support these programs.”

BikeWalk Solana is seeking $1,000 to foster the growth of active transportation and increase walking and biking in the city.

Casa de Amistad, a mentoring and tutoring program for kindergarten through 12th-grade Latino students in coastal North County, applied for a $5,000 grant for Pep! The Preschool Enrichment Program helps youngsters become better prepared for kindergarten.

A $1,000 grant request came from the DelSol Lions Club to buy eyeglasses for 3- to 5-year-olds.

The North County Immigration and Citizenship Center, a first-time applicant, is seeking $3,600 to provide legal help and guidance to those seeking citizenship.

Another first-time applicant, Encinitas-based H2O Trash Patrol, is asking for $5,000 to expand its program, which cleans up marine debris using standup paddleboards, to Solana Beach Schools.

Other organizations seeking the $5,000 maximum grant include La Colonia de Eden Gardens to help fund its summer leadership camp for teenagers, North Coast Repertory Theatre for a theater school production to raise awareness of the plight of girls in Afghanistan and the St. James and St. Leo Medical and Dental Program, an all-volunteer organization that provides services to the working poor with no insurance, to help diabetes patients.

There is a $4,000 request from Reality Changers, which helps youth from disadvantaged backgrounds become first-generation college students by providing academic support, financial assistance and faith-based leadership training.

The Solana Beach Little League and Soccer Club requested money for field and facility improvements, and the Solana Center for Environmental Innovation sought funding for a vermicompost bin at community garden at La Colonia Park.

The San Dieguito Heritage Museum would like $4,623 to renovate the wagon at its entrance. The San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy is seeking funding for its outdoor educational programs.

Each organization had two minutes at the Nov. 19 meeting to describe how the money would be used. Representatives from Calvary Lutheran Church and Mano a Mano were unable to attend.

The grant program was approved in 2004 with $5,000 each from Coast Waste Management and EDCO Waste and Recycling Services, the city’s two waste haulers, and $15,000 from the city.

The program provides funding to nonprofit, nongovernmental groups and civic or youth organizations serving Solana Beach and its residents.

This is the largest number of applications that have been submitted since 2009, the last year available funding was $25,000. A struggling economy and citywide budget cuts resulted in the city decreasing its contribution the following year.

For the past few years Santa Fe Christian Schools has provided $15,000 in monetary and in-kind donations, primarily for programs in Eden Gardens. City Manager David Ott said the private school has agreed to participate at that level again this year.

Council will announce the recipients at the Dec. 10 meeting.